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What devices do you need to head off the unexpected in 2021?

2021 has already had a rocky start – and compared to 2020 that’s saying a lot. Many hoped that this year would mark a return to normal. Instead it seems we’re in for a continuation of our new normal, complete with unexpected threats and digital acceleration.

Anticipating what’s around the corner may continue to be impossible. Fortunately for small businesses, the market’s near-limitless device options give them an opportunity to respond more nimbly, so long as they select the right ones.

If choosing tech for the year ahead feels like a shot in the dark, follow these guidelines and future proof your business.

Choose devices that are flexible
Numerous lockdowns amid growing health concerns have led to mass remote work over the last year. Thanks to the billions in collective cost savings and notable productivity increases that followed, many employers are considering agile working models like hot desking and hybrid office environments as long term solutions.

As the popularity of flex schedules and location agnostic work models increases, so does the demand for flexible devices. And though laptops may seem like the obvious choice, they’re certainly not the only one.

Convertibles and 2-in-1 tablets are an affordable option that prioritizes portability.

Convertibles and 2-in-1 tablets are affordable options that prioritize portability. Their built-in connectivity and docking options also make them a popular choice for traveling between work and home.

Even desktops have their place. They’re ideal for hot desks, offering more processing power and bigger screens for programs like CAD or performance analytics. Many newer models are more compact than ever, saving space without compromising on performance.

Buy tech to boost your resilience
Uncertainty was the hallmark of 2020. Moving forward, companies who want to insulate themselves from circumstance must make intentional moves to drive value and mitigate volatility. And they must do it digitally.

Digital technologies will constitute an increasingly critical element of business resilience tomorrow.

As BCG explains, the path to business resilience is a digital one. “With almost every organization having to depend on data, analytics, digital tools and automation, digital technologies will constitute an increasingly critical element of business resilience tomorrow.”

Keep collaboration in mind
Collaboration and teamwork have always been essential components of great work. Even with in-person meetings and desk chats on pause, keeping these professional relationships strong is critical. We need each other to do our best work.

While video meetings and cloud-enabled collaboration technology may have started as stand-ins, they’re quickly becoming the norm. 98% of meetings now have at least one employee attending remotely from home– a figure that is predicted to persist post-COVID.

98% of meetings now have at least one employee attending remotely from home.

As schedules become more staggered and the world opens at different rates, having devices that support top-tier collaboration tools will be key to producing top-tier work.

Prioritize security
Many remote employees are working outside the company network for the first time. Cybercriminals have used this opportunity to make targets out of millions simply doing their job.

Spending a little more on your team’s tech now is the best way to prevent costly data and privacy breaches in the future. Search for devices with security features like:

Biometric access (like touch-ID or facial recognition)

Anti-spoofing technology

Data encryption

Secure operating systems

Data wipe features

Data resurrection capabilities

Mobile connectivity for secure data transfers

Multi-profile sign-on abilities

Make cost-effective decisions
Cost-reduction pressures are mounting as businesses brace for another year of unknowns. However, the real money is in cost optimization, not cost-cutting.

How do you spend proactively instead of cutting retroactively? Gartner recommends a three-phase approach:

Improve efficiency. Lean into tactics like simplification and automation.

Increase productivity. Encourage higher-value work, reprioritize projects and outsource where needed.

Shift spend. Eliminate redundancy and waste, renegotiate with suppliers and reallocate funds (e.g. purchasing devices that help you work smarter).

Put simply, you don’t need to anticipate what’s ahead in order to prepare. It’s never too soon to start future proofing. Getting the right devices in place now can insulate your business, no matter what 2021 holds.