Spending Wisely: How SMEs can future-proof their tech investments

Jack Gill

24 Feb 2022 · 6 mins read

Spending Wisely: How SMEs can future-proof their tech investments

Over the next 12 months, software spending is expected to rise as businesses invest in their future. SMEs, particularly, recognise that in order to compete effectively — and to recruit the best employees — they must invest in innovative software.

These facts are corroborated in our recent whitepaper — The State of Technology in SMEs: How to Compete in Post Pandemic Recovery — which surveyed over 500 SME executives to learn about the tools that they use to manage key business operations, as well as their current concerns and future goals.

One key finding was that SMEs are becoming more aware of the value that technology can bring to their business. For example, 89% of those surveyed said that they have spent between £1,000 and £10,000 on their applications in the past year, whilst only 6% have spent nothing. 

This article evaluates the current state of SME spending, with reference to findings from our whitepaper, and outlines some of the traits to look for that will help SMEs to “future-proof” their investments. 

Future-proof your tech

“Future-proof” refers to a product or system that is unlikely to become obsolete. The act of making something future-proof means that your technology should be equipped to support future objectives as well as enhancing present operations.

Renowned author and futurist Jack Uldrich defines a future-proof leader as “someone who takes the time to become aware of how fast the world is changing [and is] aware of various trends that might affect his or her business”.

Applied to SMEs, we can see from our whitepaper that businesses are eager to invest in themselves as pandemic restrictions loosen and work on rebuilding the economy begins, with 73% planning at least some growth. 

Furthermore, over a quarter (28%) are expecting to increase software spend by 76-100% over the coming year — a further testament to the future-focused decisions that executives are making. 🤑

It’s equally vital that this investment be targeted on supporting future priorities just as much as it is on improving current processes. Ensuring that this criteria is met is the key to future-proofing tech investments. 

Eager to innovate

Both our whitepaper and associated research show that some of the main priorities for SMEs concern hybrid working, improving processes and data management. 💡

For example, our findings outline the importance of secure data management, with SMEs being particularly focused on: the security of stored data (38%); the safety of cloud-stored data (29%); and the accessibility of stored data across teams whenever it is needed (30%). 

With nearly three-fifths (58%) of UK firms admitting that they could have done more to prepare for the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s clear that the businesses are eager to innovate and adapt their operations in preparation for any future crises. 

Hybrid working hardware 

Perhaps the most lasting effect that the pandemic has brought businesses is remote working. In fact, less than 30% of businesses expect to have their employees fully back at the office by 2023. 

A recent paper by Vodafone and Deloitte also reveals that 39% of SMEs see new technology that can support remote working as a significant effect of the pandemic.

SMEs should be supplying employees with devices that will allow them to carry out their duties wherever they may be. A recent survey by Dell shows the investment in this area is already strong, with 91% of SMEs purchasing laptops and a further 77% investing in tablets and mobile devices. 

Accessories such as headphones and webcams should also be valued as businesses tip the scales of virtual and in-person meetings. Implementing this hardware will set the foundations for a secure and flexible workforce moving forward with your operations. 🎧

Cloud-based services 

SMEs should seek cloud-based services that will allow data to be accessible regardless of location. Cloud-based software is a growing priority for businesses looking to improve data management. 

SWZD’s The 2021 State of IT report shows that cloud service spending has increased by 3% over the past two years, which further highlights the importance of this software in the market. 

SMEs, particularly, benefit from cloud-based services, which allow them to compete with larger organisations through the ability to securely manage large amounts of their data. 

It is advised that SMEs seek out platforms that are cloud-based and can provide the appropriate infrastructure for mass collaboration and data sharing. Investing in such a platform will be highly advantageous to operations, both now and in the future. 

Digitalising processes 

At a time where digital disruption is rife, finding a competitive advantage is more important than ever in the small- to mid- sized market. 🏅

SMEs with limited R&D resources could benefit from integrating data, software, and essential processes into their networks. Integration helps SMEs solve problems more efficiently and use fewer resources, while also allowing companies to be more cost-effective and innovative.

Some resounding advice for SMEs would be to substantially invest in the digitisation of business-critical tasks, so that they may establish seamless workflows and processes in the future. 

For every investment, ask yourself; does this service provide my organisation with a centralised hub of data - a ‘single source of truth’ for employees?

Using Gridfox to support current and future projects

So far we’ve shown that SMEs require digital tools that are flexible, innovative and accessible. In a sea of potential solutions (and investments), no-code tools are quickly becoming the most lucrative catch. 🎣

Gridfox more than satisfies SMEs’ requirements in the way that it enables anyone to build and share web and mobile apps, without coding experience. As an intuitive and secure online database platform, Gridfox offers lasting benefits for SMEs looking for a competitive advantage in today’s market. 

For one, the platform is cloud-based which means that employees can access data anytime and any place. Unlike spreadsheets, Gridfox allows you to securely store information with cloud-based backups while also offering audit trails for full traceability on any change made on a project.

No-code tools also save development time since they can be developed by anyone. This accessibility reduces a lot of the recruitment stress that surrounds the technical skills gap. Recent research from Tech Nation revealed that the demand for tech roles has increased by a significant 40% over the past two years. 

Against this landscape, SMEs using no-code tools are less required to outsource talent, which will save them valuable time and resources. With a little training, existing employees can create a powerful application that automates working processes.

Investing in a no-code solution like Gridfox enables SMEs to not only enhance their operations in the long run, but also to streamline procedures, like recruiting and customer relationships. Equipped with a catalogue of templates, users can begin tracking data related to a wide range of tasks such as tracking applicants and onboarding new starters to planning projects and monitoring customer relationships.  

Want to find out more? Get started today for free here.

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