As we emerge from the Covid crisis, the landscape seems likely to evolve even further, especially with fibre optic and 4G well embedded and 5G capability in the mix.
Our previous article on end user devices touched on the response of tech giants to the new global working reality. The 2020 pandemic has presented a sharp learning curve for bosses and IT leaders, with 93% of large firms turning to telework, and half of all British companies redeploying the bulk of their staff to home working (Reuters). But it has also transformed our expectations of barrier free working, creating new possibilities for the future. So, what does the software landscape promise as we move forward? Read on to explore:
- The role of Cloud capabilities in driving new working innovations.
- The challenge of marrying barrier free working with legacy systems.
- Why IT must shift its mindset and take an end-to-end view across the supply chain.
Since its early 1990s iterations, Cloud computing has gobbled up the market share at pace. Gartner reported in April 2019 that they expected worldwide public Cloud revenue to grow by 17.5%. Through 2022, the same report said, the Cloud service industry is expected to expand at three times the rate of other IT services.
As we emerge from the Covid crisis, the landscape seems likely to evolve even further, especially with fibre optic and 4G well embedded and 5G capability in the mix. But it’s not just connectivity that is changing the game. Developers and disruptors are adept at anticipating expectations with innovative tools that we might not even know we need yet. The Cloud is driving opportunities to harness emerging technology without heavy, on-premise infrastructure. This presents an exciting prospect – as does the shift from licensed to more flexible subscription services. Depending on how your organisation tackles recovery, Covid’s influence on working practices – coupled with new technology capabilities – may drive more, not less, productivity.
The Legacy Conundrum
Agility and innovation have been buzzwords for years now. The reality of commercially surviving the pandemic, though, has motivated many businesses to stop paying lip service and get serious. Across the IT portfolio, as Service solution strategies have gathered pace, many organisations have risen to the challenge, adapting infrastructure, connectivity, device portfolios and service models to weather the immediate storm.
Of course, the tech giants are playing a crucial role in rolling out front end updates. That’s particularly the case with collaboration. Teams, Zoom and Google Hangouts (to name a few) have morphed from tomorrow’s emerging technology to today’s pre-requisite. Remote working and collaboration are streamlined, feature rich and intuitive. But the need to modernise quickly (and ultimately move away from) legacy infrastructure, as well as future-proofing newer systems and applications, risks an ungainly scramble for IT. Instead, a period of fast – yet measured – consolidation is needed. A balance must be struck between retrospective governance and forward-looking agility and best practice.
Shifting the IT Strategy Mindset
Where you are on this journey will depend to some extent on the nature of your sector, organisation, and lockdown response. Certain sectors (for example, eCommerce and FinTech), have seen demand spike, but here we might expect a slowing or even return to pre-pandemic conditions. For others (for instance, automotive and construction) a pent-up demand is likely to hit as the crisis subsides. Here, there is a chance to pro-actively strategise around what tools and technologies might be required to meet that demand. Now is the time to address infrastructure to support not just the software, but the end user and the entire supply chain. Intelligent businesses will pay special attention to the last. In the post-Covid reality, we haven’t just shifted our perceptions of home working. We have also well and truly settled into always-on living. Adopting the right architecture to connect and support end users, suppliers, stakeholders, and customers is today’s priority to win the competitive edge.
IT will need to step outside its comfort zone, adapting its mindset from a departmental and organisational view to a holistic perspective. Users need their working tech to be on demand, intuitive, accessible, and free from legacy related silos. Businesses expect the digital strategy to facilitate productive, collaborative, competitive working. In the middle, IT is charged with the responsibility of making all that happen, whilst also mitigating risk, controlling costs, and optimising the technology portfolio.
So, even in these strange new times, Enterprise Architecture must underpin the IT strategy. Working with the business and across the supply chain to anticipate the next advances, build new services and input the standards, principles, and governance frameworks to render them fit for purpose is a must. The path may not be easy. But, for those bold enough to turn the post-Covid reality into an opportunity, the rewards are there for the taking.
Author: Jagjeet Pandha