How to Win During Economic Uncertainty with Strategic IT Investments
Written by Elizabeth Klingseisen
When preparing for tough times, the natural business instinct is to look for ways to trim spending. Lean and mean will get you through. But while that may be true for many areas of business, history shows us IT investment isn’t one of them. Companies that invested in tech during the 2008 economic slowdown outperformed those that cut tech spending. Through the pandemic, enterprises with mobile technology have been exponentially more nimble when needing to pivot to remote work or serving customers with contactless transactions and curbside pickup.
The 2023 Enterprise Mobility Outlook report from Stratix shows how companies currently view mobile technology. Far from just convenience, 97 percent say mobile is very, or extremely, important to their business. Eighty-six percent are using more mobile devices now than in the last three years. When we asked why, enterprises told us their top five reasons for investing in it are:
- Increasing productivity
- Improving workflows
- Enhancing internal collaboration
- Upgrading the employee experience
- Boosting customer service
All of the above are benefits that help companies succeed in uncertain times because they improve the efficiency and effectiveness of operations. Despite the unclear economic outlook, enterprises have more digital transformation to do. Gartner predicts IT spending will grow by just over five percent in 2023—calling enterprise IT spending “recession-proof.” But that spending can’t and won’t be careless. Businesses must focus on investments that help achieve specific business goals. Respondents in the 2023 Enterprise Mobility Outlook told us they’re prioritizing three areas in their IT strategic plans: digital transformation, collaboration, and supply chain improvements.
1) Digital Transformation
Spending on digital transformation brings a high ROI because it lowers costs over time by lessening the human workload through automation, reducing errors, and cutting materials expenses like paper and ink, etc. The nimbleness that comes with digitalization also means faster time to market when reacting to new opportunities or disruption.
Mobile and other developing technology is often relatively new ground for company leaders, and it can be difficult to evaluate the value of what’s available, how hard it will be to implement, and what the return on investment will be. Sometimes you need outside expertise. Stratix solution architects—for example—prioritize in-depth consultations with clients to understand their current environments and business goals long before they begin designing proposed solutions.
It’s important to consider not only the technology and its potential benefits but how it will be implemented seamlessly for maximum user buy-in and experiences.
One of the many potential benefits of enterprise mobility solutions is improved collaboration. Mobile devices make it easy for workers to communicate via the channel of their choice—including voice, video, text, instant message, email, and more. They can share documents and other information and work on them together in real-time. Improving how teams collaborate is a clear business benefit—especially during economic uncertainty. You want the best possible problem-solving, efficiency, and innovation. While a connected workforce contributing from wherever and whenever is important, there are challenges—especially around security. Fifty-four percent of respondents in the 2023 Enterprise Mobility Outlook said they’d experienced new security concerns related to mobile in the past three years, and endpoint security was a chief reason that 75 percent said they feel overwhelmed.
You want collaboration conducted through secure and regulated channels, so a comprehensive enterprise mobility management (EMM) solution is a must-have. Such endpoint management tools ensure your policies are being followed, block bad actors, and also, keep devices up-to-date and performing as they should.
3) Supply Chain
The third item IT leaders told us they’re focused on for 2023 is supply chain issues and how to fix them. Despite the easing of the pandemic, supply chain hiccups are still with us. Some supply chain problems are unavoidable, but seeing the big picture is a sure way to spot issues and deal with them proactively. Data from mobile devices gives you that visibility.
Say—for example—there’s a bottleneck in transportation. Having that information offers the potential to re-route shipments around it. The digitization of the supply chain with mobile devices not only means less manual paperwork and fewer errors, but you get real-time information like asset tracking and forecasting.
Greater supply chain accuracy means you can effectively predict when items will arrive. That improves forecasting for logistics, manufacturing, construction, retail, and much more. Delivering on time is critical to good customer experiences.
What’s Your Strategic IT Plan?
While it may sound counterintuitive to make significant business investments in uncertain economic times, most tech leaders say they’re increasing budgets to achieve the goals in their strategic IT plans. It’s because technology has proven to be less of a cost center and more of a business driver in past downturns.
2023 Enterprise Mobility Outlook Report
Research Shows Companies Are Leveraging Mobile Technology to Succeed in Uncertain TimesRead the Report