While employee needs have traditionally been handled en masse, new factors such as virtual workplaces and BYOD have pushed businesses into an era of customisation. More and more, each employee is being viewed as an individual - a valuable stakeholder within the organisation that needs customised tools and solutions to be successful.
This means businesses now need to provide their employees with more choice. They need to offer them their choice of preferred devices, operating systems, apps and more. This is not easy.
After 2015, which was riddled with headlines involving high-profile hacks and data breaches, no organisation is willing to sacrifice the safety of its data and overall business in order to make employees’ lives easier. However, in 2016 there will be an evolution of both IT and the vendors they buy from. Vendors will now work much harder to provide functionality, flexibility and intelligence to their customers, to satisfy employee needs. They will also maintain a high level of security by ensuring compliance and alignment with regulations.
As a part of this evolution, these trends can be expected throughout the course of this year:
Software vendor lock-in dies
With businesses collaborating across a variety of different services and tools, IT departments are coming to the realisation that they must support this variation to keep their end-users happy and productive. Therefore, standardising on one service will no longer be an option. Crucially, these services must be secure and ensure that the business meets compliance and regulatory standards.
In 2016, technology vendors will look to ensure that their technology can be integrated with as many other enterprise services as possible, and make them broadly available across different apps and services. We can even expect competing vendors to offer integration with each other to give the end user more choice.
In essence this means that vendor lock-in could become all but dead next year, as vendors will be forced to work with one another rather than against one another.
Businesses get smart with data analytics
Over the past few years, businesses have found it hard to ignore the value that they can obtain from analysing the often huge volumes of ‘big data’ they create. Many large enterprises have employed big data analytics technology that enables them to gain insight from the information they are collecting. For small businesses, however, these systems are unaffordable and out of reach.
In 2016, data analytics will move into the hands of businesses of any size, as a part of their overall file management strategy. Market demands are driving down the cost of file management systems, providing an opportunity for small businesses to take advantage of this access. Businesses can select file management providers that can enable them to leverage comprehensive ‘dashboards’ of system-wide analytics from content creation and access, via a range of users, devices and applications.
A variety of vertical industries will also capitalise on this information to provide a higher level of customer support, service and streamline current business processes.
Data protection becomes a top priority for CIOs and IT managers
New regulations about data privacy - such as the EU data protection regulations - will likely come into force in 2016, meaning that companies must have complete control over their corporate data. Those that do not comply with regulations will face penalties and subsequently be subjected to huge fines for failure to implement the technology needed to maintain control over their data.
Additionally, we can expect regulators to make examples of companies that are not compliant, resulting in negative publicity. This will lead to businesses scrambling to ensure that their compliance includes a data sovereignty strategy.
Increased demand for data sovereignty and local data centres
The recent ruling on the now invalid Safe Harbour ruling, along with mounting concerns over security and privacy, will cause data localisation to become standard practice for many businesses in Europe. Organisations will want to be close to their data in order to maintain full control and ensure compliance with current legislation.
The demand for local data centre storage in Europe will increase exponentially. It is likely that many businesses will employ a hybrid model for their storage and file management, with some data residing locally on site, and the rest in a local data centre for public or private cloud access. Ultimately, IT departments will need to act swiftly to identify solutions that deliver the agility that comes with cloud file storage, and their unique local storage preferences.
Businesses who are proactive will be able to utilise a preferred form of data centre storage rather than being forced to choose a sub-optimal solution.
Ian McEwan, VP and General Manager, EMEA, Egnyte
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