The global pandemic changed the business landscape in 2023. Whilst some changes present businesses with more opportunities to increase output, there are still wrinkles to iron out in 2023.
Pivoting to a hybrid workplace – and continuing remote working strategies – presented most companies with challenges to overcome. Implementing cloud technologies eliminated most promotions during the upheaval, but a number of issues continue to disrupt progress and security.
Businesses will need to turn the corner by confronting challenges in 2023. Crucial factors primarily involve mobilizing a remote workforce. Data protection and leveraging cloud technologies are a priority whilst onboarding top talent and sourcing new supply chains are also areas to navigate.
1. Preventing Cyber Attacks
A dramatic increase in high-profile data breaches during the global pandemic underscored the threat businesses face from malicious actors. With hackers employing a range of sophisticated techniques and technologies, businesses have to find a way of effectively dealing with cyberattacks to prevent a data breach.
Data protection laws such as the EU’s General Data Protection Directives (GDPR) mean that businesses are obligated to implement cybersecurity defenses that protect customer data. The risk of a data breach is arguably higher for organizations that deploy a distributed workforce.
Software vulnerabilities that can be exploited, home networks, personal devices, reused passwords, and misconfigured cloud applications pose a significant threat to businesses.
Employee error means that cybersecurity awareness training has to be a priority in 2023. Whilst technology is thought to withstand over 90% of attacks, there is no accounting for human error.
Cybersecurity awareness will help eradicate a large percentage of data breaches. The most common cause of data breaches is stolen credentials hackers scrape from personal devices.
Business networks require a combination of strategies – both technological and practical – to deflect threats. However, every business will have unique needs. The best strategy may be to consult IT specialists with experience in implementing cybersecurity strategies.
2. Leverage Cloud Technologies
Cloud services enjoyed exponential growth in 2023 and again in 2023. Migrating to the cloud was a quick-fix solution that helped companies to ride out work-from-home policies they were forced into.
The majority of companies were unprepared for data outsourcing. According to a survey conducted by PwC, 53% of organizations in the United States are still not utilizing cloud technologies to their full potential.
Whilst the cost-savings of migrating to the cloud provided a welcome relief on expenditure, money is being flittered by failing to leverage these powerful technologies and take advantage of cloud productivity tools.
Misconfigured software causes clashes with legacy software and a lack of staff training means employees are not aware of the array of tools on offer that can speed up productivity and enhance collaboration.
Again the strategies pose unique problems that require unique solutions. In-house IT managers with little to no cloud experience have a hard time configuring servers and meeting compliance.
Proprietary technologies and hardware owned by third parties also raise legal questions that have not been addressed. Implementing a zero-trust IT environment is the solution but the challenge is bringing your employees on board and ensuring they perform the relevant tasks that ensure your business network remains secure.
3. Managing A Distributed Workforce
The benefits of a remote workforce that came to light during the pandemic have been dampened by several studies coming out of Harvard and Stanford. Line managers have been warned not to let employees choose their own work-from-home days.
Comprehensive surveys revealed a clash in employee preferences. Workers with young families and those that have a long commute home are not keen to return to the office.
On the flip side, young singles and workers that live alone prefer to spend time in the office where they can socialize with their colleagues. The divide in opinion could have the potential to divide workplace relationships and the dynamic between collaborative teams.
The World Health Organisation has also weighed in on the argument, estimating depressed employees cause a 64% loss in earnings.
A hybrid workplace also presents managers with other challenges. Communication is suffering. Businesses haven’t figured out how to engage remote teams and ensure that uniform messages reach and are understood by staff as a whole.
As a result, a distributed workforce could have a negative impact on company culture and building trust. Business success relies on everybody pulling the oars in the same direction and in unison.
4. Talent Sourcing
A hybrid workplace relies on cloud technologies – and most in-house IT professionals don’t have any experience with the cloud. A global survey published by Deloitte ruffled feathers when they declared the current global workforce is severally lacking in critical skills such as accounting (37%), IT services (37%), digital marketing (34%), and development (28%).
As a result, a higher percentage of companies are outsourcing work and responsibilities to third-party contractors. What is interesting is that many businesses are outsourcing for professionals in high positions in the company, with virtual CIO being one of the most popular options. Whilst this strategy can result in cost savings, legal issues around data privacy rear their ugly head again.
5. Supply Shortages
The news has been awash with reports that various commodities are in short supply. In the UK, shortages have largely been blamed on the pandemic although border delays and severed supply chains caused by Brexit have made a significant contribution.
However, the main cause is the world’s reliance on China to supply goods. The closure of ports during various lockdowns created a bottleneck. Whilst production stopped orders didn’t.
The backlog will inevitably cause considerable delays for businesses that rely on goods. Meanwhile, consumers will look elsewhere which could have long-term effects on business revenue.
As we settle into life in the “new normal”, the business landscape will not feel normal for numerous companies. With various problems to navigate 2023 could be a tough old year for business owners.
Experts predict disruptions will spill over in 2023. With such a gloomy outlook, the best solution in 2023 may be to invest in expert help to receive the pressure and position the ship so you can go full steam ahead and pull away from your competitors in 2023.