Written by our own Chief Marketing Officer, Michael Ioannakis, this article has also been published in APAC CIO Outlook (Retail) – March 2016. To check it out, click here.
There are some significant trends in IT which have emerged and are worthy of commentary. These trends have a major impact on companies today and will continue to do so in the future.
Trend 1 – Cloud Technology
One of the major shifts, particularly in enterprise, is the movement toward ‘cloud technology’. It is ‘trending’ as a necessary part of business. But the term itself, has much hype and perhaps misunderstanding associated with it. Many organizations recognize cloud technology as something perplexing.
Whether it’s an entire CRM or HRM solution, enterprises today have immense potential of automating nearly all daily operations thanks to highly sophisticated, yet easy to use applications. These are offered by cloud service providers. The result is increased employee productivity, streamlining of processes and data management from one protected, secure and safe location.
The Cloud Tomorrow
The cloud industry is expanding and has been ‘clocked’ at more than 22% CAGR. By 2018, it will be a $127b industry. The giants in this space like Google, AWS and Microsoft have cemented their position as organization-wide solution providers. Their broad offering and proven integrity make it difficult for new entrants to make a mark.
Consequently, new entrants are sticking to niche markets, often providing private cloud solutions. Private cloud is a dedicated system of virtual machines, applications and data specific to that organization – normally hosted on-site. It provides greater control over security but limited ability to scale according to business needs. It can fall short in offering true mobility of data and cannot scale on-demand as quickly as a public cloud solution.
Trend 2 – The Impact of Mobility
Smart devices in the world today have exceeded 3.6 billion. An average employee handles up to three separate devices at work. Over half of the connected devices in corporate networks are mobile. Most devices carry sensitive company data, giving clear indication how much employees engage with their work ‘on the go’. This behavior is a direct seed of cloud computing’s capability, surpassing barriers of traditional hardware and providing accessibility of data on any type of device.
This trend will continue as more companies move from a 9am to 5pm working day, to one where employees pick their own hours and choose their own working environment.
There is a significant shift from web-based activity to mobile app usage, particularly in consumer and retail markets. The emerging trend will shift to enterprise apps – for the purpose of reducing costs and improving productivity. This will be a strategic initiative for companies to achieve competitive advantage and operate effectively in the 21st century.
Trend 3 – BYOD, The Bane of All Enterprises
Another emerging trend is the preference for working on personal devices. It started with checking emails on vacation and expanded to accessing and sharing company data from remote locations. It is a challenge for companies where they must decide between security of company data and productivity and freedom of employees.
Many companies realize this opportunity, as research suggests that 90% of all US based companies will employ an elaborate BYOD strategy by 2017. If done right, it’s an excellent cost saving policy where the company is released from buying new equipment and reimburses employees for the cost for work-related mobile data usage.
Trend 4 – Internet of Things (IoT), Are We Prepared For a Talking Refrigerator?
A relatively new trend is the internet of things (IoT). This is a future where the device would “know” you. Imagine you enter a room and your TV turns on to your favourite channel, lighting regulates to your preferred setting and the A/C control adjusts and regulates temperature accordingly.
It’s an exciting future to look forward to, but we are still a way off in determining how it affects human life on a business or macro level. Today, one of the fundamental arguments in ‘IoT enabled’ devices is the lack of adherence to a single operating system. This impedes ability to communicate with each other and realizing the true potential of IoT.
Trend 5 – Balancing Security and Productivity
As BYOD, demand for mobility and data protection becomes a priority when companies consider a move to the cloud, privacy and security remains a key consideration. Research suggests 87% of companies state that cloud security and privacy are their biggest concerns.
A growing trend in cloud security is adopting the relatively new phenomenon, ‘Security-as-a-Service’ solution. The breadth of solutions is expanding as companies turn to cloud or managed services.
Alternatively ‘hybrid clouds’ are trending, where a combination of private and public cloud is adopted. This allows companies to keep private data close to their chest and offload some resources to the public cloud in case of urgent expansion requirement.
It will be interesting to see how the realm of security in enterprises shifts when smart wearable items become commonplace and the IoT really takes off.
Adopting cloud technology (either fully or on a hybrid basis) is a fait-accompli. Businesses today are becoming more ‘virtual’ – connecting anywhere, anytime. Therefore there is huge upside in establishing a mobility strategy in particularly with the rise in the ‘remote worker’ and with the desire to automate processes. Companies will have little choice but to adopt a BYOD policy with the variety and usage of devices and continually embrace current security trends.
With businesses today focused on productivity, cost management and balancing flexibility for employees, it seems that thoughtful consideration of the above mentioned trends will support their endeavor.
Organizations must shift from ‘old style’ paradigms and embrace technology to operate as a 21st Century, modern organisation. By transforming and adopting technology, companies will develop a solid platform for modern management techniques, enhance employee engagement and achieve greater enterprise productivity.