The COVID-19 pandemic has forced companies to transform their business models in previously considered impossible ways. The internet and digital technologies have sped up this transformation even faster than most people could imagine, with more change happening now than at any other time since modern life began!
Recent surveys report up to 70% of small businesses have increased their use of technologies during the pandemic. In 2022, research shows that IT budgets will also increase by 26 percent. Below are three factors driving the digital transformation in the coming year and the technologies that will enable it.
Factor #1: Remote Work
According to Techaisle’s annual SMB Top Ten IT Priorities list, remote work enablement has become a top IT priority. Most workers have become accustomed to remote work, even initially temporary. According to McKinsey & Co, almost 50 percent of workers are demanding to at least incorporate a hybrid work model–working part of the time at home and the office (McKinsey & Co.)
Many internet service companies adopt cloud-based solutions that enable better collaboration and communication and increased security for operating in the virtual world to recruit and retain talent. Studies have shown that having a remote workforce, even if it’s not 100% remote, has excellent productivity and cost-saving benefits for internet service companies.
Factor #2: Increased Demand for Cybersecurity
Although remote work has vast benefits, it can increase security risks. The Cyber Readiness Report revealed that 47% of SMBs reported at least one cyber security attack within the past year. These sorts of attacks will likely increase in 2022.
These threats come in phishing attacks, ransomware, and DDoS attacks. Experts recommend combatting increased cyber security risk with two widely available technologies: a virtual private network (VPN) and multifactor identification (MFA). MFA provides an extra layer of security against data breaches. A VPN can deliver more security to your company’s Wi-Fi network, especially with a mobile workforce.
The majority of cyber-attacks are focused on small and mid-sized businesses. A cyber incident can result in lost clients, damaged reputation, business disruption, and legal and financial liability. SurviveCyber is an affordable cyber risk protection platform for small and mid-sized businesses that helps reduce cybersecurity vulnerabilities and minimizes the legal and financial risks associated with a breach. Members gain access to US government-backed legal protections against breach-related lawsuits and regulatory fines, and timely cyber threat alerts that help reduce exposure. If you become a victim of a data breach while you are a SurviveCyber member, you will have access to up to $100,000 to recover from the costs of a cybersecurity event.
Factor #3: More Digital First Customer Experience
Before COVID-19, many businesses were already moving toward creating a more digitized customer experience. The pandemic accelerated the need to serve customers in a contactless world better. In 2019 and 2020, the majority of customer interactions took place virtually.
According to Forbes, “Going digital is no longer aspirational–it’s table stakes for small businesses. Your customers are increasingly digital-first, becoming digital natives, beyond Millennials and Centennials.” Here are several ways internet service companies move toward a digital-first customer experience.
- Omnichannel Commerce: Many small businesses with primarily physical locations have created new ways to serve their customers amid COVID restrictions or a reduced or remote workforce. For example, some grocery shoppers can now pay for their goods online and have them delivered. Similarly, some restaurant patrons can pay online and pick up their order or get it delivered without ever having to walk through the business’s door.
- Digital Streaming: This phenomenon has taken hold at movie theatres, health clubs, higher education, and real estate. Movie studios have released many films for streaming audiences. Fitness facilities have held virtual LIVE and pre-recorded classes. Universities and colleges have offered online courses instead of in-person education. And the multifamily industry is offering virtual LIVE apartment tours instead of in-person tours.
- Digital Health Solutions: Before COVID-19, most people thought of virtual care as a novelty. But clinics and health systems turned to telemedicine technologies to help their patients get medical advice and treatment. Now, patients and their doctors enjoy the convenience and ease of accessing care virtually.
- Always-On Service: Gone days an internet service company could operate between 8 and 5. In any channel, empowered customers to expect service whenever and however they want. To succeed, businesses must deliver a personalized and customized experience no matter the time of day or channel of communication.
Running a business the last couple of years has stretched and challenged many people. Yet, where there is disruption, it also offers the opportunity for innovation with progress- technological systems you implement, like GREENstick Business App, will not only advance your company in 2022 but for years to come!