As January kicks off with resolutions and predictions, we thought we’d take a look at the top trends that are already playing an important part in 2016, and how they might affect SMEs.
We’ve researched some of the top industries and experts in this field and collated their various predications for technology and IT changes in the coming year. It’s clear that there are some big, common trends that could play an important part in how small businesses develop in the next 12 months.
In 2015, 37% of small businesses took flight and moved some or all of their IT systems to the cloud – whether that’s utilising basic cloud storage or opting for full cloud hosting for their entire servers.
Almost every major player in the industry is predicating this trend will continue and grow in 2016, because cloud technology has so many benefits going for it. Not only is it extremely cost effective, but it offers businesses both big and small a lot more freedom and flexibility with their data and operations. Disaster recovery is assured with effective cloud backups too.
This trend could also play a major part in companies switching to a virtual office.
There may well be a shift to more private or hybrid cloud hosting, as executives and SME owners want more control over their own data, rather than leaving it in the hands of public companies. This could be one of the reasons why Fortune magazine is discussing the possibility of both Microsoft and Google making important acquisitions of private cloud providers in 2016.
With property prices continuing to rise and rates increasing, some analysts are predicting a reduction in the number of physical, central locations for many companies.
As business is increasingly conducted more nationally and internationally, SMEs may begin to see the benefit of a workforce scattered more diversely. Changing habits and new technologies mean that a central office is no longer needed, again illustrating the importance of the virtual office.
Small companies, big organisations, even governments; in 2015 it seemed like every week there was a new story about hacking or a data breach. In 2016, cyber security is set to play a very central role.
With the proliferation of technology and cloud based services in both the corporate and personal sphere, there are many questions raised about awareness in the supply chain, trust and responsibility. As more SMEs turn to new IT technologies to support their business, there’s a greatly increased need for tighter security.
New EU data protection laws are taking effect in 2018, which is fuelling concern over data privacy and security already. Reports from countries like Australia have seen an increase in cyber criminals using ransomware to specifically target small businesses in the last six months, and they will undoubtedly begin targeting EU businesses in earnest in 2016.
A number of top analysts are predicting that across a range of industries, the number of qualified applicants for skilled jobs will reduce dramatically in 2016, resulting in a skills shortage that could affect small businesses.
Many therefore believe there will be a rise in the number of SMEs keeping staff members to a minimum on purpose, utilising internet services and freelancers to support the running of the business and ensure maximum profitability.
Managed service providers are also likely to benefit in 2016, as businesses continue to outsource their IT requirements to reduce costs and improve efficiencies. With no real need for in-house expertise, SMEs can stay on top of new trends & technologies with the knowledge of their providers.
Those who continue to hire will need to make employment packages more attractive; with changing working habits, the benefits of the virtual office could be what entices prospective staff.
With so many custom applications and task-specific software as a service (SaaS) available, technology will continue to support businesses in a plethora of ways, driving SMEs forward to sustained growth, streamlined processes, improved deliverables and better support of their staff.
Of course, this does mean that businesses will have to continue to adapt to rapid changes in order to compete effectively. To do so, you’ll need to make sure you have the most effective technology for your company and your industry, available exactly when you need it.
For that, you might need some help from experts like Paralogic! Get in touch with us today to see how we can help you ensure this year is the most successful yet.
Photo Credit: Secure Data Cyber Security by www.perspecsys.com
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