Technologies within any industry never stay the same for very long. Everything from the strategies you use to the tools organisation CIOs and CTOs deploy evolve quickly. There are new developments constantly being made, and as a tech executive, it’s a big part of your job to stay on top of them, otherwise, you may be hindering your team’s workflow, productivity, and letting competitors speed by. Keeping up to date on what technologies to use in your company will improve performance and lend you a competitive advantage.
There are more potential tools than ever at your disposal, though. So, how do you choose which ones are best? We turned to some of the industry’s best experts to find out.
Keep reading to see their recommendations.
1. Use automation to help IT teams focus on essentials
The role of IT departments in organisations is going through a lot of changes nowadays. Line-of-business employees are using their own hardware devices and choosing their own software products, which are often accessed via web browsers, requiring minimal to no installation.
IT can try playing catch up with their users. However, for CTOs and CIOs, it seems like IT’s real value is more in strategic facilitation and IT stack integration oversight than in day-to-day putting out fires. It’s a tricky pivot, notes Uri Haramati, co-founder and CEO at Torii.
“IT teams need much more visibility into their dynamic tech stacks,” he said. “They also need more control and automation capabilities, so they can easily focus on optimising the technology in use, making sure all the parts are synced and streamlined.
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“It’s important for them to know that when a specific need to intervene does arise, they can do so with minimised friction and limited lag times.”
Taking this approach creates the opportunity for IT professionals to focus on holistically optimising the organisation’s use of technology.
IT departments can apply automation to nearly every process imaginable, with the right tools. Anything from the use of applications to organising customer data can be fully automated, allowing your team to become more productive.
2. Gamify the learning of new technologies
Global cyber security spending is expected to reach $133.7 billion by 2020. This is because protecting company data and customer information is more important than ever.
It’s also why James Hadley, CEO at Immersive Labs, recommends that CIOs and CTOs invest in cyber security products that educate users how to protect their business: “Gaps in cyber security knowledge meaningfully increase risk to an organisation, creating vulnerability and presenting opportunity for attackers.
“The rapid, constantly evolving threat landscape has made traditional classroom training for cyber skills obsolete.”
As technology advances, so do threats and vulnerabilities within these tools and processes. That means cyber security training and education needs to scale just as fast, yet it often lags behind. Utilising training solutions can help turn employees into experts with the tools they use, to make the most out of a company’s tech opportunities while minimising risk.
Ultimately, good security education improves the effectiveness of any cyber security program and helps a company to take control, as opposed to relying completely on software.
3. Blend home and enterprise technology together
Not all technology is the same. The devices and tools used at home are often not the same as the ones used in the workplace.
Take, for instance, that the average individual uses apps for social networks, music, and games outside of the workplace. These work vastly different in nature than enterprise technology. The jump between the two can be intimidating and confusing, as well. While it’s easy to think that the newer tech-savvy generations won’t have any trouble adopting tools, it isn’t always the case.
Bridging the gap between user-friendly and enterprise-level tech with digital adoption solutions can help improve workplace productivity and engagement, says Rafael Sweary, president and co-founder of WalkMe: “CIOs and CTOs will realize the value of their IT investments. In recent years, companies have made tremendous efforts to migrate to the cloud, but many of these organisations still haven’t reaped the benefits.
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“CIOs and CTOs must also focus on the digital employee experience, as more Millennials come into the workplace. This generation has grown up with user-friendly tech, instead of process-driven enterprise software.”
Indeed, millennials are the most likely age group to leave a job. Integrating easier-to-use tech stacks has the potential to solve this. Digital adoption solutions can make a CTO’s job easier, as they guide users through applications, tools, and procedures to reduce friction and improve familiarity. Ultimately, this type of solution is capable of enhancing the productivity of team members while reducing the time and costs of training.
4. LiFi is the new WiFi
Keeping connected in the digital age is crucial for productivity and communication. But for that to be possible, data and information transfer needs to move just as quickly as an organisation itself.
LiFi is a wireless communications technology that uses LEDs for transmitting data far more rapidly than standard WiFi is capable of. This has the potential to improve the collaboration and work capacity of a business, and Alistair Banham, CEO at pureLiFi, believes that it’s the future.
“Device manufacturers are looking for new ways to provide devices with faster, more reliable and secure connectivity,” he said. “LiFi is the natural next step in the evolution of global wireless communications.”
Furthermore, this technology has been proven to be more cost and energy efficient than WiFi. Businesses can save on their budgets by implementing LiFi in this case. Since these systems use LED bulbs, it provides better security, unlike WiFi which can be easily accessed beyond walls and other objects, as well.
5. Consider the human element in cyber security
Technology has the capability of helping a business become more productive and safe. However, introducing new tools commonly leads to more problems. This is because individuals are using them, thus human errors naturally occur.
While especially common in cyber security, a growing technology called Human Layer Security is a possible solution. This approach uses machine learning to analyse employee email behaviour while flagging anything odd to anticipate and detect threats.
In particular, this technology prevents human-made issues like phishing and data loss. It empowers a team to continue working as normal, while AI operates in the background to prevent communication breaches, notes Tim Sadler, co-founder and CEO at Tessian: “The unsolved problem with enterprise security is people. Historically, organisations have relied on simple rule-based solutions to police complex systems of people, technology, and external partners.
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“But rule-based security has proved inadequate in preventing breaches and a burden to administer.”
Consider that employees today also have more power than ever before. They can transfer millions of dollars to a bank account at the click of a button, or share tens of thousands of customer’s information instantly.
That is why more CTOs and CIOs are focusing on how to improve the human side of enterprise security in 2020.
6. Employ ethical data harvesting methods
Data breaches and privacy concerns have lead customers to become more sensitive with their personal information than ever before. Protecting this data while also being more conscious of how it’s being collected is even becoming a legal requirement.
One such practice that has sprouted from this trend is ethical data harvesting. The practice involves using advanced analytics, machine learning, and other tools to deeply analyse consumer behaviour. This data can then be used to improve the customer experience and identify lucrative trends, says Jason du Preez, CEO at Privitar: “Leading companies have a heightened sense of urgency about safeguarding sensitive, personal information.
“They realize that customer expectations for data privacy are higher than ever and are taking proactive data-privacy measures to maintain customer confidence and trust.”
What makes this approach ethical is that it firstly focuses on remaining compliant with regulations such as GDPR. This is achieved through transparent policies regarding what information may be collected and how it will be used. Secondly, asking for consent with practices like collecting cookies is another key requirement.
Additionally, keeping this information secure is just as important as harvesting it. This can be done through moving customer information to a cloud environment where it is not on local servers.
7. Enhance mobile security through telecom providers
The amount of data on a smartphone is enormous. Everything from banking to personal information and more is stored on these small devices. Nonetheless, just because it’s in your pocket doesn’t mean it’s safe.
Furthermore, while 5G towers offer increased security, and mobile communication networks are advancing, there are still threats to be aware of, Adam Weinberg, CTO at FirstPoint Mobile Guard, reminds us: “Despite claims that the new 5G network will offer increased security for mobile users, initial testing reports have begun to tell us otherwise.
“We found that over 50% of the countries our clients have visited contained at least one fake cell tower designed to infiltrate and extract information from nearby devices.
“Speak to your telecom provider, and understand what security options they can offer you.
Thankfully, carriers are beginning to offer more extensive security features such as data encryption, built-in VPNs, and two-step authentication. These need to become a high priority for employee devices, including phones and tablets which are often travelled with.
Technology moves quickly. As CIOs or CTOs, it’s your responsibility to understand the best way to improve the tech stack your company uses. This also means that staying up to date on the most effective applications needs to be a higher priority. Consider the advice of the above seven experts to make the best choices for what technology to adopt in 2020.