No monkeying around, enterprise digitalisation to pick up pace
By Wong Heng Chew February 10, 2016
- A number of ICT trends will shape how companies evolve in the digital age
- With the need for speed and agility, bimodal IT will become a thing of the past
TODAY’S business landscape is changing, and technology is not only rapidly transforming the way we live, but also how we work.
In recent years, we’ve seen organisations increasingly adopt digital tools in a bid to improve operational efficiency, enhance collaboration, and leverage data to gather insights to drive overall business value for employees and clients alike.
It is no surprise then, that many organisations are now utilising wearables, sensors and augmented reality technology to boost business processes.
Needless to say, the growing use of such technologies creates an environment of hyper-connectivity, driven by the Internet of Things (IoT), which in turn enables digital transformation to occur.
The IoT has long been hailed as the next mega trend, and it is easy to see why. IDC has reported that the Asia Pacific IoT industry will continue its growth momentum, projecting that the number of connected ‘things’ will increase from 3.1 billion to 8.6 billion units in 2020.
In terms of market size, the Asia Pacific excluding Japan market is expected to grow from US$250 billion to US$583 billion by 2020.
Given these figures, companies are invariably taking notice of the immense opportunities that the IoT poses to their businesses and citizens at large.
As businesses become more and more digitalised, thanks to industry trends such as smart cities, the IoT and BYOD (bring your own device), the need for organisations to be equipped with the right IT infrastructure and solutions is greater now more than ever.
As we move on to 2016 with even more businesses embarking on, and continuing, their digital transformation, we see a number of ICT trends that will shape how companies evolve in the digital age.
Bye-bye, bimodal IT
With enterprises focusing on digitalising their operations, the IT function in organisations will play a more central role in enabling this transformation, thus allowing organisations to act faster, think smarter and become more agile and competitive.
In order to realise this, bimodal IT will become a thing of the past.
The traditional IT role has two distinct modes: The Systems of Record (SoR), which is primarily process-driven, and facilitates and automates business processes; and the Systems of Engagement (SoE), which is mainly data-driven and leverages analytics to gather insights and drive innovation.
To sustain competitiveness, the SoR and SoE will have to work together, and be managed alongside any cloud or on-premises IT.
True digital innovation entails SoE, which includes technologies in the areas of mobile, big data, the IoT and artificial intelligence, being utilised to complement SoR, the traditional means of recording and storing data within the organisation.
Data is driving innovation
As the world’s population continues to grow, we will see new challenges for our social infrastructure.
This brings new challenges for resource management, healthcare, disaster mitigation and protecting our environment.
ICT can take a leading role in addressing these global challenges, where organisations can harness new insights and knowledge to develop strategies to optimise their business processes in new ways.
With these new challenges, we expect that more organisations will also leverage on data to drive business strategies and product innovation.
Predictive analytics, which makes use of data and machine learning techniques to help analysts identify the likelihood of future outcomes based on historical data, is expected to be particularly useful for the manufacturing industry.
Supercomputers are playing an increasing role in support of this area as they help to address large and complex challenges with their high-level computational capacity, and can therefore be seen as one of the key drivers of predictive analytics.
In fact, supercomputers already currently play an important role in many areas such as disaster mitigation through tsunami simulation and new drug testing.
Predictive analytics have also now become more cost-effective as businesses are now able to opt for deep and scalable data processing via open source software.
It is worth noting, however, that price is not the only advantage that such software holds, as its accessibility for security audits and the willingness to share information amongst users make it a very compelling and popular software option.
With these developments, a firm’s competitive advantage will no longer be determined by the ownership of proprietary technology, but rather on the ability to leverage data and gather insights to drive informed decision-making.
Enterprise security a growing concern
The highly interconnected systems and avalanche of data have created a hyper-connected world. In fact, Gartner is projecting that the number of IoT devices will increase from 4.9 billion this year to nearly 21 billion by 2020.
While a hyper-connected environment can be advantageous, this also poses great security concerns which can undermine the stability of organisations.
These security concerns emphasise the value of the central governance of IT systems to control enterprise risks, such as security and privacy protection.
An EY annual survey results show that nearly a third of Singapore organisations believe that their companies are not well-prepared to detect sophisticated cyber-attacks. Among the biggest security breaches in Singapore in recent years is the hacking of over 1,500 SingPass user accounts.
Incidents like this highlight the value of safeguarding IT systems through a robust IT environment.
Enterprise digitalisation beyond 2016
As we usher in the new year, we will continue to see enterprises leveraging digital technologies to boost competitiveness and operational efficiency, even beyond 2016.
In order to fully take advantage of the opportunities that digitalisation brings, it is essential for organisations to have an integrated IT function to drive growth, leverage data analytics to fuel innovation, and implement a robust IT environment to ensure the security of its systems.
Wong Heng Chew is the country president of Fujitsu Singapore.
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