2023 saw a downturn in the tech industry that included disconcerting layoffs and companies going under. As we approach 2024, companies are looking for ways to increase efficiency, do more with less, and overcome struggles under the current market conditions. While things are looking up for Q3 and Q4, it’s essential that businesses find ways to maintain their foothold during Q1 and Q2, and prioritize being ready when the market shifts again.
Consolidation of Resources
One way that businesses will be able to do more with less is by scaling back to essential services and maximizing the skills that already exist within their team. This will translate into consolidating third-party vendor relationships and bringing services under one roof as much as possible to save money.
Small & medium-sized organizations (SMEs) will increasingly benefit from bringing in fractional expertise – part-time experts in finance, marketing, legal, engineering, and technology. As the economy becomes more globalized, even small companies experience the need for high-level expertise in navigating complexity. However, they don’t always need full-time, expensive employees. Fractional experts can provide the support and structure for a team to be established or level-up, while still providing the flexibility to scale up or down with demand.
Many forward-thinking companies have dipped their toes into the water of Generative AI, and seen the potential there. But few have found ways to bring that tech into production in a meaningful way. That will change in 2024 as more user-friendly AI tools are developed and companies find ways to incorporate the tech into their operations. Leaders in adopting AI and digital transformation will begin to realize returns on their investments.
There is an order of operations when adopting AI to produce the best chance of success and maximize ROI. First, in order to meaningfully invest in AI, organizations must address common challenges. Simply getting these items out in the open where the organization can reason about them often reveals easy changes to improve operational efficiency. Organizations that skip this step and go directly to AI investment will continue to operate in “the big ball of mud” mode - a phrase borrowed from software architecture that describes non-structured, sloppy, and fragile organization.
Once an AI investment is made, it takes time for organizations to realize improvements. For example, using Generative AI to draft content should result in an immediate uptick in the amount of content created. However, the meaningful result for the organization is increased effectiveness in marketing campaigns, which may take months to realize. Then, additional time to see increased sales leads and ultimately recognize increased revenues. Organizations that most successfully adopt AI will be those that have the patience and foresight to do their homework ahead of time, and see the project through.
The trend of companies moving from legacy, in-house tech stacks over to cloud was a hallmark of the pandemic years, and shortly thereafter. 2023 saw a slowdown in cloud migration and the beginning of what will be taking center-stage in 2024 – cloud-based businesses will be allocating tech budgets to modernize operations. Cloud-based software will be integrated and enhanced with automation and AI to help companies pick up efficiency and lower costs. Now that legacy systems have been updated to cloud, it’s a short leap for companies to adopt modern applications, automate tasks, and consolidate systems and workflows.
Action Items for Growth
Attaining growth and gaining a competitive edge in 2024 will require smart decision making and adaptability. The good news is that, with challenges, come opportunities for organizations to pull ahead of the pack. Areas of improvement that the most innovative companies will be focused on include:
Staying Open: The constant sophistication of AI means that new tech is coming down the pipe at a break-neck pace. It can be tempting to watch from the sidelines with a “see what happens” attitude, but those who stay engaged are the ones whose enterprises will grow with the technology. Use this checklist to be prepared to take advantage of new opportunities.
Invest in Security: Like any fast-moving tech, AI comes with its own set of vulnerabilities when it’s not managed properly. Be sure to work with a software developer who understands the ins and outs of AI to minimize risk, and consult with cybersecurity experts to ensure your infrastructure is meeting best practices.
Focus on the User Experience: When developing software, hardware, apps, or integrating new tech, prioritize the user experience to protect your investment. User-centric design and seamless integration drive adoption, and can set your products or services apart in a competitive market.
Diversify Your Skill Set: As the market evolves, so should your business. Allowing your product and/or service offerings to grow and change to meet consumers where they are at is a way to future-proof your business and maintain relevance. As always, be sure to include expert consultation on new systems.
Download our eBook, “Showing Up for the AI Revolution,” to learn more about the future of tech, and where we’re at in its evolution.