As we enter the last few days of 2022 it is a customary tradition to do a bit of navel gazing about what the next year will hold for the IT Market and what hot topics will keep ITDMs awake at night next year.
As we end what has been for many, a rollercoaster of a year, there seems to be plenty of things that will cause a few sleepless nights in the months ahead!
Therefore, it is important to identify and adapt to these trends in a world that has had a perpetual round of shocks in the last decade that in more recent times has seen: a global pandemic, inflation, global supply chain issues, energy and food crises and latterly geopolitical instability through war. There are also many concerns over increasingly sophisticated criminal and state sponsored cyber-attacks.
With another global recession on the horizon, it is more essential than ever to have the best and most actionable data, combined with continued investment in employee and customer value propositions, in order to ride the wave of these uncertain times.
In the first of this two-part piece, BNZSA will identify the key trends and challenges in the market for 2023 and beyond.
1. Hybrid Infrastructure
Many commentators have been tracking the long-lasting implications of Covid on the workplace and what knock-on effects it has had on the provision of IT services and employee working practices. While the race to look for more collaborative technologies during lockdowns and social distancing measures was a necessary first response to a natural disaster, most industry watchers believe that hybrid and remote working will continue after the pandemic.
In November 2022, a YouGov study on behalf of IT service and consultants NSC noted “… organisations should expect this to be a permanent and persistent pattern in their workplace and to prepare for this long-term shift.”
It also believes that this paradigm shift is the ‘new norm’ and that increasingly companies will move to a ‘distributed enterprise.’ The report also noted that the global market for IT and business services grew 29% to $84.2 billion in 2021 as businesses reviewed and implemented new technology to improve “overall long-term business resilience.”
In order to fully utilise hybrid-infrastructure, ITDMs must factor in the following trends. With opportunity, comes potential challenges and risks, which if not fully planned for may bring some nasty surprises along the way.
2. Modern Workplace
The knock-on effect of the long period of remote working is that many employees now associated office-based jobs with an unnecessary and expensive commute on backed up highways and overburdened public transport networks.
Whereas hybrid and remote ways of working offer more flexibility, productivity and time to be with family. Many workers have decided that going forward they want to work for companies that will offer remote or hybrid working, according to analyst Gartner.
It found that nearly half of employees surveyed wanted to work for companies that offered more hybrid work and latterly shorter working weeks. It also stated that the “employee value proposition must change for hybrid work and respond to shifts in employee expectations”
In its report, Gartner has identified these key future work trends:
- Hybrid work has become mainstream.
- Talent is not in short supply, but recruitment, retention and management of resources will change.
- Employee well-being is a key metric.
- DEI considerations will have to be carefully monitored in a hybrid environment.
- Turnover will increase unless companies can extend and include culture for both remote, hybrid and office-based employees.
- Managers roles will change as in person, office based becomes extending traditional management and company culture to hybrid and remote management.
- Next generation of workforce wants ‘in person’ work experiences but also to remain having a flexible work of remote and hybrid working.
- 4-day weeks or shorter weeks are becoming more commonplace.
- Employee data collection is expanding.
In conclusion, Gartner believes because the ongoing transformation in the way knowledge workers work, the move to hybrid working will prove great opportunities for companies. However, it will also provide potential risks such as increased exposure to cyberattacks, which we will examine below.
Other factors such as the way companies have traditionally procured and managed hardware look likely to change as demands for more bring (or use) your own devices (BYOD) grows and the demand of purchasing more mobile devices rather than traditional desktop devices grows.
Break fix services will also be a consideration for the future in terms of maintaining, services and replacing devices. And with a growing need for employees to monitor activity and productivity of remote staff, there looks likely to be some concerns about how much data companies are holding on employees, how it is processed and other concerns that ITDMs will have to manage as part of ongoing privacy policies.
3. Digital Transformation
While YouGov/NSC found, in a survey of 263 business executives, that 79% of respondents had a digital transformation plan in place, almost half cited that legacy technology as a key constraint. Many are now looking to cloud migration or companies that offer as-a-service solutions, to not only help with their digital transformation plans, but to also maintain solid customer value propositions and customer experience.
To this end, YouGov predicts that demand for as-as-service offerings will rise. And this can also mean how companies hire staff. According to Gartner, in looming recessionary times functional leaders must get “recession ready.” And this means being agile in securing talent.
For BNZSA’s clients, the demand for BDRs-as-a-service and SDRs-as-a-service also looks set to rise in 2023 and beyond as companies look to backfill existing shortages or look to grow pipelines and closed won revenue by adding instant ‘virtual’ resources at a fraction of the cost of traditional FTEs.
During the pandemic, a lot of the traditional face-to-face (F2F) ways to educate potential customers on IT products and solutions and generate sales pipeline such as conferences and events were put on hold. In turn, this has accelerated many companies to look to digital solutions and social platforms to educate and also for lead generation provision.
While it is universally accepted that ‘content is the backbone of any buyer journey or customer experience. Analyst company Forrester notes that currently marketeers must catch up on critical skills to ensure content will deliver its ‘intended impact’. It also notes that having a pre-pandemic approach to content provision and content syndication in an increasingly sophisticated digital landscape will not yield the results or ROI that marketeers and sales people expect. While we may have to wait for the Metaverse or some similar virtual reality platform to interact with brands, there are plenty of smarter ways for companies to use content on current digital platforms.
To this end Forrester advises five important focus areas for content provision, effective digital campaigns and providing the right content to the right people at the right time:
- Prioritise content for existing customers not just net-new buyers with a focus on retention and engagement.
- Abandon outdated content production and promotion methods.
- Look to delivering content at right place at right time
- Improve content intelligence
- Align content roles and clarify responsibilities.
As we approach 2023, it seems that while most companies may claim they have a digital transformation in place, it may be hindered by a number of factors that need to be addressed and fixed.
If for example, legacy hardware is the reason why cloud migrations and as-a-service provision is faltering, looking to companies that provide managed services and have the necessary infrastructure in place could be a short-term solution to allow ITDMs and marketeers to focus on other areas of the business that need to be fixed such as content.
Like managed service providers, there are a number of agencies like BNZSA that can not only create the content for your campaigns but also manage both the awareness and the generation of marketing qualified and sales ready opportunities.
4. Cloud Computing
While the migration from on premise infrastructure to cloud computing has been happening the enterprise for some time, it is quickly becoming a top priority for the mid-size market. According to YouGov/NSC, it found that: “in 2021, cloud spending by small and midsized businesses shot up significantly, with as many as 53% spending more than $1.2 million annually on the cloud - up from 38% in 2020”.
It also states that companies are increasingly looking for cloud-based solutions “to keep up with digital transformation and ensure remote workers have what they need to stay productive”.
Considering the above trends and challenges of modern workplace, hybrid computing and digital transformation, it is small wonder that YoGov/NSC found that execs from all sizes of companies ranked cloud services between 80-93% as the most important technology for their business post Covid.
In terms of best practice around cloud migration, there is a whole range of advice around whether to ‘lift and shift’-migrating existing architecture to cloud-based services, ‘refactor’ or fully refactor, according to AWS cloud migration partner Cloud Bridge that notes
“In our experience, there is no ‘right’ way. The key decision is whether to modernise as you move, or afterwards.”
5. Cyber Security
With the move to more hybrid and remote working combined with the growth of using more “as-a-service” offerings by cloud migration and outsourced human resources is creating more security threats for both enterprise and mid-size companies.
The holiday period is also a prime time for cyberattacks according to managed services provider, Transputec that warns:
"The main issue with cybersecurity over Christmas is that many organisations are severely understaffed during this time. Employees are often underprepared when the cyberattack takes place, and even struggle to deal with recovering from the damages done after the cyberattack. Detection and response times are much higher in Christmas than any other time of year as a result."
"Cyberattacks are more prevalent since organisations just don’t have the defences in place to deal with the numerous forms of cyberattacks. In particular, ransomware attacks increased by 70% during the holiday period of 2021."
According to Transputec, as well as raising awareness of cyberattacks over the holidays with staff and running compliance courses, it is also important to add things like multi-factor authentication to accounts and devices:
“This will provide an additional layer of security that makes it more difficult for cyber-attackers to bypass. Cyber-attackers have often been able to guess or steal passwords. Having multi-factor authentication helps your organisation become less susceptible to social engineering.”
Going forward into 2023, YouGov/NSC notes that “67% of the C-suite see the single biggest "headache", with technology today, as Cybersecurity.”
While Analyst Gartner also notes that for audit departments, executives see Cyber threats as a growing risk in 2023.
“Fewer than half (42%) of audit executives are highly confident they can provide assurance over cybersecurity risk — although 81% plan to cover cybersecurity in audit activities. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and resulting geopolitical hostility could lead to increased cyberthreats. Even before war broke out, organizations believed that actors sponsored by the Russian government targeted them.”
However, there are certainly solutions. Having a strategy and backup in place to deal with cyberattacks is crucial concludes Transputec that observes:
“Since cyberattacks are more common during the Christmas season, it’s also important to have backups of your data in the case of a successful cyberattack. With cloud computing being commonly used, having a physical backup of your data could be a life-saver”.