A CEO’s 2023 outlook: 5 key insights for the year ahead

Illustration of a man in a suit using a telescope to look at a distant mountaintop with a dotted trail leading up to the peak.The prominent physicist Niels Bohr observed, “Prediction is very difficult, especially if it’s about the future.” As we consider the year ahead, it’s certainly impossible to say without a doubt what 2023 has in store for us. If anything, the past few years have demonstrated the importance of expecting the unexpected and understanding the fragility of our plans in the face of disruptive forces.

However, it’s possible to paint a potential picture of the months ahead based on emerging trends in business and technology. If you’re contemplating what lies ahead and what strategies you should employ to succeed in 2023, I’d like to offer these predictions and insights based on my experience and observations as CEO of Stratosphere Networks.

1. Artificial intelligence will provide vital assistance in short-staffed call centers.

If you’re short-staffed and struggling to keep up with a relentless flood of inquiries, artificial intelligence could be the answer to your customer service conundrum. Conversational AI utilizes machine learning, natural language processing (NLP) and other technical capabilities to mimic interactions with real customer service reps and automate communications, according to Deloitte Digital.

Conversational AI solutions (e.g., intelligent chatbots and smart IVR systems) can answer common questions and handle basic functions like scheduling appointments, freeing your human staff members to tackle more complex tasks. By 2026, Gartner predicts that conversational AI implementation in contact centers will lower agent labor expenses by $80 billion.

At the same time, the people working in contact centers will likely be happier with robots taking care of the drudge work. Only 21 percent of employees qualify as engaged, according to Gallup’s 2022 State of the Global Workplace report. Offloading repetitive and mind-numbing tasks to AI is one way to combat low engagement rates by allowing your agents to focus on more meaningful projects. Ultimately, your contact center will experience greater productivity, efficiency, and retention.

2. Dysfunctional decision-making will stand in the way of customer experience (CX) improvements.

At this point, it’s common knowledge that customer experience (CX) can make or break your business. Still, in 2022, only 3 percent of companies in the United States fit the description of “customer-obsessed,” with clients serving as the focal point of strategy, operations, and leadership, according to a press release from Forrester. Additionally, staffing shortages, supply problems, and inflation have led to lower average CX Index scores for some industries (e.g., hotels and airlines).

Delivering exceptional experiences is vital if you want your company to stand out from the competition and succeed in 2023 and beyond. However, at Stratosphere, we’ve observed that CX-enhancing initiatives often stall for mid-size businesses and enterprises because so many decision-makers are involved in the process, and all of them have different objectives.

Depending on the solution and the client, our team sees approximately 5 decision-makers on average in the mid-market and enterprise spaces. Sometimes as many as 10 people are involved. This “too many cooks” phenomenon can slow or paralyze the CX solution purchasing process.

External technology advisors can cure purchasing paralysis by orchestrating the process, bringing all the decision-makers on your team together, and leveraging in-depth technology knowledge and an unbiased third-party perspective to identify solutions that make everyone involved as happy as possible.

On top of that, advisors with extensive knowledge of the marketplace can significantly speed up the process of finding solutions that integrate with the systems you already have in place and produce substantial cost savings. If you want to enhance CX while reining in spending in today’s climate of economic uncertainty, turning to external tech advisors for guidance can make all the difference.

3. Zero trust will be the best way to combat rampant cybercrime.

In 2023, it’s safe to say cybercriminals will continue to hone their craft and develop increasingly sophisticated strategies for breaching corporate networks and systems. In this world of persistent cyberattacks, every business – regardless of size or industry – is a target, according to a recent 6-12 Report on security from AVANT.

Organizations today must assume they’ve already been breached and don’t know it yet. That’s why zero trust has emerged as the go-to approach for companies seeking to minimize risk.

“The core of Zero Trust is that every resource, machine, code snippet, and user account could already be compromised and therefore are only granted access to limited resources and only when necessary and only after identities are verified,” the report states.

If you haven’t already adopted a zero-trust security approach, you should do so ASAP. Organizations with zero-trust frameworks implemented save nearly $1 million in average data breach costs compared to their more trusting peers, according to IBM.

4. Businesses that fail to anticipate stricter regulatory requirements will struggle.

Regulatory bodies will continue to raise their standards in 2023. For instance, in June, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will require non-banking institutions that handle consumers’ financial data to comply with the Safeguards Rule. That means entities like auto dealers, mortgage brokers, and payday lenders must establish and maintain comprehensive cybersecurity programs. Failure to comply could result in steep fines.

Even if your business isn’t affected by the Safeguards Rule, future regulations concerning information security might apply to your organization. Avoid last-minute scrambles to comply with new cybersecurity requirements by proactively working with a managed security service provider to safeguard sensitive information. Not only will you be prepared for stricter regulatory standards, but your heightened data protection will make your company more attractive to prospective clients.

5. Sustainability will take center stage for enterprises.

Businesses will face intense scrutiny concerning their sustainability initiatives as climate change becomes an increasingly pressing concern worldwide. Investors and consumers will monitor enterprises’ efforts to lower carbon emissions, increase energy efficiency, and limit water consumption. A recent Reuters headline declares, “Brand Watch: 2023 will be a year that separates the bona fide from the bogus on sustainability pledges.”

Ultimately, while it’s impossible to predict the future with 100 percent accuracy, it’s vital to prepare for the months and years ahead based on expert predictions and current trends. If you’d like assistance as you adjust your IT strategy for 2023, our trusted technology advisors would be happy to help. With extensive technology experience and knowledge, advanced tools, and a vast partner network, we can craft a customized roadmap for your company and identify solutions and services that align with your goals and will position you for lasting success.    

Get started today by calling 877-599-3999 or emailing sales@stratospherenetworks.com to schedule a consultation with one of our advisors.

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