It’s all about transformation in 2018, as global brands and government agencies look to use technology to better serve their customers, and differentiate themselves from the competition.
Many of the hype-technologies of recent years – software-defined networking (SDN), the Internet of Things (IoT), and artificial intelligence (AI) to name but a few – are now in the mainstream, and 2018 is the year when attention will turn to what organisations do with them. Those organisations that are best able to realise tangible benefits from technology deployments, without adding more complexity to their operations, will win the day.
Here is Verizon Enterprise Solution’s view of those enterprise technology trends that are most likely to impact our global business and government customers in 2018:
1. SDN has lift off
With software-defined networking (SDN) deployments now live around the globe, companies are beginning to explore what they can really do with the security, agility and flexibility of virtualised network services. The next big thing is application-aware networking – managing the performance, capabilities and security of applications to make the most of bandwidth – ever more critical in an increasingly complex content world.
2. Security goes underground
Security will undertake a step change in 2018, and become embedded into the platform, supporting everything a business does. We’re talking end-to-end managed security infrastructure for the network, the developer and applications.
In today’s threat landscape, it’s all about global scale – but openness and information sharing to combat the bad guy, both online and in the real world will also become the norm. With this step change, measuring security effectiveness is imperative so that cyber-risks can be integrated into any enterprise risk assessment. The quantification of security posture, maturity and hygiene will not only enable effective risk management, but also establish a security ROI – a key ability for the c-suite.
3. Digital collaboration is table stakes
Savvy organisations have been moving away from aging PBXs to IP-based telephony systems over recent years – but 2018 will be the year when digital technologies really begin to transform workplace collaboration, not least as third party compliance becomes a major frustration. Employees expect to be able to seamlessly access calendar information, share documents and schedule calls across platforms, quickly and securely.
The focus is therefore on enabling multi-channel access to improve both the user experience and productivity. Software-defined networking will facilitate intelligent data management and multi-platform call routing for more effective collaboration, and mobile apps will put the power of information directly into the hands of employees or consumers.
4. Artificial intelligence and robotics take on the Internet of Things
IoT will become part of the fabric of an organisation in 2018 – the challenge will be how to integrate device management into overall IT infrastructure in a way that doesn’t overwhelm the organisation. This is where AI and robotics will come into their own, offering intelligent automation of managed IoT deployments cheaply and efficiently.
5 . People take control of the digital experience
Consumers are increasingly aware of the power of their data, and in 2018 will become choosier about their engagements. Brands will need to be aware of how they deal with data, as their customers will be looking for mobile, secure, simple interactions for a higher level of intimacy. Brands that can deliver on this will stand out.
6. Interoperability will be a priority for public safety
2017 has seen a large number of both terrorist incidents and natural disasters around the globe. Seamless, secure connections across rapidly deployable networks — particularly those dedicated to first responders – will be a critical focus in 2018, particularly in the United States in the context of FirstNet. Interoperability will let companies and public safety organisations benefit from choice in network and technology services, will drive innovation through market competition, and will also help control costs. Most importantly, interoperability will better enable first responders to keep in touch and communicate with authorities and private citizens, should disaster strike.
>See also: Digital in the enterprise
7. Simple is the goal
As the world becomes more complicated, business success is increasingly about separating out core versus chore. Successful organisations will focus on delivering key business outcomes, and will outsource the non-core to key partners. Working out who does what to quickly reduce complexity to the point where things become simple will define future business success.
George Fischer, president of Verizon Enterprise Solutions, commented: “Transformation continues to be a focus for our global customer base, but it can be a difficult journey to undertake – particularly given the ongoing global skills shortage in key enterprise technology areas. Verizon is entering 2018 with a clear understanding of what organisations need to do to really change their game, and how we can help them. We’ll use our unique combination of technology know-how, professional service expertise, and experience in culture and process change to accelerate their transformation journey. At the end of the day, it’s our job to use our experience of working globally, at scale, to help our enterprise and Government customers around the world realize the benefits that digital transformation has to offer.”
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