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The impact of technology trends on business

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The year 2016 saw some interesting developments in the IT infrastructure space, including the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) and the launch of low range networks that enable more devices to be connected and communicate, writes Peter Stutz, portfolio manager: IT infrastructure at Jasco Enterprise.
According to Gartner, this year we are also seeing new trends emerging such as the growth of intelligence and connectedness through the launch of new apps and many more IoT devices, while artificial intelligence, machine learning and virtual and augmented reality are expected to make significant progress.
Despite a few significant technologies, however, the key underlying technology trends remain the same, albeit reworded or regrouped: we are still moving towards a world that is ever more connected, meshed and customer centric. Businesses need to pay attention to this underlying theme of transforming digitally, as it seems set to stay for the next few years and should form part of every organisation’s 5 year strategy.
One of the most significant changes when comparing Gartner’s 2015’s predictions for 2016, and 2016’s predictions for 2017, is the expansion of the “Mesh Environment” to encompass Conversational Systems, Digital Technology Platforms, Meshed Applications and Service Architecture (MASA) and Adaptive Security Architecture (ASA). Meshed devices are still important, as we all need devices that are interoperable and connected, however the onus for this interoperability and connectivity is now on mesh applications and the underlying service architecture that is MASA rather than the hardware itself.

The shift to ‘as a service’ thinking
Businesses no longer need to think up products and services based on what they think the market needs. There is an abundance of customer data available that businesses can leverage to predict what consumers actually need, and build solutions and services around this. This type of customer centricity means that there is a demand for an agility in thinking that was previously not possible.
MASA weaves together web, mobile, desktop and Internet of Things (IoT) applications, exposing Application Program Interfaces (APIs) at multiple levels and across traditional boundaries. This in turn helps to improve the scalability of services, enhances agility and enables technology to be easily repurposed and reused. It also helps to facilitate a seamless experience across different channels and optimises the experience depending on the end point device in use.
Another emerging trend that has seen a change between 2016 and 2017 is that of IoT platforms, expanding and evolving into the more inclusive digital technology platforms, which form the foundation of the digital business. Within this space, the platforms consisting of information systems, the customer experience, analytics and intelligence, business ecosystems and the 2016 listed trend, IoT, allow new business solutions to be agile, integrated and scalable.
Organisations need to develop the right mix across these digital technology platforms in order to meet the demands of digital transformation and satisfy their customers.

What to consider
The combination of MASA and new digital technology platforms create a far greater target for security threats than previously known. The more touchpoints there are in this meshed world of connected everything, the more potential access points there are for cyber criminals, too.
While cyber security itself is not a new issue, the perpetrators of cyber-attacks continue to evolve and, as we add new technologies, we are faced with new security challenges. Thus, the emergence of adaptive security architecture.
Adaptive security architecture goes beyond traditional IT security measures and effectively uses predictive data analysis and artificial intelligence capabilities to continuously monitor a network and automatically adapt and evolve accordingly. It constantly analyses for any sign of infiltration, breach or security anomaly in order to react faster and more efficiently as it grows.

The business impact
It’s no secret that much of business and transacting takes place in the virtual sense today, and that customer approval and desire is a hot commodity. The ease with which people can access what they want and change service providers when they aren’t getting what they want means that businesses who aren’t transforming will eventually be left behind.
It is important to note, however, that transformation is a process and, with the right technology partner, there is time yet for businesses to start investigating these trends, tapping into new technologies to drive customer centricity and business success.