Four small business focal points of note for 2020.
The global economic and geopolitical environments will be more positive than negative for most countries, which will make for more constrained IT budgets in 2020.
Additionally, the disintermediation impacts of the digital economy, trade disruptions and tariffs will continue to disrupt businesses – and whole industries – that must be addressed by corporate executives before their firms’ revenues are usurped by new or transformed competitors.
To address these challenges, small business owners and IT executives must re-examine their culture, people and processes as well as the impacts caused by external pressures. Externally, small business owners and IT executives will have to work with non-IT teams to improve and restructure processes to address the business requirements underlying the need for more collaborative, interactive, personalized, and predictive real-time information using AI, analytics, IoT, mass personalization and mobility.
Simultaneously, small business owners and IT executives will have to address the data integrity and privacy and service level concerns that impact business outcomes, productivity, revenues and security so that there is more confidence in IT and the organization as a whole.
Internally, small business owners and IT executives will need to increase their focus on analytics, automation, componentization, machine learning, operations effectiveness, orchestration, privacy, and security so that IT can deliver more and better offerings quicker and at a lower cost while protecting the organization from cybersecurity attacks and vulnerabilities.
The United States will experience another positive year, at least until the election, which could prove disruptive, depending upon the results.
Outside of the U.S., the majority of countries will see positive growth while a few will retrench. The Trump administration’s tariff actions have disrupted the Chinese supply chain and companies are moving their manufacturing firms to other low-cost countries or back home.
China can be expected to respond but the damage has been done.
Further tensions and disruptions are expected and the growth impact could be substantial. The Brexit saga will come to an end and the UK will need to rapidly put policies and procedures in place if they are to avoid a downturn.
The rest of the EU will muddle along. Turmoil in the Middle East and the West’s war of words with China and Russia are adding to the waves of insecurity.
Uncertainties in multiple Latin American countries will impact investment decisions and growth prospects as well. Moreover, regulations such as the general data protection regulation (GDPR) and its equivalents in California and Canada, and cybersecurity breaches like those at Capital One and Facebook are forcing businesses to reconsider their culture, processes and views on privacy and security.
Therefore, executives must invest in transforming their business and drive process improvements to remain competitive, help contain costs, enhance compliance, minimize risks, ensure privacy, and improve resource utilization.
Here are four areas that will be focal points in 2020:
First it was “cloud,” then it moved to hybrid cloud, and multi-cloud. 2019 saw the beginnings of a shift to IoT and then edge.
The server/storage topography continues to evolve, making it difficult for IT executives and architects to construct application and data architectures that can survive long-term. New methods of abstraction, orchestration, and portability will be needed to address these growing issues before companies find themselves once again locked into legacy cloud solutions with islands of data that are out of control.
Thus, while there will be more cloud, edge, and IoT movement, the business impacts and results will be mixed.
2. Compliance – Privacy
GDPR is in effect and British Airways and Marriott have already been hit with mega-fines; more to come in 2020.
California’s consumer privacy act (CCPA) will go live in 2020. While there are similarities between CCPA, GDPR and the Canadian Privacy Act, there are significant differences. Expect other countries (and U.S. states) to pass their own privacy acts, creating a patchwork of requirements that firms will struggle to adhere to.
In addition, organizations will likely have to conform with the EU’s ePrivacy law (the “cookie law”) as well as PSD2 standards, which are still evolving.
Thus, in 2020 small business owners and IT executives will be hard pressed to keep up with compliance requirements globally while improving users’ support for compliance. Small business owners and IT executives will need to work with auditors and regulators to develop better proactive processes that reduce the cost of compliance and risk exposure.
Next page: #3 Digital Transformation, #4 Security and Takeaway