I wish you and your family happy holidays on behalf of the entire Beyond Technology team. Thank you for your continued support and I hope that the challenges ahead in 2017 bring you success and exciting opportunities. In thinking of the year ahead, I thought that I would share with you what the BTC Team has identified as the key trends and challenges that we feel our clients will be facing next year. As independent IT management consultants, we not only see a variety of different industries suffering the same issues, but it’s our job to help you identify and form the solutions. Please feel free to contact me at any time to discuss how Beyond Technology can help your organisation.
- Machine Learning and AI (Artificial Intelligence) – Will start to make itself known in Australian Business Processing – Big cloud providers have been making machine learning accessible to masses for the last couple of years, however we think that the time is right for this to start making itself known in the Australian workplace. Either being used to provide business insights in the analysis of big data sets, or in the automation of customer service – the ability for computers to learn from its mistakes will provide an enormous opportunity for transformational innovation.
- SD-WAN becomes the WAN technology of choice – As its proved itself in 2016 as one of the major innovations for replacing highly expensive international MPLS networks we are likely to see it drive firmly into the domestic space. The ability of the technology to intelligently choose between two alternate links to both improve resilience and bandwidth, together with it effectively re-engineering TCP flow control to more intelligently handle modern network dimensioning has proved compelling. This will team up with the increasing availability of both NBN tails and competitive fibre from TPG and Vocus to change the perception of business grade WAN links.
- Ongoing focus on IT governance – With an increased visibility of high profile information security and IT project failure events, boards have continued to ask questions of organisations executive team on IT strategy, risk and benefits realisation which has spurred on the deployment of more formal IT governance frameworks. During these deployments, questions are asked about the organisations skills, experience and independence. Independent external advisors to boards and steering committees are becoming common place and IT governance frameworks based on the ISO/IEC 38500:2008(E) are the norm.
- Digital Innovation & transformation becomes mainstream – While digital disruption was the buzz word of 2016, a new focus on a proactive response will be the norm going forward. Boards and CEO’s move away from the focus on the defensive play to instead seek out digitial innovation and transformational opportunities.
- Collaborative cloud– As the industry take up and approach to the cloud matures we expect to see a continued trend towards communities of interests in cloud offerings. The opportunity to take advantage of common requirements and service levels will be augmented by the ability for inexpensive data interconnects and integration points.
- Virtual and Augmented Reality Growth (VR & AR) – Although it will take some time for the exact use-cases to be derived, the technology with the help of massive technical advances in the consumer space will start to make an impact in many businesses in the later part of the year. We have already seen AR been used effectively in some high tech specialist manufacturing processes, however we are likely to see it rolled out into proof of concept environments in warehouse workplaces with the help of better recognition of the possible OH&S improvements.
- Mandatory Cyber-breach reporting – The likelihood of mandatory cyber-breach reporting appears to be nearing certainty during 2017. This will not only mean that incident response plans will need to be urgently revisited, but will also cause some added levels of anxiety when many find out the extent of the problems in existence.
- Further increased board-level oversight of IT operations – The importance of secure, reliable and efficient IT to support the competitiveness of businesses will be a focal point for many boards. Data custody has become an increasing concern as increasingly complex supply chain and IT environments threaten to affect the “line of sight” of organisations to its information. Boards will continue to ask questions on their risk levels for data integrity, information protection and privacy compliance. We expect many more organisations will opt for Independent external review to provide appropriate oversight directly to the board.
- Information Arms race – the old adage, you don’t need to swim fast to escape a shark, just faster than the guy next to you is true in the quest for business intelligence. Organisations are seeking to leverage their ongoing investment in Data Warehousing, CRM, BI and BigData to apply competitive pressure to their market. Those organisations that have failed to invest in automation and analytic technology are increasingly being left flatfooted as competitors are able to drive efficiency and take advantage of market insights provided by new predictive analytics.
- Revisited Outsource models – We expect to see increased incidents of large IT outsources being reconsidered in a cloud world. Where legacy incumbent providers are set maintaining the status quo and maintaining management of large data centre environments, we can expect boards to demand that independent review be used to define how cloud service delivery can be exploited to significantly reduce the cost base.
Organisations that are waiting to be digitally disrupted will simply not survive into the future. To take advantage of digital innovation and transformation opportunities CEO’s must have confidence in their IT capabilities. Those that don’t have this confidence must act quickly before being left with a legacy cost base leaving them uncompetitive and be in the dark compared to others that will be leveraging digital innovation to exploit market opportunities.