It Only Gets Easier From Here (right)?

How technological advancement in 2018 will affect the workplace

By Tara Yean

After witnessing how disruption and new technologies changed the world throughout 2017, it became clear that innovative technological advancement is inevitable and comes in constant waves. If you are part of the companies that are well-prepared for these changes, congratulations – your chances of surviving through another year are fairly high.

If not, then put on those running shoes because it’s time to play catch up. The journey won’t be easy since consumer behaviour and trends are never carved in stone. Luckily for you, Dimension Data, one of the world’s leading system integrators have carried out multiple surveys with industry leaders in order to understand where the market is going.

“2018 is going to be an exciting year for digital enterprises. New technologies, management models and practices are proliferating rapidly,” says Andy Cocks, Chief Technology Officer, Dimension Data Asia Pacific.

Andy Cocks, Chief Technology Officer, Dimension Data Asia Pacific

“These trends are likely to have a huge impact on how businesses interact with customers and even how employees work. Many businesses are on their digital transformation journey and we are already seeing a significant rise in enterprises that are building innovative approaches to leverage on blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI), among other technologies.”

In an interview with Business Today, Cocks points out that AI, robotics as well as augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) will start working together to support digital businesses. Companies will need to start investing in digital architectures to support this.

“In 2018, we can also expect to see companies investing on their digital infrastructure to become leaner, more flexible and better placed to adapt to an unpredictable market,” he continues, explaining that organisations will need to figure out new ways to better manage the information they collect from big data.

In terms of enhancing well-established technology in a digital workplace, Cocks predicts that web-based, real-time communications will become significantly easier, replacing the need for dedicated desktop programmes. Generally, businesses should start trimming manual and laborious work processes – if they have not already – as they risk losing out to their tech-savvy competitors.

Also, the long-anticipated rise of AI, machine learning, robotics and AR/VR technologies will finally come together this year, hence further improving business applications. Enterprise strategy-wise, Hybrid IT remains a top priority despite being a tricky one as both applications and infrastructure will continue to become more programmable than ever.

In a Hybrid IT environment, businesses need to understand that running a digital business with platform-based services differs from traditional operating models. To also keep in mind, the talent pool of people available to help organisations architect, implement and operate hybrid cloud solutions will continue to shrink. Therefore, a better understanding of how digital infrastructure, digital workplaces and cloud environments is crucial.

He also points out several trends that are predicted to come into play when it comes to the transformation of organisations becoming a digital workplace:

  • Voice-enabled AI virtual assistants will help businesses reduce costs by automating basic and repetitive tasks. According to Dimension Data’s recently published Digital Workplace Report, 62% of organisations expect virtual assistants to have a place in their companies in the next two years.
  • Smart buildings are evolving into smart workplaces by leveraging on IoT, AI, machine learning and wireless virtual beacon technology.
  • Support of major vendors is driving adoption of Web real-time communication (RTC), allowing them to enable video meetings using a web browser which makes room for endless convenience. Web RTC will also provide new ways for organisations to communicate with their customers, driving greater levels of customer experience.
  • Videos will become the de facto communication channel as organisations will redefine their workplaces to make them more collaborative and supportive of videos.
  • Shifting from BYOD (bring your own device) to BYOA (bring your own access) will increase productivity and efficiency. If employees feel that the applications provided by their employers aren’t meeting their needs, they can simply download a desirable software from an app store.

Protection through blockchain

Since cybersecurity is experiencing a boom in the majority of Malaysian organisations, companies are likely to return to the zero-trust models, where businesses require people to log onto their systems just to prove where they are.

“We believe that blockchain has the potential to totally re-engineer cybersecurity, but that the industry has yet to come to terms with it. What they have yet to learn is that blockchain has an immense potential to transform the world of money, business, and society using a variety of interesting applications,” adds Cocks.

Blockchain is said to bring value to organisations that use the Internet of Things (IoT) by providing a method for firms to securely collect information from thousands of sensors. Since cyber attacks are becoming more sophisticated, he predicts that there will soon be a significant disruption in the cybersecurity industry by leveraging on the applications of blockchain and IoT.

Despite the promise of hybrid cloud, cost containment will continue to be a major issue for firms that run their IT estate on-premise and in the cloud. One possible solution will come from the rise of hybrid cloud management solution solutions, allowing it to be distributed across their hybrid cloud estate effectively.


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