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We’re a few weeks into 2023 and for most businesses, it means it’s time to take stock of their plans for the new year.
One of the biggest advantages of a new year is that you’ve got a chance to look back at everything and see what’s been working for you and what isn’t, especially from a technology perspective. It’s a good time to assess the tools you used or tried over the year and figure out what has helped you reach your strategic goals and which left a little something to be desired.
Plan your productive year
Odds are, you’ve got some plans already in motion for this coming year. Initiatives that have either spilled over from last year or have been in the works for a while. Now is the ideal time to make sure that you’ve got technology that can help you reach those goals.
If you don’t have plans in place, already. Think about what you want your business to look like at the end of 2023. What does growth look like this year? What needs to happen to make the year a success? Does the tech stack you currently have help you reach your goals?
Technology doesn’t have to be the reason why you push yourself in one direction over another, but it should be able to guide you down the path you’re looking to take. If you feel like the tech you and your teams are working with is getting in the way of productivity, rather than enhancing it, now is the time to switch things up.
You always want to have tools that make reaching your goals easier.
Essential tools and security canvas
To figure out what tools are critical to your business, it helps to understand exactly what the various members of each team are doing and how they’re doing each task.
If you’ve got a kanban board set up or another agile-style tool, most of the data you’re looking for should be in there. But, in the absence of that data, talk to your team. When you have them break down what their tasks look like, you’ll start to see areas where they’re encountering bottlenecks. These could be places where they have to stop and do a manual task, like cutting and pasting some information, or where they have to wait for another team member to complete a task, which can slow everything down. From there, it’s a matter of asking what tools can be implemented to eliminate this bottleneck. Given the sheer number of productivity tools that are available these days, if you continue to do something in an outdated manner, you risk causing all sorts of problems, like the famous airline relying on an old scheduling system that has caused massive problems recently.
Similarly, it’s important to take stock of your security situation. We’ve been talking a lot recently about how cyberattacks are not only increasing in frequency but are also becoming more complex. The need to stay ahead of these attacks is greater than ever. If you’re not already regularly assessing your security canvas, now is the time to start. The more you identify possible problems and put solutions in place to mitigate these potential threats, the more prepared you’ll be if something does go wrong. If you don’t have the ability to handle this in-house, hire experts who can come in, assess the situation, implement solutions, and train staff to be diligent.
Endpoint security preparedness
We’ve talked about the importance of endpoint security in a recent post, but it’s worth repeating that you need to have protection in place for every single device that’s attached to your business network. It doesn’t matter if it’s the computer the CEO uses or the sensors that measure how much soap is left in bathroom soap dispensers, they’re all possible access points that need to be secured.
The need for strong endpoint security only gets stronger when you have employees working remotely or you’re in a company with a bring your own device policy because of the lack of control that can happen around those situations.
Much like with your overall security canvas, you need to sit down, make a list of every single device that’s attached to your network, and secure them all. Again, having an outside security team could be helpful here, if your internal tech folks don’t have the capacity.
Brace for the economic uncertainties
It’s not always possible to avoid the impact of an economic downturn, but you can be ready for it. One of the reasons why it’s always good to ensure you’re working with the right tools is that you create processes that waste less time. You’re not waiting for someone to fax you something, you’re not manually moving data around. And, you’re not guessing what new features your customers want. Your team is focused on getting the right work done efficiently and they’re not wasting time on tasks that aren’t going to add value. You may end up spending a bit more money on productivity tools in the short term, but you’re making more money in the long term and you won’t be wasting your time and money on tasks that your customers don’t want.
Automating tasks can be another way of recession-proofing your business. Ideally, you’ll remove all the tasks that don’t add value to your team, so everyone can focus on the things they do best. You don’t want your best programmer to be mired in the administrative tasks that may come with the job (especially if you’re a startup). The more your team members are focussed on tasks that bring in money, the less likely you’ll have to lay people off.
Finally, don’t let security be something you decide to spend less on. Cybercriminals are always on the lookout for businesses that are cutting corners on security and if they discover you haven’t been keeping up to date, chances are you’ll end up a victim. Considering the severe financial impact that comes with a data breach, you want to avoid this at all costs during an economic slowdown.
Need help planning for 2023?
If you need help making sure that you’re ready for whatever the new year brings us, let’s talk. Our tech experts have more than 20 years of experience helping businesses prepare for what’s coming next and can make sure everything is pointing in the right direction in 2023.
Contact us today to learn more.