The five trends for SMB IT in 2017 are cybersecurity, mobility, the Internet of Things, business continuity, and data management strategy.
The Internet of Things will become a more viable option for SMBs
About 30% of small-medium businesses (SMB) have deployed or plan to deploy the Internet of Things (IoT). The future workplace is one founded on interconnection and fluidity, both of which are easily enabled with the integration of IoT. Organizations that fail to get a head start on IoT technology projects will quickly be left behind. The IoT model integrated within the organization does not have to be overly large and complex. SMBs ahead of the curve will adopt simple yet practical technologies that collect data and allow executives to make strategic decisions.
The City of Milton Keynes exemplifies this model. Its use of sensor networks increases recycling and waste management efficiency and improves service for residents (Future Cities). Another prime example of an SMB successfully integrating IoT exists within the German wine industry. Sensor data is being used to help winemakers predict optimum harvest times and monitor vineyard conditions (Ericsson). Other industries at the forefront of IoT integration include professional services, manufacturing, transportation, and retail.
Cybersecurity investments will increase for SMBs
The threat of cybersecurity is not new. The surge of recent highly publicized attacks including Ashley Madison, DDoS in the Eastern United States, and the Clinton email scandal have stirred the proverbial pot, making cybersecurity a priority for 2017. The threat is real and SMBs are especially vulnerable to ransomware and data theft attacks. Hackers perceive SMBs as easier targets than their large enterprise counterparts but with more assets in tow than individual consumers. When attacked, the cost of a cyberattack for SMBs is over $7,000 USD, with that number rising to $32,000 USD if business bank accounts are hacked (NSBA). IT leaders must consider security to ensure minimal reputational and fiscal damage occurs in the event of a cyberattack. Communication between the business leaders, IT leaders, and the security team is imperative for an effective security strategy to be in place. Through this process, a comprehensive current state assessment, gap analysis, and initiative plan ensures that nothing is left off the table.
SMBs will adopt more flexible mobile strategies
The ability to leverage mobility and an encompassing mobile strategy is becoming increasingly key for SMBs looking to gain a competitive advantage. Eighty percent of SMB employees currently use mobile devices to access company data. Early adopters of more flexible mobility use cases can use enterprise mobility as a strategic enabler. Telecommuting, bring your own everything (BYOE) policies, and cloud collaboration are direct examples of how SMBs can capitalize on this trend. Implementing these changes has been shown to increase employee productivity, increase revenue, and improve field service operations.
Hybrid business continuity models make cents for SMBs
SMBs are becoming increasingly intolerant of system downtime. This trend is logical when one considers that the average estimated cost of system downtime per year is $55,000 USD in revenue for small businesses, and $91,000 USD for mid-size. The low cost associated with on-premises solutions has traditionally made them a preferred option for SMBs. Onsite options involve onerous processes that distract IT departments from more critical initiatives. They are also easily compromised during localized disasters.
Moving data to the cloud and developing a hybrid and tailored approach to business continuity is rapidly becoming a more feasible option for SMBs. Through a combination of private cloud, public cloud, and onsite infrastructure, SMBs can now afford to have constant uptime, faster disaster recovery responses, and shorter recovery time objectives (RTOs) and recovery point objectives (RPOs).
SMBs depend on IT to develop effective data strategies to help them remain competitive
Data management is no longer a task deemed suitable for large enterprises only. Info-Tech’s data shows that SMBs rank data quality as the third most important IT service and, as a result, they need an effective data strategy to remain competitive. On average, corporate data grows at 40% per year, and approximately 20% of the average database is dirty. Organizations could boost sales by an average of 29%if data was fully accurate. SMBs will increasingly look for IT to support the business by cleaning duplicate, missing, inaccurate, and outdated data. SMB IT shops can help change stakeholder perception of the IT department from firefighters to strategic growth partners, by enabling the business with high-quality data.
- Understand the Internet of Things applications for your SMB. Talk to an Info-Tech analyst to:
- Keep up with today’s evolving cybersecurity threat landscape. Follow the step-by-step guidelines in this Info-Tech blueprint:
- Enable your workforce to be successful from wherever they work. Refer to the following Info-Tech blueprint:
- Recalibrate your end-user computing strategy to ensure maximum flexibility and security.
- Create budget and stakeholder buy-in when engaging in a business continuity project. Use the following Info-Tech resources:
- Establish an effective data strategy to enable the business. Read this Info-Tech blueprint to:
Stay ahead of the curve by leveraging Info-Tech’s comprehensive set of resources to prepare for the changes coming in 2017.