2021 was a year of accelerated digital transformation, as organisations doubled down on managing disruptions caused by the emergence of COVID-19 and its many variants.
No industry has escaped the urgent need to pursue digital transformation. Businesses are under pressure to adapt to an ever-changing technology landscape and transform existing business processes. And, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced organisations to expand their goals beyond just driving customer engagement, to also maximising employee productivity in a remote and hybrid working world. Indeed, having the right expertise, technologies, tools, and platforms to deploy new tech solutions at scale has become imperative to building the necessary foundations to improving business resiliency in an unpredictable world.
For organisations to thrive, they need to prioritise outcomes in their IT investments, leverage trusted industry ecosystems and demonstrate an ability to adapt operating models to customer requirements. As the world slowly inches toward a gradual reopening, we continue to look toward the unknowable future, with hopefulness and a fresh energy as we assess the year ahead.
Doubling down on data
Data will continue to be the most valuable asset that businesses own. However, the key to leveraging this ‘digital gold’ is not simply capturing and storing massive amounts of data. It is extracting value from this data in order to inform actions with timely insights. Today’s solutions enable us to leverage a combination of Artificial Intelligence (AI) data patterns and policies to make intelligent predictions of what specific content actually needs to be captured and analysed, which significantly lowers costs and improves efficiency. Many organisations find themselves struggling to extract value from a data deluge that is continuously growing and evolving. Frequently, data is also siloed and spread across different multi-gen IT systems, often trapped in critical legacy architecture. Yet, companies need to securely access and control data assets from edge to cloud in order to accelerate business outcomes. The solution will be to have a data-first modernization approach across edge to data centers that equips them to effectively extract actionable insights from their data.
We are witnessing the next wave of managing not just data, but information, at its source.
A key part to fulfilling that vision is cloud computing. For the past decade, the cloud-first agenda took center stage. As we know, the shift to hybrid work has caused a massive increase in the amount of data being generated across numerous sources, and it is essential for today’s businesses to be able to discover and archive this rapidly growing volume of data. In 2022 and beyond, the focus will shift towards using data everywhere across a distributed enterprise – a cloud-everywhere mandate. Such a shift would be delivered through flexible as-a-service-consumption models to avoid cloud lock-in and allow companies room for maneuvering digital transformation, while preserving capital and eliminating operating expense, by paying only for the IT they use.
As companies increasingly embrace new business models like as-a-service models, agility and flexibility will be key business enablers. In the coming years, this decentralised and hybrid approach leveraging ecosystems is likely to be a dominant trend, with data sovereignty, security and compliance as some of the main drivers.
In response to COVID-19, workforces went remote, school learning shifted online, and doctors pivoted to telemedicine. Such phenomena has caused an explosion of data at the edge, driven by the proliferation of devices. During this period of vulnerability, cybercriminals have also launched digital attacks on organisations, ranging from critical infrastructure to banking and even retail. These malicious actions have caused serious financial and reputational damage to affected parties. While organisations are working tirelessly to secure their perimeters and lock down rights and access to information, minimising these undiscovered and undetected threats will be an ongoing effort. Organisations are seeking secure ways to enable users with access to business-critical applications on any device, regardless of their location. Secure connectivity will be critical in a post-pandemic world, to enable today’s digital interactions and power new, engaging digital experiences in the future.
Embracing the future of business is not going to be a walk in the park, and it requires a radical shift in thinking and decision-making. It is imperative for organisations to not only equip their workforce with the right tools and platforms, but to also adopt a digital-first mindset by reimagining what is possible – to prepare to invest in the skills, tools, and resources to capture new business growth and thrive in the digital economy ahead. A collaborative approach is crucial to the successful implementation of digital transformation in any organisation, and both people and technology will play a significant role in enabling companies to meet the demands of today’s digital economy.