The enterprise or organisation of today is not contained in bricks, mortar or glass. We live in an age that is truly global, effortlessly mobile and not afraid to harness innovation and entrepreneurship. For all organisations, from the global powerhouses like Amazon, Microsoft or Google, through to disruptors like Uber or Monzo to lone entrepreneurs just starting their businesses, cloud is key. These businesses either focus on delivering solutions and functions anywhere at any time or demand to consume these services in the same manner.
The cloud market itself will continue to mature with the larger cloud service providers continuing to scale and develop their offerings. The debate as to whether everything will ultimately end up in the cloud rumbles on. Many analysts think that in time on-premise legacy will disappear, but our view is that for a significant number of years there will always be the need to manage hybrid operating models.
No nation can exist as an ‘island’ with the import and export of goods and services being a key facet of the modern world. This is true irrespective of what trading agreements, treaties or tariffs are in place. The same can be said of the working environment of today with services, solutions, people, processes and partnerships needing to move into and out of an organisation. Controls, borders and policies governing and policing this movement need to be in place.
5G will further remove the traditional network perimeter of a business due to the mobilisation and globalisation of their workforce, partners, suppliers and customers. Increased data transfer speeds and enhanced connectivity will extend the use of mobile computing, be this app or web driven. This increase in mobile connectivity speed will, in certain scenarios, completely remove the reliance on Ethernet Last Mile (ELM) and the need for hard-wired connectivity provision or civils activity.
Mobility in all aspects – workforce, suppliers, partners and computing – will only continue to develop. The ‘consumerisation’ of technology will drive further change such as the expectation of personalised alerts and configuration. Users are now able to undertake tasks whilst remote or mobile, both within the office and outside, during and outside of core working hours. The concept of a 9 till 5 working day no longer exists with employees expecting and often expected to have 24/7 access to core business systems, 365 days per year.
The working patterns and practices of businesses have changed as workforces become more distributed, mobile and diverse. The use of broader partner ecosystems to deliver core business activity, the onboarding of contract staff for key roles and the rise of remote working and hot-desking has changed how we connect with our business and our colleagues. This mobile, remote and distributed workforce places new demands on the IT and communications infrastructure and the supporting processes and systems. Cloud computing has afforded businesses the ability to deliver core services to a remote, distributed or mobile workforce.
Larger organisations rely on working closely with partner or supplier organisations for both services and software. These partnerships can range from project-based engagements such as the delivery of a new software application to multi-year outsourced support or services contracts. For these partnerships to be successful there needs to be effective onboarding, tight ongoing interlock and collaboration and effective change management. This management overhead can often be underestimated and overlooked but is critical in terms of delivering efficiency, ensuring security is maintained such as protecting IP and data, and assuring cost control.
Big Data and data in general will continue to be ‘newsworthy’. The protection of data and then how this data is then utilised will be a priority for all organisations. In the UK we have seen the impact of GDPR on ‘data at rest’ but increasingly questions are likely to be asked on where the data has been when in transit and how it has been secured. This will feed into Big Data and the associated analytics with organisations needing to be able to analyse, store and evidence these data logs.
Securing increased traffic from a much greater number of locations utilising an increasing number of services will put a strain on the IT function unless they have the appropriate platforms and technologies in place.
Organisations require an ‘Agile Network’ that will enable users to consume the applications and services they require. Users need to effectively communicate and collaborate with colleagues within their ecosystem. Organisations need to react to the ongoing democratisation and mobilisation of end-user computing and how they address a mobile and distributed workforce.