The MIDMRKT CIO Forum is an opportunity for IT leaders to discuss the challenges and successes they’ve had in their current positions. One format that helps attendees build relationships and gain peer insights is the roundtable discussion, which happens on day one and day two of the Forum. Securing Budget for Emerging Technologies is among the topics being discussed this Fall. 

For midmarket companies, prioritizing expenditures is difficult with limited resources, especially when organizations pay such close attention to the return on investment of every dollar. Recognizing that emerging technologies will increase their productivity, many midmarket companies focus their IT investments on upgrading outdated infrastructure, and turning to cloud computing and cybersecurity.

Upgrading outdated infrastructure

Recently ranked as the No. 1 IT spending priority, upgrading outdated infrastructure has its cheerleaders and detractors.

On the one hand, your company may decide to set a budget for emerging technologies, but many of the technologies cannot run on older platforms. On the other hand, your company doesn’t want to lose its legacy information or capabilities by a drastic shift to a new infrastructure. Initial cash outlay, employee training and the lag time between familiarity with the old system and efficiency with the new one factor into your budget.

Many midmarket industries find that striking a middle ground is the best option. Upgrade those systems that require newer infrastructure to increase profitability while retaining aspects of the old familiar system. Your company may even find that the two systems can coexist for different functionalities, saving training time and software investment dollars.

Cloud computing

A 2018 study ranks cloud computing as the second-most influential technology with regards to a company’s workforce. The same study ranks it as the third-most influential in terms of a company’s customers.

With respect to the workforce, companies report a 38% decrease in costs when migrating to the cloud. Improvements in software releases, increased automation and infrastructure reliability lead to increased savings and workforce productivity.

With respect to a company’s customers, cloud computing offers myriad technological advancements, from hosting complex, yet easy-to-design websites to enhancing customer mobile experience. For retailers, mobility translates into revenue. In 2019, millennials purchased 60% of their items online, using a mobile device for 36% of them.

Cybersecurity

Although emerging technologies are definitely on the agenda for most midmarket businesses, the looming threat of cybersecurity issues remains.

Data breaches at larger companies such as Target or Facebook grab most of the headlines, but cybervillains are turning their attention to midmarket companies. Cybersecurity at such companies tends to be less robust than at their larger counterparts. Employee training also often falls short of the measure in smaller companies, leading to many of the cyberattacks beginning as phishing expeditions.

Unfortunately, one well-timed attack can put a midmarket company out of business. Cisco estimates that the average cyberattack costs a midsize company in excess of $500,000. Most of those businesses don’t have such a large cushion built into their budgets. Even if your company could afford the financial burden, the damage to your reputation may be irreparable.

As a result, midmarket businesses show an increase in spending on cybersecurity insurance, risk assessment, backup systems and other preventative measures.

Upgrading outdated infrastructure and moving to the cloud are worthwhile only if the proper investment in cybersecurity is also worked into the budget. Risk is a part of any great industry disrupter, and the internet of things is no exception. Every midmarket company must set a budget for emerging technologies that includes the upside and the downside of technology.
Join us for more discussion at the MIDMRKT CIO Forum on October 27th – 29th in Tucson, AZ!