IT Review of 2022 and Top Tips for 2023
Minerva IT Review of the Year and the 3 Things You Absolutely Have to Do in January to Ensure Your Business Thrives in 2023
John Chadwick (Managing Director) and Jon Parnell (Commercial Director) of Hertfordshire-based Minerva UK, specialists in IT support and software development, look back over the past 12 months and look ahead to the challenges and opportunities 2023 is likely to offer…
2022 was a turbulent year in many industries, but what have been the most notable trends and events in the IT sector?
John Chadwick: ‘Despite the economic and political turmoil, IT has come through relatively unscathed, although there are definitely some significant challenges to be faced, especially around pricing.
‘But all-in-all, we saw the continuation of the trend from on-premise towards cloud-based working, and we’ve integrated hybrid working into our culture.
‘But we’ve also noticed a marked tightening of standards in cyber security and this has been reflected in the cost of indemnity insurance cover, so business owners are having to balance the security solutions with the cost implications.
‘Overall, though, the economy has impacted the rate of change to a certain extent, with many companies adopting a wait-and-see approach.’
Jon Parnell: ‘Yes, that inertia definitely exists, but from conversations with many clients this year, I know that business leaders are increasingly thinking about how digital transformation could be a lever for increased efficiency and productivity. They are re-assessing their functionality, and looking for ways to use IT to drive growth, in spite of the uncertainty.
‘And even if they are unaffected by national issues, the global situation has created significant supply chain challenges.
‘I also see lots of companies struggling to get a grip on distributed working, particularly with the communications and security issues that result from teams operating from remote locations.
‘And as a business, we ourselves have had to adapt to that too.’
So looking forward to 2023, what changes do you expect to see in the IT industry?
Jon Parnell: ‘As John said, we’re expecting some volatility around pricing in the first half of 2023, and a continuation of the evolution towards digitalisation.
‘Companies will expand their use of hosted services, whilst being mindful of the back-up and security implications, and the need to keep up with the fast-changing legislation in this area.
‘On another topic, I personally believe that the IT sector has yet to experience the pressure to be more diverse and inclusive that other sectors have. And whilst we at Minerva strive to ensure that we move towards a more proportionately representative team, the sector has some way to go, especially in roles for women.’
John Chadwick: From my perspective, I’m seeing lots of organisations looking at how they can upgrade their legacy software, and asking us what cloud alternatives are available.
‘They are also concerned about the cost of energy and environmental issues, so by partnering with Microsoft and their Azure hosting platform we are helping businesses to reduce their energy consumption by reducing or removing on-premise server resources.’
‘The other noticeable trend has been in the demand for a subscription-based package, which gives clients added value and peace of mind by covering all their IT requirements including license renewals and security protection.’
And for Minerva in particular, what changes will you be making to the service and support you offer clients?
John Chadwick: ‘We’ve been working on subscription packages for a while, and finding ways to tailor these to individual client’s needs.
‘It seems clear to us that clients don’t want, or need, a one-size- fits-all solution, although there are still plenty of IT companies who do this.
‘As anyone who knows me will appreciate, I’m obsessive about the quality of the support service we deliver, so in 2023 we’ll be setting the bar higher again, striving for perfection from our frontline teams.
‘Hand-in-hand with that, we‘re planning to spend more time next year on staff training, external networking and site visits.
‘Yes, we can work remotely, but our business relies on the relationships we’ve built with our customers, and (call me old school but) seeing people face-to-face can never fully be replaced by technology!’
Jon Parnell: ‘I’m certainly looking forward to taking a far more consultative approach in 2023 to ensure that our clients are really cared for.
‘Last year we dealt with over 10,000 separate cases, and we have a client retention rate close to 100%, so we are definitely doing something right, but competitive pressures always exist, so we are always striving to improve.
‘I think we’ll see much more demand for systems integration and added functionality in the coming year, and for improvements in automatic patch updates, automated reporting and data analytics. These are areas in which we can – and have – added real value to our clients.’
Finally, what are the top three action points do business leaders and IT managers need to put on their to-do list for January to ensure that their organisations can grow and develop in 2023?
Jon Parnell: ‘I’d urge business owners and managers to carefully evaluate their security exposure, especially if they have staff working from home. We have a Cyber Essentials checklist that makes this relatively simple, but it’s incredibly important, and the consequences of data breaches are well-documented and can have a devastating effect on commercial operations as well as an organisation’s reputation.
‘My second imperative would be to reassess your business processes to eradicate any gaps there.
‘And finally, I strongly advocate speaking to your staff about their IT and operational frustrations – they can often tell you what the real issues are.’
John Chadwick: ‘Firstly, I’d recommend everyone to spend time on an IT audit, preferably using an independent expert.
‘Secondly, think about the impact of a system breakdown on your business operations. Having a robust IT maintenance contract in place is like having insurance cover.
And thirdly, ensure your staff are fully briefed on the consequences of data breaches. Having a properly-briefed advantage in a sector that is increasingly vulnerable to attacks.’