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Technology trends defining the ‘next normal’

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By Harnath Babu, CIO, KPMG India

Since the beginning of COVID-19, businesses have been challenged to adapt to the extraordinary circumstances. And leading this evolution, from the remote working to digital work meetings, is technology.

What, in the last century, we thought about IT as enablement, as the back office or as something that used to support businesses, today it has led to a revolutionary transformation. This is the next normal where your work is wherever you are, your reach spans across the globe, your customers are the key drivers and where technology enhances experience, knowledge as well as performance.

Now spurred by the digital transformation and innovation, as a growing number of organisations across sectors adopt and accelerate their digital strategies, we anticipate the most important advances in tech that are yet to come:

Hyper-automation

Robotics Process Automation (RPA), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML)and Internet of Things (IoT) have already received a lot of buzz in the last decade, but they continue to set the new technology trends because of their notable effects on our work as well as lives.Hyper-automation, driven by these technologies, will increasingly be leveraged to automate legacy business processes – helping organisations save time and efforts whilst unlocking strategic benefits.

A few instances wherein RPA, AI and ML will be used include enhancing personalised user experiences, predicting demand for services across different industries such as healthcare, manufacturing, etc., understanding the changing pattens of consumer behaviour, enabling effective business decisions and driving revenues.

Alongside, the market for IoT is also set to improve as it provides organisations with valuable insights into objects as well as environments that are apparently beyond the reach of internet. We will see more and more business leveraging IoT as it enables organisations and people to be connected to the world whilst focusing on more eloquent, higher-level work.

Not just this, IoT is set to be more pertinent and affordable for businesses, all thanks to the improvements in the last-mile solutions, long-standing batteries, cheaper sensors, etc., as compared to how they were about a decade ago.

Having said that, the need to provide an improved customer experience is also increasing at the same pace as digital transformation is. Businesses have to focus on not only offering easy to use, stable and secured platforms but also bridge the gap between offline and online whilst ensuring a human touch and personalisation.

Virtual Connections

We are set to see the rise of next generation of wireless technologies, including 5G and WiFi6. Thanks to their promising performance improvements including faster network speeds, lower latency and increased data capacity. Adoption of these advanced wireless technologies will help enterprises across industries such as mobility, retail, manufacturing and healthcare transform the way they operate as well as be more resilient.

Hybrid Cloud

Even before, hybrid cloud has been extensively leveraged by enterprises owing to its benefits such as scalability, agility and cost effectiveness. From Software-as-a-Service applications and on-premise solutions through to a mix of public and private clouds, hybrid cloud will continue to support business in striking the right balance for their cloud infrastructure needs.This year, while a layer of resilience will be added, enterprises will now focus on optimising their cloud costs whilst unifying different cloud instances.

Also, as businesses increasingly adopt latest technologies like AI, ML, edge computing, etc., cloud will continue to be an integral part of their digital transformation journey.

Cybersecurity and data privacy

Cybersecurity is evolving just as threats are. As hackers exploited the pandemic to target businesses worldwide, it is imperative for organisations to strengthen their networks, upgrade cybersecurity strategies and expand them to home networks and work-from-home devices.

And as the number of data breaches increases, it has become inevitable for businesses to efficiently manage their data privacy concerns.

Organisations need to refocus on implementing a ‘zero-trust’ approach to security, along with strong identity and access management policies. It also calls for a renewed focus on engaging cloud access security brokers (CASBs) to ensure that applications and data are secure in the cloud.

Connected Workplace and distributed operations

Driven by COVID-19 pandemic, work-from-anywhere cat came out of the bag. And now, 2021 will be the year of hybrid workplace model, where organisations may call employees to spend their time in the office but they are also given the flexibility to work from anywhere.

At the same time, technology will go hand in hand with design thinking for workspaces. We will see smarter spatial planning and innovative touchless design aesthetics – helping shape up a smart and connected workplace. Interactive technologies for remote collaboration, modular rotational floor arrangements to create enclosed/open spaces as per requirements, etc. are some of the trends that will be governing in the near future. While overall, the aim will always remain to enable people to work better, technology in workplaces will now also find its way in securing the health and well-being of the users.

Conclusion

During these uncertain times, one thing was certain: the need for businesses to reassess and rethink their strategies to adapt to the extraordinary circumstances.Now as we look forward, we will see more businesses adopt solutions that will ensure more agility and resiliency.


If you have an interesting article / experience / case study to share, please get in touch with us at [email protected]

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