Even in tougher economic times, businesses which make smart technology investment choices will be most likely to weather the storm.
Foundry research shows as many as 56% of businesses expect their technology budgets to continue to grow. Application modernisation, replacing outdated IT infrastructure and investment in new skills are all reasons companies continue to see IT as a strategic investment. Analysts at IDC agree: they expect 70% of SMBs to “significantly” increase their IT spending by 2026.
And businesses have more options than even just a few years ago, especially with communications technology and cloud-based infrastructure that allows employees to work any time, anywhere.
The State of the CIO report backs this up: it ranks strengthening IT and business collaboration, improving the customer experience, digital transformation and revenue growth all in the top five priorities for IT leaders.
But now is also a good time to take stock of IT hardware. During the Covid-19 pandemic, many businesses rushed to source equipment so that staff could work from home. But often these consumer tablets and laptops were sourced in a hurry and lacked essential business features.
Up to date, business focused devices, however, offer features such as robust designs, high performance processors, built-in security, and even AI-based noise cancelling for video calls.
These are features that business-oriented manufacturers such as ASUS say are now a higher priority for CIOs.
“We are seeing firms being a lot more open to new technology,” says Nick Vora, UK End User Director at ASUS. “We’ve seen a bit of a reset. Rather than trying to be very closed, and saying this is the way we do things, they are saying let’s investigate what is out there.”
Technology to beat tough times
The way businesses source technology has also changed. Rather than large, up-front investments in servers and networking, firms are using cloud services to replace fixed IT hardware. Often, this is on a pay-as-you-go model.
Those savings can be ploughed back into more powerful equipment that is fit for purpose for all types of workers. According to ASUS, workers with a second screen are 40% more productive than those who use just one, and portable monitors, that can be used on the road, are increasingly popular with mobile professionals.
“The whole idea of investing is to drive the business forward, and mobile computing does make businesses more agile,” says Vora. “Straight off the bat they can be anywhere, they can be closer to their customers if they are on the road, and that really does help.”
As Vora points out, there are SMEs and startups that now run their technology entirely in the cloud, making smart use of both software as a service and infrastructure as a service. Cloud architecture offers smaller businesses better resilience and business continuity, as well as flexibility.
Businesses are increasingly able to mix cloud technologies from different vendors, to give the right balance of features and cost.
“They are increasingly flexible and agile when it comes to new technology, and are not just tied to one vendor,” says Vora. “You can scale up very quickly, in some cases you can scale down, or even flex up for just a short period,” he adds.
In turn, this frees up funds to invest in areas such as more powerful and more secure personal technology.
The latest generation of business PCs provide security features that increase confidence, especially when working away from the office, at clients’ premises, from home, or on the road.
This includes built-in security, for example with Intel vPro processors, and remote configuration and management, including “one push” set up for new devices.
“We know that it costs money for businesses when they can’t serve their customers,” says Vora. “We’re seeing technologies like one-tap enrolment and zero-touch enrolment being more widely used. It allows a business to be confident that if a device goes out that has been enrolled, it is ready for them to work straight away.”
The ASUS business laptop range is aligned to the evolving world of work, where work-from-anywhere and reacting to change can be the key to success.
Features include portability-friendly design – such as lightness and durability – for those people who work on the move.
Meanwhile the ASUS Control Center provides critical fleet monitoring capabilities which reduces the burden on IT teams often struggling to manage devices across a distributed workforce.
All this allows firms to deploy new equipment more quickly, as well as to ensure that security and privacy policies are followed and devices are kept up to date, even for employees who work away from a conventional office.
This gives businesses more confidence that their data is secure and makes remote workers more productive.
“You need to be able to lock your machine down, but also potentially recover it or delete all the data,” says Vora. “But people are making sure they have that mobile solution: they are flexing their working week, they are not always in the office.”
Find out more on the ASUS Business website.