The COVID-19 pandemic massively disrupted the economy, and the IT industry was no exception. IT spending took a big hit during the pandemic. Businesses paused deployment of new technology, delayed hardware and software upgrades, and deferred maintenance in order to defray costs.
However, while the pandemic brought many challenges to the IT sector, it also represents a major opportunity for small and medium IT businesses.
Which direction is the IT industry moving in 2021, and how can your small business take advantage of emerging opportunities?
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Top Business Technology Trends in 2021
As business owners grappled with COVID-19 lockdowns and the dwindling cash flow that resulted, they cut spending everywhere they could — IT included. However, while some IT expenditures scaled back during the pandemic, others soared ahead.
- Remote work and cloud computing in particular have become top priorities for IT spending. Telecommuting has a lot of advantages, but it also requires a new suite of tools for real-time collaboration and communication, file sharing, storage, and recovery, and other key business functions.
- With new tools come new cybersecurity concerns, especially as workforces and classrooms grow increasingly distributed. Global cybersecurity spending is expected to grow 10% in 2021 as companies work to improve staff training, data protection, and threat detection and response.
- Small businesses also need help with customer acquisition and retention. In a market dominated by ecommerce, that means turning to tech solutions. The demand for customer relationship management software is higher than ever, as is interest in customer service software, ecommerce software, and marketing automation.
How IT Companies Can Adapt After COVID-19
Don’t expect these trends to be short-lived. While the pandemic accelerated the digital transformation, many of these changes have been in the works for years. To succeed in the new normal, small IT businesses must look to the future.
- The most important thing IT companies can do to succeed after COVID-19 is capitalize on these business priorities. Businesses may need to redirect attention to industries where IT spending remains stable or expand product offerings to better meet customer needs.
- IT service providers can also expect growing interest in remote services. Remote IT support tools will be an essential investment for managed services providers going forward.
- Some business owners remain wary of remote IT support due to misconceptions about cybersecurity and what can and can’t be accomplished remotely. Use marketing to educate potential clients about remote tech support and consider free demos to show what remote support can do.
- It’s not only clients that are going remote. IT businesses themselves are increasingly working from home. While the transition to remote work is easier for tech-savvy companies, collaborating from a distance still requires careful attention to internal communication practices.
How to Start an IT Business in 2021
The post-pandemic economy brings a lot of challenges and opportunities to existing IT companies. It’s also a great time for entrepreneurs to launch a new IT business.
- The most successful IT businesses in 2021 will be the ones that solve the unique problems posed by the pandemic. Be innovative as you approach your business plan. How can your company address the trends and challenges mentioned above?
- A startup’s business plan should also identify its target market and outline a marketing and sales plan. Narrowing in on a niche audience results in a more engaged (and profitable) customer base.
- Starting a business requires jumping through certain legal hoops. Online formation services simplify the process of starting a business and maintaining compliance. A formation service can even serve as your registered agent, a big perk for businesses that operate from home. Read Zenbusiness reviews to learn what to look for in a service.
- That’s not all to think about as you start an IT business. IT companies also need secure contracts and insurance to protect against lawsuits. You may also choose to pursue leading IT certifications to lend your new business credibility.
This has been a period of rapid change for businesses across all industries. However, few sectors are experiencing a time quite as exciting as the IT industry. Whether you own an established IT company or are an aspiring entrepreneur, don’t let this opportunity pass you by. With the right strategy, you can harness the opportunities presented by the COVID-19 pandemic and turn them into a profitable IT enterprise.