Being able to overcome challenges is one of the keys to success in business. Technology challenges are no exception. Efficiently dealing with technical problems that affect employees and customers can help set a business apart from its competition.
How do different technologies help businesses? What are some of the business problems that arise from technology resources? How can you tackle technology challenges for small businesses to ensure a successful digital transformation and integration with the future of technology?
To assist your business in preparing for the technological challenges they may face in 2023, here’s an outline of some of the ways tech helps businesses and some of the biggest technology challenges for small businesses:
How Technology Helps Businesses
There are many ways technology in businesses can help organizations achieve success. One only needs to look at the proliferation of companies like Netflix, Amazon, and the countless manufacturers who have leveraged manufacturing automation to find examples of how useful different technologies can be.
Some examples of how digital transformations help businesses every day include:
- Cloud-Based Collaboration Apps: Communication tools such as Zoom and Slack, as well as online document sharing solutions like Google Docs and Microsoft Teams, allow people to work together easily on important documents and projects despite being miles apart.
- Inventory Management Solutions: Automated inventory tracking software helps businesses closely monitor their stock of important products or resources so they can maintain “just-in-time” supply chains that minimize costs without undue risk of running out of inventory.
- Customer-Facing Business Apps: From digital storefronts to automated customer service solutions and other resources, customer-facing business applications—and particularly mobile applications—have helped businesses improve the way they interact with their customers to increase sales and customer retention.
- Data Storage and Retrieval: One of the biggest ways today's technology helps businesses is in how modern companies can store and retrieve massive amounts of information at nearly any time from almost anywhere. Digital data storage has simplified the retrieval and transmission of important documents, reducing common data management tasks to mere seconds when they may have taken significantly longer using purely analog media.
- Project Software: Project management software helps businesses track common project tasks and keep their project teams on track. With solutions such as Jira or Teamwork, project managers can assign out specific tasks and monitor whether employees are on track to finish the project on time.
These are just a small handful of the ways that developing tech has helped organizations of all sizes and industries. However, there are many challenges that using technology in businesses can bring as well.
15 Technology Challenges Businesses Face
The demand to embrace technology to accelerate business growth has increased. However, adopting technology comes with unprecedented challenges—computer issues, technical faults, and lack of talent, among others.
As we prepare for 2023, businesses should be aware of these 15 technology challenges they may face.
1: Data Security
A data breach is a primary threat to data security. It affects the financial health and competitive advantage of a business—the cost of a data breach in the U.S. is $8.64 million.
Cybercriminals are constantly creating new malware strategies to cause mayhem to businesses. Unless businesses find cybersecurity experts, data security will continue to be a nightmare. Since different companies follow different information security requirements, cybersecurity becomes more challenging.
2: Digital Transformation
Digital transformation, or the integration of technology into virtually every aspect of a business, isn’t often a goal for businesses per se. Instead, the proliferation of technology in business operations often leads to an incidental kind of digital transformation—one with a haphazard nature that leads to an inconsistent experience for users of the organization’s applications.
Taking a more mindful approach to digital transformation that considers how each piece of technology is integrated into the whole of the business’ operations (from mobile apps to data collection tools), can be crucial for ensuring a smooth transition. This is where an IT advisory service can help.
3: Cloud Solutions
Cloud solutions have significant advantages in data security and ease of access. However, they are created differently and need clear strategies when integrating them into business operations.
It is challenging to integrate the cloud with business operations—it may result in cyber attacks if there's data leakage. Businesses need dedicated cloud partners to overcome this challenge and deal with legacy systems incompatible with cloud-based technologies.
Compliance requirements vary depending on the company size, geolocation, industry vertical, business model, and customers served. Failure to comply with specific technology regulations results in fines and penalties that can paralyze business operations.
Typical data security compliance agencies are:
- The Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC). It is the Department of Defense's (DoD) newest verification mechanism designed to ensure that cybersecurity controls and processes adequately protect Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) that resides on Defense Industrial Base (DIB) systems and networks.
- Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). It regulates businesses processing customer payment card data
- Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) which regulate healthcare businesses
Related: WHY YOU NEED AN MSP THAT KNOWS NIST800-171 COMPLIANCE
Seasoned business attorneys and IT professionals in your unique industry can help your business meet all standard requirements.
5: Integrations And Upgrades
Integrations and upgrades are critical in digital transformation. Upgrading and integrating legacy systems into new technology infrastructure may not always be successful—application programming interfaces (APId) may fail to be compatible with new/old software systems or take longer to upgrade.
An effective IT management plan can help reduce the risks of integrations and upgrades.
The manufacturing industry leverages automation tools to accelerate processes, reduce production cost, and increase employee safety. Other businesses use automation tools to collect or transmit data between departments.
The introduction of new automation tools affects the normal operations of companies. Employees may take time to learn how to use the latest technology efficiently.
7: Internet Of Things (IOT)
It is easy for businesses to forget their Internet of Things ( IoT) when mapping out technology infrastructure. Cybercriminals may target such IoT devices to access and compromise companies' data. Network World notes the following IoT vulnerabilities:
- Lack of firmware validation on devices
- Lack of security changes notifications due to upgrades
- Un-encrypted in-transit data
- Lack of anti-rollback mechanisms
8: Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are the processes behind the functionality of automation tools. As businesses focus on employing AI to execute specific tasks, finding the right AI and machine learning algorithm for particular companies is challenging.
9: Remote Workforce Support
Data collected by Gallup shows that two-thirds of U.S. remote workers prefer to continue working from home.
This means businesses must create and support "work from home" policies.
To implement these policies, enterprises need to integrate cloud-based solutions and mobile apps into their operations. Plus, companies must provide technical support to address computer problems for their remote workforce.
10: Data Management
Employees need to access business data unique to their job descriptions to enable smooth operations. Cybercriminals may use phishing emails or injection commands to manipulate unsuspecting employees.
Businesses need data management strategies to protect their files from unauthorized access and manipulation.
Related: EVERYTHING YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT DATA MIGRATION (TYPES & HOW TO)
Plus, in the event of a data breach or unexpected power loss, businesses can find it challenging to keep their systems running. Extensive resources are needed to prepare businesses for such events.
11: Mobility Focus
Research shows that 81% of people in the U.S. own a smartphone. This explains the development and use of mobile apps to reach more audiences.
Mobile apps also enable employees to collaborate effectively when working remotely. However, mobile phones have different hardware and software—which affects the consistency and stability of the mobile app experience.
12: Limited Talent
The market is experiencing a shortage of IT professionals. Most businesses have to outsource IT experts to handle their technology needs. However, companies can train specific employees to be IT competent to manage automation tools, enterprise websites & apps, and other digital assets. This ensures businesses have high ROI from IT projects.
Related: 5 WAYS TO IMPROVE TECHNOLOGY ADOPTION IN YOUR ORGANIZATION
13: Infrastructure Changes
Major changes to a company’s IT infrastructure brought about by the implementation of new solutions and technologies can have a major disruptive effect on business operations. These disruptions can cost time and money as employees struggle to learn how to work with (or around) big changes.
Additionally, internally managing infrastructure changes can itself be a costly and time-consuming process. From provisioning IT capacity to managing the installation of upgraded systems, handling updates, and troubleshooting new solutions, doing things internally can be a massive time and money sink. This may be why many companies choose to leverage the benefits of outsourced IT management services to help them plan their infrastructure changes.
14: Social Media
Billions of people use social media platforms daily, and employees are no exception. Employees may be tempted to surf their social media handles during working hours. This reduces their focus and productivity. Businesses can also expand their marketing and convert leads by effectively leveraging social media platforms.
15: Project Management
Planning, organizing, and implementing IT initiatives can be challenging. Ineffective project execution may result in budget overruns and extensive delays for critical IT projects—this can negatively affect the ROI. Businesses need to effectively track IT projects to keep budgets in check, appreciate ROI, and optimize future initiatives.
The Future of Technology
Technology is the future of businesses, although it presents new challenges. Businesses should learn what to expect to help them adopt workable technology solutions in advance.
Your business can leverage technology trends to stay ahead of the curve—inventory management, cloud-based resources, automation, data security and management, and project management software.
Is your business ready for the future of technology? Or, do you need a little help making the most out of the opportunities afforded by new software and hardware? Reach out to Systems X today to get started!