Rebounding Stronger in 2022: Key Predictions for SMBs

 

Himangshu Baruah
Director of Marketing
APAC India at Softline

Himangshu Baruah is the Director of Marketing for APAC & India at Softline. He has been with the company since it started its operations in India in 2014. With a vast and rich experience in the field of Marketing strategy creation, management and execution, he leads Softline’s cross region team of marketers in their efforts at establishment of Softline as a global brand amongst other marketing activities.

2021 was a year of opportunity for SMBs to rebuild themselves and embrace the new digital-first model of business. Predicting what lies next, 2022 will bring in more possibilities and challenges as organizations continue adapting to a digitally enabled future.

With rapid change in dynamics of the market, it is essential for SMBs to stay ahead of the pack by leveraging technology. Here are some strategy improvements that can ensure business excellence for SMBs in 2022 and beyond.

Digital is a continuum

The future calls for the emergence of digital-ready SMBs. We’re seeing an exponential push towards a changed mindset and the rapid adoption of ultramodern technologies like IoT, data analytics, mobile-first solutions, and AI/ML. Growing businesses are digitalizing employee and customer experiences to stay competitive in the new reality. Fast-paced transformation is also key to operational efficiency, value creation, customer-centricity, and reviving relationships.

Cloud is the way forward

Cloud empowers businesses to

  • accelerate innovation,
  • enable hybrid work,
  • create a digital services delivery pipeline, and
  • Rethink customer experiences.

With the democratization of technology, businesses are moving towards enterprise-wide cloud migration to optimize resilience, scalability, infrastructure, risk, and cost.

Diverse talent acquisition is a new business imperative

Digital skills requirements, new work structures, and changing employee expectations are transforming the talent pool more than ever. Together, these forces are catalyzing the emergence of a highly competitive workforce ecosystem, well adept to function in the digital workspace. Employers are focusing on diversification of skill sets at their disposal and shifting away from traditional hiring protocols to achieve competitive differentiation.

Employee enablement is everything

The rapidly evolving market conditions demand that organizations invest in workforce training and development to build their roadmap for success. Even entry-level, inexperienced talent needs to be enabled with the right tools and technologies. Equally important is a flexible workplace culture that offers employees the leeway to work from anywhere. The changing times are also centered on the human element – breaking down silos and fostering trust and empathy with employees to boost their learning, retention, and engagement.

Agile solution delivery matters more than anything

An ever-transforming business environment demands customer-centricity and the building of innovative solutions to maximize business resilience. Bringing the right solutions at the right time through the right delivery channels creates opportunities for leadership, sustained customer relationships, and business growth. Organizations must implement high-quality software delivery modes to enhance their responsiveness to customer needs. Fast-paced adaptation to new technological, industrial, and cultural trends alone can accelerate business change.

Empowering SMBs to be Productive Anywhere, Anytime

A culture of innovation, modern capabilities, cross-functional team integration, and constant improvements are more crucial today than ever before. SMBs need cutting-edge technology solutions that help them realize these goals. Designed for hybrid work, Softline Digital Workplace Solutions empower small and medium enterprises to push the limits of productivity, efficiency, and flexibility – anywhere, anytime, and every time. Bringing the promise of security and agility, the solutions supercharge your workforce to get the most out of their workday and deliver outcomes that matter the most for your business.

Powering a Digital Workplace in 2022 and Beyond

 

Vinod Nair
Managing Director
Softline India

Vinod Nair is the MD of Softline India. who has been with the company since it started its operations in India in 2014. With a rich experience in the field of solution integration, he laid out a very optimistic and constructive charter of building an organization of tech strategists, delivery experts and with a strong GTM of helping clients transform their businesses through the use of digital solutions.

From remote work setup to a hybrid workplace, we have come a long way in the past two years. Realizing a workplace of tomorrow that is innovative, transformative, insightful, and less-hierarchical has become a key priority for small and medium businesses. A digital workplace is essential to increasing employee engagement, generating a high level of productivity, and building exceptional digital customer experiences.

At a crossroad: Top trends and challenges in the future workspace

Organizations today need to keep pace with the rapidly evolving digital workplace technologies. As SMBs grapple to stay competitive in the digital-first reality, some key trends to watch out for are workstream collaboration, skills-based talent acquisition, AI-augmented workforce, automation, hybrid working, and data analytics.

SMBs need to shift their focus on leveraging and enhancing new-age skill sets. According to Emeritus Global Career Impact Survey (2021), some of the top in-demand skills include soft skills like leadership and management, critical thinking, problem-solving, innovation, design thinking, and creativity. A World Economic Forum report predicted that by 2024 retraining for up to six months will be crucial for around 40% of the global workforce.

The pandemic condensed years’ worth of technological innovation into a matter of months, leaving businesses in a race to catch up. Next-gen technologies like AI/ML, cloud computing, data science/analytics, and digital communication have created just as many challenges as opportunities. The workforce is equally hard-pressed to acquire job-specific skills and the necessary technical expertise.

For SMEs, harnessing the potential of these new technologies and exploring untapped market opportunities can make all the difference, enabling them to ride the wave of digital business transformation.

Another major frontier for SMBs to consider is cybersecurity. According to SMB Cybersecurity Trust & Confidence Report, 2021, 74% of SMBs agreed that it is challenging to predict future cybersecurity threats. They need access to diverse future-ready skills, such as data security, DevSecOps, identity and access management, and more to thwart cyber threats. To deliver on this need IT Service providers are stepping in to provide customized solutions and respond to the changing demands.

Stepping Up the Game for Small and Medium Enterprises

Amid the emergence of this changing ecosystem, a strong, pre-emptive approach is necessary for small and medium businesses to adapt to all things digital. Designed to empower SMEs with a secure, resilient, and flexible work setup, Softline Digital Workplace Solutions enable them to create a modern work environment for their workforce. Embedding advanced capabilities Softline’s hybrid-ready solutions enable organizations to reimagine their digital strategy for growth in 2022 and beyond.

Why should SMB leaders pivot to technology for realizing digital transformation goals?

 

Kartik Shah
Director of Sales
Softline India

Kartik Shah is the Director of Sales at Softline India and has been with the company since it started its operations in India in 2014. He has a long and intense experience in the field of solutions sales and managed services. He is skilled in developing and leading an elite team of professionals to secure sales excellence in our push to partner with various enterprise customers.

One of the most critical aspects of customers and market landscape that businesses need to understand is that – they evolve.

Large enterprises have already taken substantial measures to steer digital transformation with an aim to thrive in this ever-changing age. In fact, according to Gartner, 87% of senior business leaders state that digitalization is an organizational priority1. Hence, it has become imperative for SMBs too, to re-align their IT and investment strategy in order to adopt the right technology stack to realize their digitalization goals.

Today, CEOs need to revisit how the business operates and re-look at the existing technology stack. This helps in designing the way forward in a digital-first world. The onus lies upon the C-suite leaders to build a strategic roadmap to ensure business continuity, and there is no denying that the role of a CEO has also evolved.

To keep pace with the changing business dynamics, many forward-thinking CEOs are making significant digital investments to transform and modernize business operations. However, many SMBs are still grappling with issues related to technology investments, customer experience, employee productivity, and data security to name a few.

The good news is that technology innovation plays a great leveler for SMBs in this information age. Emerging technologies enable businesses to drive value across process and operational areas.

Mentioned below are a few ways in which technology accelerates transformation –

Transforming the business model

Traditional businesses are reimagining business models while adopting technologies to deliver enhanced value to consumers. Leveraging Cloud Computing, Artificial Intelligence, and Analytics, these businesses are constantly aligning with the market demands.

Transforming business processes

Being one of the most basic units of operations, businesses are transforming their processes by integrating technologies such as Machine Learning, AI, and Multi Clouds. These are further helping in enhancing service and product quality. It is also improves customer experience by accelerating delivery time.

Transforming the workforce

People are the most powerful assets for any business. To empower its people in today’s hyper-connected ‘work from anywhere’ age, businesses are investing in devices and technologies to equip the workforce to work from anywhere while keeping data secure.

Effective digital transformation is when a business can embrace distributed decision-making, agile workflows, and a digitally enabled and connected culture.

Time for CEOs to become Digital Leaders

The volatility of the past few years unveiled many vulnerabilities that CEOs had never imaged before. Yet there are many who rose to the challenge with digital capacities playing a significant role in keeping businesses resilient.

To thrive amid uncertainties, CEOs and business leaders of today need to understand that being a digital organization will bring in a competitive edge. Digitally enabled SMBs become more resilient, flexible, and secure. And this helps them in keeping pace with emerging industry demands. So, it’s paramount that effective digital transformation initiatives are at the center of their business strategy.

In order to achieve this, SMBs need to turn to external IT support services providers that can help in managing and protecting their IT infrastructure and digital assets. External support can help enable their workforce to work from anywhere with a secure, flexible, and agile setup. Softline Digital Workplace solutions enable SMBs to keep their business in action in the face of disruption while freeing their IT team to focus on innovation, to drive business growth and strategic projects.


Mobilize Every Function in the Organization for Digitalization

Preparing Your Business for The Future Workforce

 

Vinod Nair
Managing Director
Softline India

The rise of automation has brought a seismic wave of job transition across industries. With technology entering almost every aspect of the workplace, the need to ensure the workforce is equipped with the essential tools, technology, and skills has further escalated. According to a Deloitte report1, 88% of companies believe in the importance of redesigning their work model. Looking at such a scope of change, business leaders need to rethink their roles and become more proactive to realize transformation and drive enhanced business outcomes.

As digital continues to transform the business landscape, successful organizations of the future will likely be those that will quickly embrace the new reality, optimize their structure, processes, and culture to navigate these unexpected and gradual changes, while adjusting to the dynamic market environments. For Softline India, powering the modern workforce with end-to-end technology solutions and enabling effective transformation is the gamechanger to secure resiliency and business continuity. And we are dedicatedly working towards this mission by working closely on the transformation journey of our enterprise customers.

Reevaluating L&D to Secure Business Growth

Recent market disruptions have necessitated the need to adopt a forward-thinking approach to strategically anticipate future skills, innovate, and remain competitive. Organizations today need to ensure that their employees are equipped with the right tools and technology to enable seamless collaboration, connectivity, and productivity across multiple locations. According to a survey by Mckinsey2, online collaboration tools and digital workplaces facilitate increased productivity by up to 30%.

To overcome anticipated business challenges for preparing for the future of work, technology has emerged as a key enabler in effecting the much-needed change. According to a VMWare report3, 87% of CIOs believe digitally empowering their employees can drive at least 5% additional revenue growth over three years. Furthermore, the impact of algorithmic economics based in AI and machine learning will likely be transformative for the eventual fate of work.

Some of the critical aspects of enabling a prospering future include:

  • Preparing workforce for AI’s imminent impact.
  • Offering accessible solutions.
  • Incorporating flexible working hours.
  • Enhancing employee experiences through intelligent tools & technology.
  • Integrate contingent and autonomous workers into space requirements.

Having a team that is well-adept at solving complex business challenges, Softline India serves as an influential partner for enterprises in driving their transformation journey. Our customer-first approach allows us to consolidate technology expertise for offering brand-independent solutions which best serves our customer needs. Several use cases bear testimony on how enterprises are able to leverage our competency and extensive resources to effectively enable digital transformation and unlock a new world of possibilities.

The Way Forward

The future of the workforce may be uncertain, but it is undeniably exciting. A recent report by the World Economic Forum4 states that 75 million jobs could be displaced by 2022 due to the onslaught of machines and algorithms. However, this very trend is also expected to create approximately 133 million new job roles. While it ensures greater freedom and flexibility at work for employees more than ever before, organizations can leverage this opportunity to maximize productivity and enhance business outcomes. What will remain crucial is enabling a hybrid workplace that is an amalgamation of both in-office and remote employees. Organizations need to create a strategic approach for bringing in policies around employee’s experience of technology, digital upskilling, inclusivity, collaboration, and employee wellbeing into their existing business models.

Change, I believe will be the only constant in the years to come. But, with the right approach, tools, and support, you can add value not just to your customers but also the next-gen workforce. One key learning which I have had in my corporate life is that collaboration and communication can open a new realm of possibilities and untapped opportunities of growth.

Build a secure work environment only at INR 345* per month

Protect every phone, tablet that connects to your business

Drive business excellence at INR 99* per month

Get Business Email, Audio Video Conferencing, 1 TB of cloud storage & much more

Embrace the hybrid workplace with Office Business Standard at INR 630* per user per month

Lead the digital future with the latest technology tools on your side

Drive workforce productivity with Microsoft 365 Apps at INR 525* per user per month

Empower your workforce with Microsoft 365 Apps

Migrate to Azure with exclusive buyback offer*

Get best value for your old hardware with Softline

Claim USD 15K* worth Azure credits

Optimize your annual Azure consumption with initial investment worth USD 50K* annually