Digital disruption continues for global brands, government entities and other organisations in 2016.
It will challenge every aspect of business, across all sectors, and if organisations are to make the most of the potential of the digital world, they need to fundamentally transform their culture, operations, infrastructure and talent to align with emerging business models.
Global enterprises will face unique challenges and we see the following trends driving enterprise IT:
Customer demands drive disruption
Enterprises understand what their customers really want, and shaping back-office business processes to deliver on those needs will completely transform how enterprises operate. Enterprises need to look through their direct customers to the end consumer – and then engineer IT processes back from there, rethinking business operations from top to bottom.
Big data has a crucial role to play in understanding what these end users want, but it’s no longer about searching the ‘big data haystack’ to uncover insight needles. Advanced analytics will filter out meaningless information so the organisation can clearly understand - up front - exactly which needle they are looking for.
Speed will be the deciding factor
First-mover status will be more critical than ever. Companies that embrace agile processes and can execute with speed and integrity will pull ahead from the pack. Top customers, partners and employees will flock to those companies. Focused IT efforts will further increase the pace and responsiveness of the business.
Convergence around the network
While the network might have been seen as simple transport for bits across a wire, increasingly it’s being respected for a range of services, including communications, video and other “layer 7” applications. In 2016, look for security and cloud services merging with the network to a greater degree – as those services become nodes on a software-defined network and woven into the fabric of the network itself. Those who still cling to the notion of separation and segmentation may be fine today but they will be increasingly in the minority by this time next year.
Do-It-For-Me and I’ll pay! (DIY is out)
Customer-driven, agile business models and IT services are increasingly complicated – global enterprises use multiple clouds, multiple networks and have multiple security concerns, which are increasingly complex to manage at scale. As the challenges of legacy systems, risk and compliance increasingly overwhelm manpower and budgets, enterprises will focus on their core business, and pay a premium to those they trust to manage their IT services. The focus will be on enabling the agile adoption of technology to deliver business differentiation.
It takes an ecosystem
DIY may be out but so is the one-size (or one vendor)-fits-all approach. Enterprises require a tightly integrated mix of best-in-class technologies. Those companies that can provide the means to seamlessly integrate multiple services from multiple providers into a cohesive whole, for the benefit of the enterprise, will become indispensable.
The companies providing just the one-off services will be seen as commodities. Venture capital firms have already started to recognise this and we’re seeing many start to pull back from previously hot areas like software-as-a-service (SaaS), cloud and security as the market shifts away from point solutions in favour of better integrated offerings.
“It’s the revenue, stupid”
Revenue pressures continue, but that doesn’t mean enterprises won’t invest in IT. Companies will demand that vendors focus on solutions that drive actual results: increased revenue or lowering costs. In fact, business outcomes will become a key performance indicator for IT vendors, with success tied to customers’ revenue, not just technology performance (traditional SLAs).
This will drive programs that improve and streamline process and embrace automation and the Internet of Things. In fact, enterprises will drive the growth in overall IoT adoption, focusing on intelligent devices and sensors that provide just in time intelligence to improve business operations (save money) and customer service (add revenue).
The “connected world” supported by artificial intelligence and virtual reality
We will see continued expansion of "connected things" in the automotive, manufacturing and consumer goods as companies recognise the value of their products’ real estate.
Additionally, machines will not just talk to machines in the connected world, they will also interact with people extensively, and we will see developers looking for new ways to create and innovate, highly connected overall user experience - connecting people to their environment via augmented reality. Advances in artificial intelligence technology will accelerate to allow for effective processing of the barrage of data that will spring from the connected world.
Don’t panic: Serious talk about digital privacy and regulation
In a world where the “bad guys” are increasingly cyber-savvy, it’s more important than ever for companies to find effective strategies that weigh growth against regulation. Security – of information, customer data and critical assets both physical and intellectual, is top-of-mind.
Public officials understand that old-world rules cannot effectively protect, and can also hamper economic growth. As a result, they will take a lighter- touch regulatory approach. Shifting enterprise security to align with user identity will simplify enterprise security management strategies and enable chief security officers to focus attention on doing the basics well. Commonsense begins to prevail.
There will be more, high-profile security breaches
Regardless of the focus of security in 2016, the reality is that internal IT security is at a serious disadvantage in most companies. The winners in 2016 are those that will be able to develop flexible, responsive, analytics-driven approaches to security, that can quickly identify gaps and vulnerabilities, detect intrusions, and shut them down quickly. It’s not a fool-proof plan but it gives enterprises their best chance for success.
“We believe that customer insight and agile thinking will define enterprise success in 2016,” said Chris Formant, president of Verizon Enterprise Solutions. “This means companies have to turn existing business operations on their head. Business success in the digital age is driven by how well organisations understand end-user requirements, and adapt their operations to meet these needs. It’s all about using technology with integrity to make faster decisions and gain speed and purpose.
The digital world will transform our customers’ businesses in this year, and the years to come. Verizon’s experience, global reach, and deep technology expertise will play a critical role in helping our customers successfully navigate digital disruption.”
Image source: Shutterstock/Sergey Nivens