In September 2022, Microsoft asked 3,000 small- to medium-sized businesses around the globe to rate their attitude toward technology and their thoughts on digital transformation. More than 70% of respondents said growth was their primary business objective. Those who leveraged and invested in technology were twice as likely to achieve their growth goals — and four times as likely to express confidence in future business success.
In a sign of that confidence, more than 65% of businesses said they plan to increase their IT budgets in 2023, mostly to increase operational efficiency. And 51% said they would rely on trusted technology experts to proactively suggest new technology solutions to match their business needs.
Expert help like that is critical in today’s increasingly virtual world. Nearly 80% of survey respondents expect their employees to work a hybrid schedule for at least two more years. That means new tools need to be flexible and reliable so that staff members receive secure support. And speaking of security, 47% of businesses in the United States said security was the No. 1 factor they prioritized when selecting new technology solutions.
What do these numbers mean for your business?
According to the Small Business Administration, there are more than 32 million businesses with fewer than 500 employees in the U.S., accounting for 99.9% of all registered companies and nearly 50% of the country’s workforce. Canada has nearly 260,000 similarly sized businesses, accounting for 99.8% of all registered companies.
So the numbers from the Microsoft survey, produced in collaboration with management consulting firm Analsys Mason, are quite relevant. They also align well with the mission of CMIT Solutions offices across North America, which have helped thousands of businesses navigate digital disruptions and technology changes over the last 25 years.
Here’s what we’ve learned along the way — and the lessons we recommend for our business clients:
1. Investing in IT support can pay big dividends. The Microsoft survey found that businesses meeting regular growth goals were seven times as likely to consider technology essential to everyday success. With cybersecurity threats evolving every day and data breaches negatively impacting more companies, multi-layered IT support is a must. This includes responsive firewalls, anti-virus software, content filtering, traffic analysis, remote maintenance, and more — all tools designed to work behind the scenes so that day-to-day operations at your business run smoothly.
2. IT support must fit your specific financial situation. Many IT providers try and force complicated solutions onto straightforward problems. The best support should be customized to your needs, however — and to your available budget. The Microsoft survey found that 47% of businesses surveyed said cost was the biggest barrier to adopting new technology. When local experts who live in your community deliver IT support geared to a specific business environment, however, it can be a much better fit. At CMIT Solutions, we don’t push expensive products. Instead, we listen first, understand budgetary limitations second, and then suggest realistic fixes that address your issues.
3. Look for tactical, short-term help — and plan for strategic, long-term success. Businesses need help with day-to-day duties: setting up computers, installing software updates, creating new email accounts, and securing login credentials. That’s why 45% of the businesses that responded to the Microsoft survey said they relied on external support for general IT needs. But 33% said their decision-makers were stretched too thin, necessitating comprehensive support from a managed services provider (MSP) responsible for all aspects of technology management, planning, and purchasing. To meet that need, CMIT Solutions offers full-service IT leadership that helps your company procure equipment, manage systems, set short- and long-term strategies, and drive business growth. We even offer virtual CTO (chief technology officer), CIO (chief information officer), and CCO (chief cybersecurity officer) services that give you access to the executive-level expertise you need.
4. Compliance matters, perhaps more than ever. Maybe your company is subject to HIPAA or FINRA compliance rules. Maybe you do business in Canada and have to meet PIPEDA requirements. Or maybe you live in one of the 10+ U.S. states that have recently enacted more stringent data protection and privacy laws for all companies, no matter the industry. It’s impossible to avoid such compliance requirements, especially now that one mistake can lead to serious civil or criminal penalties. CMIT Solutions understands the intricacies of data security and identity protection. We work hard to translate those details into pragmatic steps our clients can take to protect themselves and their information. Maybe that means extra encryption, enhanced data backup procedures, or robust disaster recovery plans. Either way, we can help.
5. Cybersecurity education is an expectation—not an extra add-on. More than 40% of Microsoft’s survey respondents said that millennials (aged 25-40) held leadership and decision-making roles at their companies. Most of those millennials have grown up fluent in the language of technology and digital media, making them more receptive to regular information about cybersecurity and data privacy. That can have a transformative effect on a company’s overall attitude toward technology. Instead of treating technology education and training as a frustrating requirement, younger employees may think of it as productive, interesting, and even enjoyable. When employees are more invested in cybersecurity, you’ll have a strong first line of defense protecting your company against common threats like phishing and ransomware.
At CMIT Solutions, we take our commitment to IT support seriously. The cybersecurity tools we suggest for you are the same ones we rely on to protect our business. We’re more than just an IT provider—we’re a trusted partner invested in the success of your business. If you’re looking for someone you can count on, contact CMIT Solutions today.