In case you expected some breathing space after the industry quake that saw the sudden emergence of cloud-enabled start-ups like Uber and Airbnb, think again. If that was disruptive, then the technologies now going mainstream may be doubly so. Fasten your seatbelts for a look at what is coming your way.
Holding its position at the top of the list, cloud continues to be a key disruptive force. New services are launched daily, with the ability to grow, change and reinvent near-instantly. Where initially established businesses were left flat-footed, the strongest are adapting. After all, if Uber can have a big idea and get it to market, why can’t they?
It does mean a rethink, especially in the IT department. Gaining speed means a ready-for-anything attitude, and infrastructure to match. IDG analysts found that those organisations with hybrid cloud are three times more likely to reach their digital business goals. That makes sense. Gaining cloud-like agility from the new breed of infrastructure, while getting to weigh up the right location for each workload, gives the best of both worlds.
Platform as a service (PaaS) is making waves thanks to giving businesses a way to innovate rapidly. The delivery of traditional and ‘cloud native’ platform applications give businesses the ability to develop new ideas almost as quickly as they dream them up. In a world where the disruptors grab a sizeable chunk of market share, fortune favours the fast.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Far from just something you read about in sci-fi novels, AI is available now in mainstream products – and it is driving efficiency, service gains and marketing programs with pinpoint accuracy. We’re seeing AI used in security, to identify irregular activity. It is helping banks to reduce credit card fraud, farmers to address crop disease, and retailers to predict product sales.
Much of this change is driven by improvements in hardware. The processing power once only found in universities and select government offices is now available in network equipment, storage devices and servers. Any organisation can use AI, but here established businesses have an advantage. Data.
All of that AI is powered by data, delivered via compute, and connected with networks that drive a new need for enhanced data protection and end-point security strategies,’ according to Dell CTO John Roese. And he should know. Dell is flying high on its AI-enabled technologies. Big data will, he says, become ‘big intelligence’, citing an IDC report that by 2020, 90% of large enterprises will generate revenue from data as a service.
If AI is driven by data, then existing businesses have volumes of it, dutifully stored and preserved over the years. That data is unique. When combined with other data that is readily available, about community demographics, health trends, even weather, it can give new information. When you know something about your customers, community or market that your competitors don’t, you have a massive competitive edge. You may be able to run at lower cost or develop a more popular product, thanks to your existing data.
The emergence of many connected devices in an internet of things (IoT) is fuelling a new kind of mobility for the workforce. Whether a sales assistant performing transactions away from the cash register or a mine worker reporting data back to a head office thousands of kilometres away, employees need no longer be held back by the need for a physical connection to the network.
The businesses able to mobilise people and data successfully can be more productive, and can reduce costs and travel – something especially meaningful in a country as vast as Australia. There are less tangible benefits too; it is hard to measure the exact value of a motivated and happy workforce, but every strong business leader understands the value of increasing employee satisfaction and reducing frustration.
Reimagining the Workforce
We are seeing that our customers that reinvent their service delivery and operations in the light of these new technologies are those reaping the greatest benefit. Those liberating their ‘ideas people’ from the more mundane and labour-intensive tasks, in the data centre and elsewhere, are unsurprisingly the best at seeing the possibilities in new technologies. For that reason, we advocate for the IT department focusing on meaningful changes that make a difference to staff and customers.
Time to investigate new disruptive technologies or want to chat about the possibilities of reimagining your workplace? Contact our friendly experts at Stott Hoare.