Over 30,000 technology news stories will be published in 2023. Luckily, you don't need to read them all to keep up, as many stories form part of a wider trend. Here are 23 important trends likely to be relevant to UK-based IT decision makers in 2023:
UK Broadband's Gigabit Upgrade
Full-fibre gigabit broadband availability will grow from 45% of UK sites to circa 60% as BT's infrastructure subsidiary Openreach rolls out FTTP, alternative networks such as CityFibre build their own fibre networks, and Virgin Media continues its switch from Hybrid Fibre Coax (HFC) to Radio Frequency over Glass (RFoG).
Implication for IT: Staff working from home will find they're able to switch to faster, more reliable connections by ditching ADSL and FTTC in favour of FTTP. Offices with FTTC broadband as their backup connection may be able to upgrade to something faster.
hSo can provide your firm with FTTP connections via the Openreach network.
Hosting Costs Rise
Electricity prices have shot up massively as a result of the Russia/Ukraine war. The Government has temporarily protected UK businesses from some of these rises. However, the current £18bn subsidy for non-domestic energy users will be cut by over two-thirds from April 2023. The electricity price cap will be replaced with a price cut. As a result, UK organisations are likely to see their server hosting, colocation and cloud hosting costs climb as providers seek to recoup surging energy costs.
Implication for IT: Consider locking in current hosting prices with 12-month or 24-month contracts. The hosting price deflation you might ordinarily expect has gone into reverse, so fixing your hosting costs make sense.
UK Economy Treads Water Slowing IT Expenditure Growth
As 2023 begins, consumers are tightening their belts, making businesses nervous. Some IT budgets will be frozen until there's greater clarity over how customers are responding to economic pressures.
Implication for IT: Your IT budget may not increase this year and some IT projects might be delayed until there's greater economic certainty. Expect IT vendors to be more accommodating than usual, for example agreeing to longer free trials. It's worth noting that IT often underpins cost-reduction measures - such as moving to a smaller office after introducing hybrid working
Hybrid Working Persists
Some senior managers may not like their staff working from home part-time, but they don't have a choice. The labour market remains tight and rival employers are offering hybrid working. Even directors that hate employees working from home recognise the potential to cut office costs by moving to a smaller office and having staff work from home part-time.
Implications for IT: Remote Working solutions have gone from a nice-to-have to a key IT deliverable underpinning much organisational activity. You may need to beef up IT Security, however, to minimise data leaks and network intrusion.
hSo can supply corporate VPNs, IP telephony and collaboration software so staff can work productively at home.
Cloud Use Grows by Double Digits
The shift to the cloud is old news, but it's STILL going strong. Workloads continue to shift to the cloud, especially to hyperscale platforms AWS, Azure and Google Cloud. Firms continue to switch from self-hosted apps to software-as-a-service offerings hosted externally, such as Salesforce. Developers continue to develop cloud-native code that uses cloud-hosted API-based services from firms such as SendGrid.
Implications for IT: Outsourcing some IT to cloud providers and SaaS firms is now the norm. Your future employers will expect you to have experience of managing such vendors rather than doing everything in-house.
hSo can help you migrate workloads from on-premises services to hSo's VMware-based cloud and provision private connections into the main public clouds.
Containerisation and Kubernetes Reduce Guest OS Sprawl
To simplify application deployment and scaling, many developers are making use of containerisation, plus container orchestration tools such as Kubernetes.
Implication for IT: Consider whether containerisation could make your life easier. You might have fewer guest OS installations to manage. Fewer virtual machines. More predictable software deployment. Easier scaling. Better uptime in the face of demand spikes.
Enterprise Features Trickle Down to SMEs
Software features that were built to appeal to large, demanding business customers are increasingly being offered to smaller firms at an affordable per-user-per-month price. For example, Microsoft 365 is allowing firms of all sizes to have an Active Directory service (Azure AD) that integrates with app-based multi-factor authentication (MFA). Some Microsoft 365 subscriptions allow firms to remotely wipe company data from employees' devices used for work. Cloud services often add service resilience where once there was none, e.g. switching from a single email server to multiple servers. Fierce competition between software firms is leading to enterprise features being offered to the mass market at affordable prices.
Implication for IT: Even if you work for a small firm, the level of IT services you're able to deliver at reasonable cost will rise. In terms of security, resilience and uptime, you'll be punching above your weight.
hSo is a Microsoft partner, so we can help you take advantage of services such as hosted Exchange, Azure AD, Microsoft Authenticator, Intune (mobile device management), Microsoft Teams and OneDrive.
The IT Security Threat Grows
Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks are growing in size as broadband upgrades allow botnets to generate ever larger volumes of hostile traffic. Generative AI will make phishing emails more personalised and credible. Hacking-as-a-service and ransomware-as-a-service have professionalised the dark side. Ransomware attacks are growing more frequent and more expensive.
Implication for IT: You'll going to need to up your game on IT Security. For example, deploying multi-factor authentication, single sign-on, zero-trust-network access etc.
hSo partners with Fortinet to help you deploy Zero Trust Network Access and Unified Threat Management, among other network security measures. We also offer DDoS prevention measures.
Government Gets Better at IT
For many decades, government bodies often had to make do with clunky, monolithic apps delivered years late at great expense. Thankfully, this is changing. Government is getting far better at procuring, integrating and securing its IT. Good at making use of commodity cloud services, providing APIs for use by partner organisations, and letting end-users and staff interact via intuitive web-based interfaces. Workflows are increasingly digital. Well-thought-out frameworks from Crown Commercial Service and the NHS have improved competition among suppliers without compromising service quality.
Implications for IT: Don't assume your IT career will be exclusively in the private sector or the public sector. The IT gap between the private and public sectors has been rapidly narrowing.
hSo is on the Government's Network Services 2 and G-Cloud 13 frameworks so that it's easy for UK public sector bodies to buy from us. We're one of the providers that can provide access to HSCN - the network underpinning NHS collaboration.
API Use Grows at Non-Technology Firms
The interface between organisations is increasingly non-human, in part because almost every organisation subscribes to hosted services and server-based software that come with APIs. Even organisations that have traditionally not thought of themselves as 'techy' are starting to offer APIs and use the APIs offered by their suppliers.
Implication for IT: Proactively look for ways to use the APIs your software has to minimise data re-entry and unnecessary phone calls. Do the same with your suppliers' apps. Use low-code/no-code tools such as Zapier and Microsoft Power Apps to handle simple integrations. Some apps also have extensions/modules/plug-ins that help you take advantage of supplier APIs without having to code anything.
hSo makes extensive use of APIs to gather wholesale quotes from major UK network operators, allowing us to find the right connection for your site in seconds.
Artificial Intelligence Arrives as Niche Skills in Big-Brand Software
Autocomplete is getting smarter. It can help draft emails, web pages and ads. Expect niche skills, not Terminator-style Artificial General Intelligence. AI will be used by firewalls and networks to block suspicious behaviour.
Implication for IT: Expect the software you get from billion-dollar firms (Microsoft, Adobe, Sage, Salesforce, SAP, Intuit/Mailchimp) to add nice-to-have features powered by AI. There will be a lot of talk this year about ChatGPT and large language models, but that's unlikely to directly impact most of your end-users.
IT Gets Greener
Data centre operators, cloud providers and SaaS providers boost their green credentials, continuing their shift towards carbon neutrality, improved energy efficiency and water efficiency (water is used for cooling in data centres). Power delivered by the energy grid will get greener over the medium term, boosting these efforts. Listed firms, public sector bodies and public sector suppliers will also be under pressure to show they're making themselves greener - putting pressure on IT to play its part.
Implication for IT: Your IT will get greener without you having to do much. Suppliers will be falling over themselves to highlight their services' green credentials.
hSo can help you cut your scope 3 emissions by switching from on-premises servers to our carbon-neutral cloud hosting powered by green electricity. We take lots of measures to minimise our environmental footprint.
Tech Giants Reshore to Cut Dependence on China/Taiwan
Russia invading Ukraine has caused the major powers to reconsider whether China might really invade Taiwan or blockade it. China intentionally flying fighter jets in Taiwanese air space has underlined the risk. This has triggered a response, with America and the EU both agreeing to subsidise local chip fabrication to reduce dependence on Taiwan-based chip plants.
Implications for IT: In the long term, slightly cheaper chips will be subsidised by slightly higher US/EU taxes. This will lead to slightly cheaper mobiles, servers, laptops and networking equipment.
5G (and 4G) Coverage Improves
If you're in a major city, you may assume the UK's 4G and 5G rollouts are complete. Sadly, that's not the case. The roll-out is still going on. 4G will also be coming to the whole of the London Underground by the end of 2024, though individual stations are likely to see coverage arrive in 2023, just as a few got connectivity in 2022.
Implications for IT: More of your staff will be able to switch to 4G/5G mobile broadband if their fixed-line broadband goes down - using their phone as a Wifi hotspot.
hSo can provide mobile broadband as a backup connection option for offices.
On-Premises PBXs Replaced By Cloud-Based Alternatives
UK telecoms firms are steering their customers away from traditional single-tenant on-premises PBXs towards cloud-hosted multi-tenanted alternatives that are easier to support, provision and sell. These usually come with apps for iPhone, Android phones, PCs and Macs - perfect for hybrid workers' use. Telecoms firms are mindful that many traditional PBXs will stop working in December 2025, when ISDN is retired as part of the PSTN switchoff.
Implications for IT: Your next phone system is very likely to be cloud-based unless you're running a contact centre. If you have an old phone system, there are going to be some great deals in 2023-2025 as providers try to grab market share ahead of the PSTN switchoff.
hSo offers a feature-rich cloud-based phone service with apps for iOS, Android, PCs and Macs.
EU Influences Tech Regulation Worldwide
2023 is likely to be another year when the EU's tech regulation efforts continue to have a significant influence outside the EU. Post-Brexit, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) remains in force, having been transposed into UK law. Most of the cookie consent banners spawned by the EU's ePrivacy Directive remain in place. California has copied elements of GDPR into its law, forcing smaller US software firms to implement GDPR-like provisions. In 2023, the EU may shape regulation around how app stores restrict what apps in their store can do. We're also likely to see big tech platforms give undertakings not to abuse their position as platform operators in ways that favour their own services.
Implications for IT: Despite the worldwide shift towards EU-like tech regulation, it's important to take care over where your data is stored and processed. In particular, try to keep your UK customer data in the UK if feasible, so you don't have to abide by multiple data protection regimes. If using SaaS services, your admin control panel may give you the option to switch hosting location, e.g. from the US to the EU or vice versa.
Possible Power Problems in Winter 2023
We were saved from power cuts in Winter 2022 by mild temperatures, demand reduction measures and stockpiling of Russian gas ahead of winter. Next winter, we may not be so lucky.
Implications for IT: Make sure your servers are ready for 3-hour rolling power cuts, i.e. that you host them in a location with UPS devices and backup generators. We're not saying there will be power cuts. We're saying the likelihood of power cuts is sufficiently high that you ought to have a plan for avoiding them.
hSo can host your servers in our data centres, all of which have backup generators capable of powering the facility for far longer than 3 hours.
Mobiles, Tablets and Macs Become Standard Work Tools
Desktop software for enterprise used to mean PC software. The switch to hybrid working and bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies means software vendors have had to rethink this approach. In 2023, you'll find many enterprise software firms are offering apps for iPhones, Android phones, Macs and Tablets in addition to PCs.
Implications for IT: When buying new enterprise software that isn't solely delivered via the web, check app availability across platforms, especially if the software is used by those who work outside of the office some or all of the time.
Online Training Continues to Replace In-Person Employee Training
In-person training will remain for company-specific developments. However, much other training is shifting to online sites. This is especially true for compliance-related learning and technology training. Providers such as Udemy, LinkedIn Learning, Udacity, Skillsoft and Coursera offer a wide variety of courses. You're also spoiled for choice when it comes to IT education: PluralSight, aCloudGuru, Cloud Academy and CBT Nuggets offer training for techies.
Implication for IT: If you want to keep your tech skills up-to-date, online courses are a great way to do it. Your organisation should also be using online training courses, such as those offered by KnowBe4, to improve your end-users' understanding of IT security threats such as phishing, malware and social engineering.
Instant Messaging Displaces Email For Some Work Conversations
Slack and Microsoft Teams brought IRC/AOL-Messenger-style chat back to the enterprise. However, hybrid-working has increased IM use, as asking a coworker a question across the office is no longer as feasible as it once was now that many staff are working from home. You need to offer your users an IM solution or they may make their own arrangements - for example using What's App groups, without your organisation having visibility of what's being said. If you subscribe to Microsoft 365, you're likely paying for Microsoft Teams already, so you might as well use its IM functionality. It can also support voice calls, video calls and team meetings.
Implication for IT: Offer an IM solution, such as Microsoft Teams, and make sure you consider backing up the chat messages, for compliance purposes. You may need to adjust your IT end-user 'computer use' policy to make sure it covers IM.
As a Microsoft partner, hSo can provide licenses that include Microsoft Teams, a leading IM tool that also provides the option of telephony, video calls and video meetings.
IT Becomes a Subscription Not a Purchase
The IT industry continues to pivot its delivery model away from hardware purchases to service subscriptions. It's a shift from single-tenant hardware hosted locally to pre-provisioned multi-tenant platforms running software in the cloud and in web browsers. Typically, this setup increases resilience, reduces provisioning time and improves scalability.
Implication for IT: Take advantage of the new model to properly road-test software you're considering. Switch to buying 'just-in-time.' Scalability is no longer your problem.
hSo's cloud hosting customers benefit from greater scalability and resilience than if we'd sold them a physical server and hosted it. The same goes for our cloud-hosted PBX service. It is more resilient and scalable than a traditional on-premise PBX.
Customers Get a Direct Relationship with Some Software Vendors
The shift away from office-hosted server apps towards cloud-hosted services created by the software vendors means you're more likely to deal with software giants than was the case historically. The role of resellers is shifting towards onboarding, sales and marketing, and away from provisioning and post-sale support. This switch isn't always for the better. Often, software vendors seek to cut support costs by pushing customers towards self-service support tools such as online FAQs, largely unstaffed customer support forums, automated chatbots and offshore support lines.
Implication for IT: On the plus side, this direct relationship will mean you get features more often and faster. On the downside, you may not get the level of support you've come to expect from resellers. It's important to find a reseller that will help you get the solution that's right for your organisation, rather than the one that's most lucrative to the software vendor or their partner.
Passkeys Become Viable Alternative to Some Passwords
2023 will see password alternative 'Passkeys' come to Windows 10/Windows 11, most password managers, Android and iOS.
Implication for IT: If your organisation doesn't yet have a corporate password manager, get one. One that supports passkeys, not just passwords.
hSo Can Help You Make the Most of These Tech Trends
We can help your organisation capitalise on many of these trends.
To find out more, give us a call on 020 7847 4510 or email firstname.lastname@example.org