As the year winds down, experts are already predicting the tech trends that’ll dominate the business landscape in 2023. Here are just a few technologies we forecast will impact consumer behavior, employee engagement, and business growth over the next 12 months.

Super apps

Research firm Gartner predicts the rise of “super apps” in 2023 – apps that combine the services and functions of multiple mobile apps into one single app. Super apps are designed to unite different features, such as messaging, payment, or service requests, into one user interface. Essentially, developers of independently created “mini apps” share user information and data, providing access to different apps through a single sign-on.

“Software engineering leaders also build super apps to provide a more engaging experience for their employees,” wrote Gartner. “Most importantly, they can improve the UX by enabling users to activate their own toolboxes of mini apps and services.”

super app can be designed to streamline the features of individual apps, platforms and other IT services. Small business owners can expect to see these offerings increase in 2023 and can consider using them to provide self-service options for employees and vendors.

Metaverse

Big brands are already trying to integrate the metaverse into their marketing strategies. And, while the term itself is somewhat broad, small business owners should look for ways to integrate metaverse technologies into their business in 2023.

“The metaverse” – a sci-fi-like concept describing a unified, augmented virtual reality combined with a digital economy – is still a long way away from becoming mainstream. However, metaverse-adjacent technologies, such as blockchain, crypto tokens, NFTs, AR and VR, and video games, are becoming more accessible.

“To assist in the development of new products and transform the business, it’s imperative to identify, examine and track emerging technologies,” wrote Gartner. “The metaverse may be in its early development stage, but the transition to it’s expected to be as substantial as the one from analog to digital.”

Some experts predict the metaverse will add $5 trillion to the global economy by 2030. Savvy business leaders should start tracking trends like virtual training using AR and VR, smart contracts enabled by blockchain, and other trends connected to the evolution of the metaverse.

Cloud technology

Cloud technology isn’t new; in fact, it’s been an integral part of the shift to remote and hybrid work over the past five years. As the business landscape continues to shift with fears of an economic downturn, supply chain issues, and fluctuating consumer demand, leaders are continuing to invest in the cloud.

“Just under two-thirds (63%) of digital leaders report large-scale use of the cloud and half of respondents expect it to deliver a competitive advantage over the coming 12 months,” reported ZDNet.

This commitment reflects the confidence many business owners have in the value of cloud services. Cloud services and platforms are flexible, scalable and adaptable. Many SMB owners will continue to integrate cloud IT into their business operations in 2023, doubling down on this proven IT investment rather than spending on unproven emerging technologies.

Zero-trust cybersecurity

Small businesses are the favored targets of hackers and cybercriminals. One study found employees at small businesses are three times more likely to be targeted than employees at large enterprises.

Many merchants are realizing they need to take cybersecurity more seriously in 2023. One poll of small business owners found half of respondents believe a cybersecurity incident will disrupt their business in the coming year. In anticipation, business owners are adopting a zero-trust cybersecurity policy. “Zero trust” is an approach to security based on the idea of never trusting, always verifying.

Technology that enables a zero-trust approach includes multifactor authentication (or at least two-factor authentication), SAML and SSO, and other advanced identity and access management tools.

Sustainability

Finally, Forbes predicts sustainability will become a key consideration in new technology investments. Where historically IT leaders focused exclusively on price and utility, businesses will be encouraged to consider the environmental costs of investing in a new tool.

Driven by consumer demand, companies should rethink the impact of their supply chain. “People will be thinking more about where rare earth components for things like computer chips originate and how we’re consuming them,” wrote Forbes. Consider whether the products and services your company uses are energy-efficient, if they’re sourced from environmentally friendly partners, and how they can be recycled responsibly at the end of their lifespan.