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2023 trends: what’s next for businesses?

Sebastian Reeve, Director, Strategy and Business Development at Nuance
“For businesses across all sectors, our current period of economic volatility and the longer lasting impacts of the pandemic are increasing the pressure to keep costs down. There’s also a growing desire from customers, shareholders, and regulators to use fewer resources and reduce environmental impact. In fact, for today’s business leaders, “do more with less” has two meanings: save money and operate sustainably.
“This is why, in 2023, we’ll see businesses focus on doing more with less in three key technology areas: automation, cloud, and digital. Organisations will need to look for ways to connect channels and prevent fraud whilst still providing a frictionless experience and meeting ever-moving sustainability goalposts. They will invest in technologies that enable them to automate as many customer interactions as possible, eliminate on premise operating costs, conserve resources and create personalised experiences.”
Andrew Filev, CEO and founder of Wrike
“The digital tools that got organisations through the pandemic won’t get them through a recession. Gartner predicts worldwide IT spending will total $4.6 trillion in 2023, an increase of 5.1% from 2022. This may seem counterintuitive if we look at the number of productivity tools that organisations have introduced over the last few years, but the reality is that many of these tools offer short term value. IT teams need to look for robust solutions that are not only cost-effective, easy to use, and get teams going upon sign-in, but ones that are more powerful and increase productivity across the organisation. This can come in the form of integrations, AI, and automation technologies that allow the solution to grow with their teams. Wrike predicts that 85% of organisations will make it a top-three priority to invest in and implement a solution that provides greater visibility across business functions.”
John Phillips, General Manager at Zuora
 
“It’s no secret that the past couple of years have been challenging for us all. 2022 kicked off a particularly tough year for the economy, from demand-supply to labour costs and inflationary pressures. As we head in 2023, it appears that these challenges are likely to continue and be compounded – with an economic downturn looming.
 
“With challenging times ahead, business leaders must focus on where they can provide the most value to customers, while still lowering costs. As we hear more and more talk of an upcoming recession, leaders can use this opportunity to move faster on changes that drive efficiency and build resiliency.
 
“To get ahead of the curve, building long-term strategies that protect revenue, jobs and customer satisfaction will be key. As we look towards next year, we’ll see more investment in recurring revenue models as predictability will emerge as a core value proposition for businesses navigating market uncertainty.”
 
Sridhar Mullapudi, General Manager of Citrix
“Businesses are in a state of flux, and CIOs are right at the centre. They are expected to be agents of change, but are still caught up with legacy infrastructure and transformation projects. Additionally, they must play a key role in navigating the current talent crisis, both by providing tools to maximise employee productivity and by leading automation projects. 
“As we move into 2023, we can expect to see a shift away from the ‘traditional’ CIO role and towards a more ‘transitional’ role – one in which CIOs are responsible for defining and refining workplace technology and driving business strategy. As part of this, CIOs will become increasingly dominate when it comes to organisational budgets and operations. In fact, according to recent research, in the majority of businesses (67%) the CIO is already second only to the CEO in terms of shaping and delivering strategy. This is because in the new world of work, the CIO is positioned better than anyone else to visualise, explain, and enact holistic change across a business. 
“Next year, the most effective CIOs will adapt to their role as change agents, developing new skills whilst focusing on the needs of their organisation’s employees. This new breed of CIO will be people-centric but also a driver of automation. They will need to be integrated into the fabric of a business like never before in order to make lasting and meaningful change.”
Charles Southwood, Regional VP, N.Europe & MEA at Denodo
“The last 12 months have once again proved that the future is never certain. From the war in the Ukraine to the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, businesses have faced a fresh set of challenges. With the economic turbulence set to continue for some time, managing risk and remaining agile will be a priority for all as we enter into 2023. 
Whilst business leaders cannot control all the external factors impacting their business – such as inflation or the price of utilities – they can control their response. Being able to access the right data at the right time could help to give them a valuable advantage and remain agile during one of the toughest periods in modern history. 
However, becoming data driven is not always easy. The rapid growth in data creation in recent years has brought with it greater complexity, especially when it comes to the challenges associated with aggregating insights from different sources. In fact, Denodo’s most recent Cloud Survey discovered that nearly four in five businesses (79%) cite complexity of data integration, data accessibility and accommodating different data formats as the primary barrier to becoming data driven. 
Next year, businesses across all sectors will focus in on how they can make the most of their data. They will invest in the architectures – like data mesh – and modern technologies – like data virtualisation – which will enable them to obtain valuable insights and remain productive and profitable during times of uncertainty.” 
Matt Tuson, GM EMEA at LogicMonitor
 
“In 2023, I expect we’ll see a shift from digital transformation to digital optimisation. The pandemic forced most businesses to accelerate their digital transformation plans, however, next year we’ll likely see a revision of these plans in order to trim costs.
 
“Focus will be on optimisation rather than innovation, with organisations looking to shop their wardrobe and make the most of their existing IT infrastructure, while still allowing for necessary purchases that will provide both long-term and short-term benefits.
“Undertaking a thorough assessment of the existing IT infrastructure is the key building block to any successful digital transformation journey and this is where digital optimisation comes in. IT teams will be under immense pressure next year to prove the value of the products and services they use and will likely be at the receiving end of increased scrutiny from the CFO as well as the rest of the C-Suite. IT teams must be able to clearly demonstrate the value of the tech stack to the business and how it aligns with their digital transformation journeys. They’ll also need to know how it compares with competitor products in the market in terms of functionality and cost relative to this, to show they’ve done their due diligence.
 
“Resilience is the enabler of growth. With a challenging year ahead, organisations will be prioritising safeguarding their business and the IT infrastructure plays a huge role in this. Business leaders will be less tempted by bells and whistles, but will look for solutions that complement and support their existing infrastructure.”
 
Eimear Gunn, UKI Digital Workplace Services (DWS) Practice Leader at Kyndryl
“Businesses around the world are about to enter a period of rewiring quite unlike anything we’ve seen in recent decades. The suddenness and sweepingness of the priorities realignment that the pandemic triggered means that, going into what is likely to be a significant global recession, businesses sit at a decision-making crossroads around how they rebuild themselves into a stronger, more inclusive, more resilient form.
“Major shifts certainly happened in the decades prior to the pandemic – not least the emergence of endemic information technology – but there was a sense that we could continuously build on our recently-laid foundations to find new growth. Now, amidst the macro pressures of geopolitics, supply chain shifts, and energy scarcity, alongside changing consumer behaviour and a deepening skills shortage, a more incisive change is called for.
“As we make that leap, we will also need ways of measuring and demonstrating success which are fit for purpose. That’s why I think that the employee experience will come further into the spotlight this year as a marker of business success. As we create more efficient, flexible technology infrastructure, it is employees who will know first whether tools and platforms are succeeding.
“As we upskill and reskill workforces, it is the workforce that will know first whether we are closing the gap on meeting customer needs. And, in a more connected, more aware, more ethically committed world, it is employees who will know first whether growth-seeking business initiatives are also delivering for workers, communities, and the planet.”
Keath Nealon, CEO of Bazaarvoice
“While retail is no longer ruled by COVID, it certainly prepared businesses for the recessionary pressure they’re feeling today. When the lockdowns were still a new thing, many companies in the B2B sector panicked, then paused to take stock of how they were going to survive. This caused a significant rise in mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity, especially in the technology sector. Now, similar situations are happening in board rooms due to the economy. Last year, Gartner predicted that global M&A activity involving technology providers in 2022 would exceed the previous highs of 2018 and more recent projections by Nasdaq support these predictions – with the end of the year approaching, we will see if that comes to be true.
Even with talks of a recession, I expect to see continued activity in M&A market over the next year at least, with many B2B corporations looking to scale and many smaller businesses looking for the support that larger businesses’ balance sheets will provide. And even with smaller budgets, I believe private equity firms will continue to significantly contribute to M&A as well. In 2021, Morgan Stanley reports, “sponsor-backed transactions comprised 32% of global M&A volume, surpassing the prior record of 26% in 2020.” I bet that number will be even higher at the end of 2022. Customers want vendor consolidation and will pay for that if it drives differentiated value, plus, it makes business operations easier and can significantly boost financial performance. It’s not only good for clients, but also for vendors who are looking to consolidate their platforms because it results in differentiated, more meaningful and long-lasting relationships with brands and retailers.”
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