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Object First 2023 Predictions: A New Era of Improvement for Tech

vmblog-predictions-2023 

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2023.  Read them in this 15th annual VMblog.com series exclusive.

2023: A New Era of Improvement for Tech

By David Bennett, CEO of Object First

It's been a turbulent year for businesses - from the Great Resignation to mass layoffs in the tech industry. Additionally, organizations have been put to the test in terms of their data protection as ransomware keeps evolving and expanding its reach. In both situations, 2023 is an opportunity for leadership to learn from 2022's struggles and start its new era.

TECH SECTOR LAYOFFS WILL HAVE A NEGATIVE IMPACT IN 2023 

Layoffs in the tech sector have been abundant in the latter half of 2022 with many CEOs citing financial concerns over a rumored recession. According to David Bennett, CEO of tech startup Object First, jumping headfirst into layoffs might help the bottom line a little bit in the immediate future, but could have negative lasting impacts - including damaging innovation and market perception.  

Any layoffs for any reason are always challenging and tough, and as business leaders, we must be mindful of the impact layoffs has across all levels in the organization. It's far too easy to make a knee-jerk action based on a spreadsheet financial model. Leaders need to consider what factors will be affected, outside of just the financial need. Ask yourself, does this change impact our ability to provide a service or support to customers? Will mass layoffs change our product roadmap or negatively impact the business? Will this damage our market perception? The long-term effects of these decisions may not be apparent right away.  

Considering layoffs to make an immediate financial change should be a last resort. Before making that life-altering decision for your employees and potentially impacting the operational capability of the company, consider other options such as trimming the "nice to have" perks, pause on non-essential travel and overtime, and while it will still affect employees negatively, it's better than layoffs: consider a financial freeze on bonuses and raises. With any of these options, be honest with your teams ask them for cost saving ideas for the business - at my prior company we saved the company over $1m just based on suggestions from our employees! By openly engaging the teams, they will trust the outcomes for the business.

THE FUTURE OF WORK: WHY DRIVING EMPLOYEES BACK TO THE OFFICE WON'T WORK 

Slack's Future Forum survey of 10K workers found 3 out of 4 senior executives want to go back to the office while only 1 out of 3 employees want to go back. For the last couple of years, leadership has been debating over decisions to keep their workforce remote, require them back into the office, or offer a hybrid option. And more often than not, what the executive team wants rarely matches what employees want. According to Bennett, these ideas can help bridge the gap between the C-Suite and employees.   

Corporate America (and maybe the world) needs to wake up and adopt and enable flexible working solutions. I get it, your business signed a big lease for a nice new shiny office six months before COVID, you're financially burdened with this and yet, your employees don't want to spend an hour commuting each day, so you feel you need to "drive people back in the office" - I say that is total nonsense.  

What leaders should focus on is the output of your teams, how can we help improve their productivity and creativity, empower them to bring their best every day, and proudly operate within the modern working lives of our people and teams. 

The biggest question the C-suite should be asking themselves is: how do I attract and retain the best and brightest people in the industry? First, location should be irrelevant. Employees have proven they can work together and collaborate with colleagues coast-to-coast. Additionally, this opens the candidate pool for recruitment. Second, matching the company's values with what matters most to your workforce is essential - employees want to be a part of a movement and now more than ever, they care about what the company stands for. As we embrace the future of work, this will either be a great time for employers to find top talent, or it will be a wakeup call for organizations who keep fighting change.  

Oh, and that shiny new office - figure out how it can be leveraged.... Just not full time! 

RANSOMWARE: IT'S NOT "IF" BUT "WHEN" 

Ransomware attacks have expanded over the last couple of years and it's very likely to continue its metamorphosis in 2023. The narrative needs to change around ransomware - first, preventing ransomware 100% is not feasible. Second, it's not a matter of "if" you'll be the victim of an attack, it's "when." 

Leaders need to understand that data protection is not just IT's problem, it's a company problem and a company solution. It's not a matter of "if" your company will be impacted by a breach or ransomware, it's when.  

The questions leaders need to ask their teams are: Can we recover our data in the event of an attack? Then how long would the company last if the recovery window lasts longer than a few hours? What's our procedure in the event of an attack? When was the last time we tested our recovery process? Assuming the answer to the first question is, "Yes you can actually recover" (you'll need to perform regular disaster recovery tests to actually prove you can!) then you should aim to cut the recovery window timing in half. Meaning if you think your company can last 4 days (before it either runs out of cash, you can't collect cash, or cannot service and support your customers), the goal is to get back up and running in two days or less.  

Similar to situations where you're shopping for data protection vendors, don't just take their word for it! Prove it or lose it - ask for third-party validation from their customers and real-world cases. 

The start of a new year is the start of many opportunities to be a stronger workforce and build stronger security, inside and out. It's time for us as leaders to learn from the past and surge forward into a new era.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

david-bennett 

As Object First's CEO, David Bennett is a tech veteran and a seasoned channel executive with more than 30 years of IT channel leadership. Before joining Object First, he was CEO of Axcient and Chief revenue Officer at Webroot. Bennett has also held international leadership roles within such companies as Lenovo, Sony, and Kingston. British born, and now residing in Colorado with his wife and family.

Published Wednesday, November 23, 2022 8:03 AM by David Marshall
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