Monday, 21 December 2015 17:09

Business trends driving technology - 2016


Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) say there are five business trends driving technology in 2016.

  • Enterprise transforming into digital natives
  • Smart cities will be built by smart companies
  • Business silos will be unified by cross modal IT
  • Trans-regional business will be enabled by multi cloud
  • Skills shortage sparks talent pursuit

So begins a very nice, if very informative luncheon at the QT in Sydney hosted by Adrian De Luca Senior Director, Solutions and CTO, Asia Pacific Hitachi Data Systems and Nathan McGregor, VP and Managing Director, HDS Australia & New Zealand.

De Luca has been making predictions for some time now and its always interesting to hear what he thinks.

“We (HDS) no longer talk about products to our clients – it is all about giving information to them, educating them what is possible and offering solutions,” he said. “Technology is now shaping business investment in innovation – it is no longer about business driving technology.”

The remainder of this article has been paraphrased.

Enterprise transforming into digital natives

2016 will see enterprises experiencing major digital transformation as they strive to improve a host of key functions, not just in technology but also across the entire organization.

There has been a resurgence in confidence among chief information officers (CIOs) that digital channels will generate more revenues for the business. According to the Gartner CIO Agenda Insights report1, only 16% of CIOs expected the revenues in their business to flow through digital channels in 2014, but the proportion more than doubled to 37% in 2015.

The push is also coming from chief marketing officers who are finding that traditional ways of marketing are not as effective any more. Chief financial officers are also discovering that consumer and supplier transaction models have shifted. There is now an almost universal understanding within businesses that all functions need to look at how they can transform their own practices through digitization.

Smart companies will build smart cities

Smart cities have been more than a topic of interest in the Asia Pacific. Many countries in the region are rolling out Government-backed initiatives, ranging from eGovernment and public safety to intelligent transportation, in order to tackle the challenges of rapid urbanization. Although intentions remain strong, few governments have the experience or the financial means to build and run these initiatives on their own. Instead, they are partnering industry innovators who have invested deeply into the Internet of Things (IoT).

These players bring their own intellectual property to the table and are able to assemble ecosystems of technology providers, integrate their systems and deliver solutions that will turn smart cities into a reality.

As governments open the door for private-sector participation through initiatives such as Digital India and Smart Nation Singapore, the business opportunities for companies in the technology sector are huge.

Cross-modal IT will unify business silos

Many IT organizations have understood the need to evolve into two separate modes of operation in order to meet the demands of the digital enterprise. This is called bi-modal and its only part of the issue.

Mode 1 covers applications that handle traditional in-house systems of record such as customer relationship management and ecommerce systems. These support core business operations and are thus built around predictability, accuracy and availability

Mode 2 comprises systems of customer interaction and insight, such as those handling mobility and big data analytics. These systems provide customers with mobile access to business services and enable businesses to tap on huge datasets for predictive modelling, allowing them to test hypotheses in order to respond quickly to the dynamics of the marketplace. These systems emphasise agility and speed.

In 2016, we will see the more progressive organizations starting to cross-leverage these two modes of IT. They will introduce modern agility features into their Mode 1 systems and greater predictability and manageability into Mode 2. Companies that are successful in creating a standardized, converged IT infrastructure and in building data lakes across their data assets will realise the greatest benefits. Those who introduce agile methodologies and build application programming interfaces (APIs) for their businesses services will also have the upper hand over their competitors and attract more customers who are demanding simpler digitized interactions.

Multi-cloud will enable transregional business

The emerging Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) promises to bring significant benefits to economies in the Asia Pacific. To realize the full potential of this agreement, it will be critical for countries in the region to plan and invest in the next generation of technology infrastructure to connect their economies now.

Today, as many as 70% of organizations are either using or evaluating hybrid clouds across the region. The TPP will not only lower the barriers to consuming intercontinental cloud services, but also make it easier for companies to expand across the Asia Pacific region. Companies that adopt a multi-cloud strategy will not only use it to minimize the risk of widespread data loss or downtime due to localized component failure in the cloud computing3 environment, but also to springboard into new countries faster and easier. The emerging provisions in TPP to protect offshore data and avoid electronic duties will create greater confidence for businesses to harness this new mode of building IT.

Several IT providers have already started to lay the groundwork for this. They are expanding data centre capacity to cater to the anticipated growth in cloud computing and investing in cross-continental high-speed connectivity to create direct routes between key economies in Southeast Asia, Australia and the United States of America.

Skills shortage will spark a talent pursuit

The shortfall in IT skills will force organizations to re-examine how they address the talent deficit while continuing to innovate and remain competitive. The solution will lie not just in churning out more IT graduates with skills that are in demand, such as DevOps and data science; organizations will also need to find ways to appeal to young talents by providing a flexible working environment while investing in their existing employees to bridge the skills gap.

The up-and-coming “Gen Z” worker is expected to go through an average of 17 jobs in his or her lifetime. These workers will develop a broader variety of skills and be exposed to multiple industries over the course of their careers. They are driven more by their contribution to society than the logo of the company they work for. Organizations will need to figure out how to tap into the energies of the “Gen Z” cohort, focus on continual learning and manage the generational shift in IT talent.

Crowdsourcing will emerge as a way for organizations to enlist a wider pool of talents. This will enable them to avoid the slow ramp-up of having to hire people to complete tasks or projects, and allow them to tap on potentially more creative solutions to problems.

At the same time, those who invest in cloud-based tools such as video conferencing, real-time messaging and file sync-and-share and provide effective training for their existing employees will see an increase in productivity.























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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!

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