We made it through 2021! Now that 2022 is on our doorstep, we wanted to look at small business technology trends for 2022. By small business, we specifically mean companies and organizations with 10-200 employees. Some of these trends may seem a bit “out there”, but they are worth looking into during the 2022 year so, at a minimum, you are aware of them and have a strategy for using them in the future.
Continued Advancement in Cloud Computing
For most smaller organizations, Office 365, Microsoft 365 and perhaps a few virtual servers will continue to be the workhorse for their business. We see this trend continuing in 2022. In addition to the already deployed cloud servers and services, we see an increasing trend from vendors to offer pure cloud versions of their solutions. We also see the deployment of Windows 365 (a virtual PC in the cloud) as something which needs to be investigated.
Cryptocurrency is here to stay (for example, Bitcoin). In a recent CNBC poll, 83% of millennial millionaires own cryptocurrencies and more than half of them have at least 50% of their wealth in crypto. While we are not financial advisors (so don’t take this as financial advice), for the small business, are there ways you can tap into this wealth and attract those who own cryptocurrencies? One place to start could be to accept crypto (for example Lightning Payments using the Bitcoin network) as a form of payment or a form of donation.
Increased Pressure on Network and Internet Security
Sophisticated cyber attacks on businesses continue to rise, and the small business is clearly in the sights of the bad actors. Staying ahead with training your staff and maintaining the highest levels of affordable network security will continue to be important in 2022 and beyond.
5G Data Communications
Bear with us here. Even though 5G may not be sexy and it feels like a reason to trade in a cell phone, it is clearly NOT that. 5G is important because it allows the small business to have high speed data connections on nearly every device and vehicle, regardless of where it is located. Combine 5G with a secure Virtual Private Network (VPN) and you have a private, secure, and fast network enabling your employees to do their work wherever they want (or you want).
Hyperautomation and Robotic Process Automation
Hyperautomation, according to Gartner, is “a disciplined, business-driven approach to rapidly identify, vet and automate as many business and IT processes as possible.” While process automation is something you should always be doing, adding in Robotic Process Automation (RPA) will significantly improve responsiveness and accuracy. RPA is a “software robot” designed to use a virtual keyboard and mouse to automate processes and data flow across different systems. Do you have an e-commerce site that is not connected to your internal ordering system? You can deploy an RPA and have the robot convert web orders to your internal system.
While blockchain is related to cryptocurrency in that blockchain is the “network” that cryptocurrency utilizes, there are other uses for blockchain besides cryptocurrencies. The first use for blockchain outside of currencies is smart contracts.
A smart contract is a computer program or transaction protocol which is intended to automatically execute, control, or document legally relevant events and actions according to the terms of a contract or an agreement (Wikipedia).
We expect to see some of the vendors you use start to integrate smart contract functionality into their systems soon. While it is difficult for you as a small business to create your own smart contract system, as time moves on, you will be able to use this functionality developed by third parties.
Data privacy continues to be a subject that consumers are concerned about. If you do business in the European Union, GDPR is a data privacy regulation you already know about. Even California has a strict set of privacy regulations you need to be aware of.
We don’t see any significant legislation on the horizon at the national level, but at the state level, we anticipate increasingly tighter data privacy laws to protect consumers. At a minimum, keeping up to date on the laws should be tasked to someone at your organization.
Broadband Internet to Rural and Developing Areas
Remember 5G above? The combination of the continued deployment of 5G along with very fast satellite-based Internet systems such as Starlink, will enable your remote offices, customers, and partners to participate on the Internet at higher speeds than ever.
Battery Electric Vehicles
Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV) have gone mainstream at the end of 2021 and in 2022, you might want to consider one for your business. Battery technology has advanced rapidly over the past 12 months and range is no longer an issue, charging scenarios are well documented (even to the point of best practices are developed for each use type), and use cases are established. Your next delivery van or work truck might be a BEV. We like them because they feature many advanced technological features and overall, might be a lower total cost of ownership over the time you own one. The use case we have in mind is a delivery truck or work truck which stays near the city and gets driven about 100 – 150 miles per day – this is a perfect use case for a BEV. If you are on a five-year vehicle replacement schedule, your expenses might be only electricity, brakes, and tires.
We hope you liked our list. Got any cool technology projects in mind for 2022? We’d love to hear about them.
This week’s post by Tim Malzahn, Principal Consultant at Malzahn Strategic