'With the economic conditions that we're facing, companies are bracing themselves for another reality'
Improving productivity will be a big business focus for many Canadian employers in 2023 — moreso than growing revenue, according to a report from Capterra.
With productivity (38 per cent) eclipsing growing revenue (37 per cent) ever so slightly, this speaks about the reality that companies are preparing to face next year, says Tessa Anaya, content analyst at Capterra’s parent company Gartner.
“Just over a third said that the economy's growth rate was the biggest factor that’s shaping their business goals. That means that companies are watching this possible incoming recession and making business goals for the next year based on that,” she says.
And how will employers do that? Investing in technology is one priority, finds Capterra’s survey of 261 companies in Canada, conducted in October 2022.
More than half (56 per cent) plan to spend between 10 per cent and 20 per cent more on technology and software in 2023, and 12 per cent are looking to spend 21 per cent or more than their 2022 spend. About a quarter (26 per cent) are looking to spend about the same amount.
“Businesses have realized the potential of tools and technology, and leveraging those when they might not win, [when] they might be short of supplies of other things like employees. So I think that they've just really realized the benefit if you're using tech solutions,” says Anaya.
Supply chain management or enterprise resource planning (ERP) will be the top technology investment for companies in 2023, according to the report.
Reducing cost, simplifying work and rapid growth were some of the reasons given by those whose organizations have plans to invest in HR software in the next 12 months, according to a previous report.
Cybersecurity top priority
Companies are also putting focus on cybersecurity (43 per cent), according to Capterra’s study. That’s a bigger priority compared to sales management or customer relationship management (41 per cent), IT management (37 per cent), human resources or learning management systems (36 per cent) and retail management, ecommerce or point of sale (34 per cent).
“Not only is it a top priority for 2023, but cybersecurity is one of the top software categories that has been invested in since the start of the pandemic,” says Anaya.
In 2021, just under one-fifth (18 per cent) of Canadian businesses were impacted by cyber security incidents, compared with 21 per cent of Canadian businesses in both 2019 and 2017 that were impacted, according to Statistics Canada.
Citing previous Capterra surveys, she notes that 42 per cent of business leaders adopted cybersecurity technology at the beginning of the pandemic, and “have considered it now a permanent part of their technology arsenal”.
“That means they're not going to replace these tools, they are not going to get rid of these tools, that wasn't a temporary solution. They realized the need for cybersecurity. And as the workplace becomes more and more digital, as they invest in these new areas where they haven't necessarily expanded before, they know that cybersecurity is going to be that permanent protection that they need as they continue developing.”
Just over a third (34 per cent) of employees express little-to-no concern about data theft at work, and 16 per cent believe they can't be targeted at all by cyber criminals, according to a separate study from Terranova Security.
That’s the case even though attacks on web applications rose by 800 per cent in the first six months of 2020 compared to the same period last year, according to a separate report. And nearly nine in 10 (86 per cent) of tech leaders suffered a cybersecurity breach in the last 12 months, according to a study released in June.
Human side of tech
“The workplace is becoming more and more tech-based,” says Anaya. “We are working in digital environments.”
But employers must be cautious, she says.
“Whether it's HR or business development, regardless of the department, people have to be aware of the toll and the effects that that has on employees. You don't want them burned out. You don't want them to feel isolated. You don't want them to feel overwrought by tech that they don't understand.
“You want them to also feel valued and prioritized as an individual. And when you're implementing new tech, the two areas you have to focus on most is making sure they're not overloaded by all the tech processes, and that they're also prioritized within the implementation.”