What we saw from SMEs in 2020 was nothing short of amazing.
Almost all the small and medium businesses Xenex works with were forced to transition from onsite operations to remote operations virtually overnight – and those that couldn’t had to adapt to drastic new onsite safety measures.
March onwards was a reminder of how critical ‘agility’ can be as a business value, but it also proved that sudden change can sometimes become permanent. That’s especially true if it leads to better business outcomes – like flexible working arrangements and fewer common colds in the office!
If 2020 was about agility, we’re predicting 2021 will be about sustained resilience. Drawing on the IT lessons learned from COVID-19, it’s likely many business owners will be striving to keep their operations flexible and keep their people safe.
Based on that premise, we’ve made some trend predictions for small and medium business IT in 2021 – check them out below.
A continued focus on health and workplace safety
In 2021, we expect to see IT solutions that focus on people-centric business – and people-centric in 2021 means health, safety and wellness forward. ZDNet writes that if vaccination rollouts continue as planned, we’ll welcome ‘a new normal marked by more hybrid working environments, increased reliance on e-commerce and delivery-based services, growth in the use of physical and mental health monitoring devices, and lots of new tech to help people safely come together in person.’ The article also posits that enterprise IT will continue to play an ‘essential role in the development, deployment, and support’ of those technologies.
Continued growth of ‘location independence’ and remote support
As technology for people-centric business continues to expand, we’re likely to see a broader focus on what Gartner has called ‘location independence’. Sitting somewhere between mobility and transportability, location independence means working not just from home but from anywhere. It requires a stringent and highly functional combination or portable devices, VOIP systems and conferencing software.
But with all that remote tech comes an expanded requirement for remote support. The best IT support providers (ahem… Xenex) will need to be able to operate remotely, but not too remotely. A local presence will still be required for that percentage of office workers who want to stay in-office – and, of course, for all critical onsite infrastructure. For best-practice (see: proactive) support, they will also need to bring through integration, redundancy, ongoing monitoring and clear reporting processes.
Ramped up focus on privacy
Less to do with COVID-19 and more to do with the bright spotlight shining on big tech companies of late, we expect to see the focus on privacy ramp up in business IT this year. According to Gartner’s Top Strategic Technology Trends for 2021, privacy-enhancing computation could be where that focus goes. The article notes that ‘privacy-enhancing computation features three technologies that protect data while it’s being used. The first provides a trusted environment in which sensitive data can be processed or analysed. The second performs processing and analytics in a decentralised manner. The third encrypts data and algorithms before processing or analytics.’ By employing privacy-enhancing computation, businesses can collaborate across workspaces, teams and regions without sacrificing privacy and security – perfect for the ongoing need to share data remotely in 2021 onwards.
Looking to stay agile and keep up with ultra-functional IT in 2021? Xenex can help.
Check out our service offering or reach out for a free systems audit today!