8 Technology Initiatives to Move Forward in 2023
It is that time of the year when we mentally reset and start fresh for the new year. We often ask ourselves what is coming, and the prognosticators make predictions. So, what is coming in technology for 2023?
We could look to the latest from analysts and media outlets like Gartner, InfoTech, Forbes, and others, who all have technology predictions for the new year. We could talk about the metaverse, social media platform changes, AI energy consumption, and more. These predictions are sometimes thought-provoking but often are so future looking that they may have no impact on our organizations, or at least won’t for many years.
What is important is the technology initiatives that will impact our small or midsize business? I surveyed some members of our team who are involved in advising our clients, and they gave me some great insight to help you.
Top 8 Practical Technology Initiatives to Move Forward in 2023:
1) Increase your security. I had a business owner friend tell me that their ownership group decided that the biggest threat to their operations was a cyber event that would take them down. This is an interesting and astute observation. We are fighting a battle against complex and organized hacking groups that are incredibly diligent and crafty. They come up with new ways every day to get into any opening, regardless of what industry or business. The security you used last year is just not good enough. Too many organizations ignore best practices, fail to implement new security methods and make themselves a target. There are some great new solutions to protect yourself that every company should be implementing. The time and expense are worth the protection and security. Ask your forward-thinking MSP or IT Services provider. They should have some strong recommendations.
2) Take a hard look at your line of business software. Are you putting up with your ERP or core business software just because you have been using it forever? It may be time to take a hard look at the gaps and workarounds you have created. Often these older systems have become antiqued and bloated without us realizing it. Consider looking at a newer startup software provider in the same space. Sometimes the newer offering has features you never thought of but that would create significant efficiency. Sometimes that newcomer can move more quickly than the old standby. Your gain from a new software package could be more than you imagine.
3) Look at ways to get better data. We hear about analytics and reporting quite often, but taking action in this area often seems to be pushed to the back as we get busy. Creating new reports and pulling data to track operational metrics can create huge changes in a business. If we can stop guessing what is happening or just using our assumptions, we gain clarity that allows us to make better decisions. There are lots of new ways to get this data. Using tools like Microsoft Power BI, Laserfiche Forms, and other reporting tools or creating dashboards and extracting Key Performance Indicators (KPI) can give you up-to-date numbers on what is happening in your business.
4) Re-evaluate your backup and disaster recovery solutions. This is a simple but necessary one. Ask good questions about your backup solution. How fast could I recover from a server-down situation? How fast could I recover from a critical facility event like a fire or flood? Where are my backups stored? How are those copies protected? Is encryption in place? Is MFA needed for access to my cloud backup? How can we test our solution to be sure of recovery?
5) Use new technology to automate workflow. Sometimes, we lose touch with the daily workflow in our operations. We may not even be aware of how much manual work is going into certain departments and work processes. Take a close look at areas where lots of emails are required to move a process forward, or worse yet, lots of paper. Technology is out there and accessible to automate the flow of work between individuals and significantly streamline the process. This no-code technology can use AI to recognize data and even integrate easily with your present software.
6) Pay attention to your upgrade cycle. I get on this soapbox quite often, so if you are a regular reader of my newsletter, you might be rolling your eyes. IT equipment ages quickly, and once it ages beyond a certain point, it has a high risk of mechanical failure or security breach. Almost every IT assessment we have done recently has uncovered some VERY risky equipment with VERY old hardware and VERY old operating systems. If you are in this position, work with your IT Service provider or internal IT to replace them. Servers and workstations should be replaced before the 5-year mark, and things like Windows 7, 2008 server, and even 2012 server must go.
7) Find ways to standardize. Standardizing your IT environment saves time and energy. Management is easier if you use the same brand and series of equipment. Standardizing applies from workstations to switches and wireless. When it comes to network equipment, many providers now utilize cloud management. You can view, update, and maintain your equipment through a single cloud dashboard if you standardize on all the same make.
8) Optimize your cloud and subscription strategy. Everyone has something on the cloud, but I often see people using multiple cloud tools when a single platform could do it all. Often there is a lack of awareness of what is included in your cloud package. This applies at many levels, but one good example is using the tools that come with Microsoft 365. Most of us host our email here, and that email package often comes with Microsoft Teams for online meetings and OneDrive/SharePoint for cloud-hosted file sharing. It might be time to explore some of these features and put them to good use.
As we enter 2023, it is time to amp up our game when it comes to technology. It is just too critical to our business growth to take a passive stance. If you would like some help leading your technology forward, don’t hesitate to reach out. We would love to strategize with you and help move things forward!
Scott Hirschfeld is the President of CTaccess, a Brookfield IT support company that has been helping businesses stop focusing on IT and getting back to doing business since 1990. Under his leadership CTaccess provides the business minded approach of larger IT companies with the personalized touch of the smaller ones. Connect with Scott on LinkedIn.