Small businesses across all industries in Canada are facing many challenges as a result of COVID-19. Among small businesses that were able to survive through these tough times, each one has their own unique set of roadblocks they have had to overcome that have affected their plans for the future. While lockdowns forced many businesses to shift to a digitized and remote workforce, businesses without the necessary IT infrastructure in place were not given that option – or had to rapidly pivot to provide employees with the necessary tools.
Technology can help small business owners solve problems and achieve greater efficiency, especially during a pandemic, but not all small business owners have been able to leverage these tools. CDW Canada recently conducted a survey that looked at how small businesses owners and employees have managed to work through the pandemic and what their concerns are as they adjust to the new normal.
How Small Businesses Plan to Adapt To The New Normal
Employees need proper IT tools in place to be able to collaborate with one another remotely as well as to have secure access to the business resources needed to get their work done. This is especially true as we found 18 percent of respondents will or have fully pivoted their business model to online. To make this move successful, small businesses will need to continue investing in tools. Fortunately, nearly one quarter (22 percent) will continue to optimize their cybersecurity while 19 percent will continue to optimize their cloud.
A long-term hybrid office/work environment is expected in the post-pandemic world as businesses of all sizes adapt to our new normal. According to our survey, one quarter (25 percent) of small businesses will move forward with a mix of in-office and remote work, compared to nearly one third (30 percent) who will continue to work entirely remote. Considering many small businesses were not prepared for a remote workforce, these numbers indicate that many small business owners understand the importance of proper IT infrastructure in order to ensure business continuity, and they are making changes to address this. Our survey found that nearly one quarter (23 percent) indicated the pandemic shifted their planned IT investments, but the cost will not change.
Investment in Collaboration Tools
The majority of small businesses that did invest in IT focused on a variety of tools. For instance, 35 percent of respondents indicated that they invested in collaboration solutions, like Zoom and Microsoft Teams, allowing employees to easily communicate with one another, while 23 percent said they invested in endpoint solutions such as laptops and webcams. Collaboration platforms and having up-to-date technology is important to any small business because it enables teams to get their work done digitally and efficiently, regardless of location. This can also help to maintain a sense of normalcy among those that are used to working with one another in person. In addition to collaboration solutions, 22 percent of small businesses stated they invested in employee-focused tools such as Office 365, while 20 percent invested in security software such as email and antivirus. Both of these IT solutions are important to any business conducting their work online to ensure data privacy and security, especially if their team is relying on remote networks.
As we move forward through the pandemic, small businesses will need to be more resilient than ever. Between ever-evolving cyber risks and ongoing business continuity challenges, proper IT resources and infrastructure have never been more important for businesses of all sizes.
We understand that part of the battle can be knowing where to start, and CDW Canada is here to help small businesses along their IT solutions journey. To connect with one of our small business experts, please visit cdw.ca/smallbusiness.