In 2017, security breaches in corporate America affected not only some of the nation’s largest companies but an unprecedented number of ordinary citizens. Remote work is an expanding option in a growing number of industries. 8.4 billion smart devices were active in the year 2017 and connected to the internet. These numbers continue to rise.
Business just isn’t carried out the same way anymore. While executives still appreciate the personal touch of face to face communication, there is no denying the increasing reliance on video-based telecommunications. The internet has left its mark on every industry. Your organization’s technology and processes should reflect the changing face of business if you want to keep up with these significant trends.
Internet of Things and Mobility
According to IDC, global spending on the Internet of Things is expected to reach $772.5 billion in 2018. That’s a nearly 15% increase from 2017. While certain IoT gadgets seem like the latest gimmick, such as web-connected light switches in your apartment or an Amazon Echo in the breakroom, many marketplaces are finding industry-specific use cases for these tools, such as in Banking. According to thefinancialbrand.com, “More advanced IoT implementations include the ability to conduct basic banking using wearables (smart watches or fitness bands) and voice-first devices (Amazon’s Echo), the integration of invisible payments in transportation (Uber)[…]”
Being able to connect from anywhere to anywhere at any time and on the go was unheard of not long ago. Now being able to connect without even thinking about it is becoming a reality. More and more software is available with a mobile app component. Android and Linux are more ubiquitous now than ever, and they are being used to power a number of small devices that connect to the internet. IoT isn’t for every company, but you will be surprised at the range of use cases for this technology.
Remote Work Increasing
In more than half of major U.S. cities, remote work now has surpassed public transportation as the commute option of choice. It is growing far faster than any other form of commute. What is making this possible? More than anything, Software as a Service (SaaS) is responsible for the growing number of officer workers taking care of business right from home. Why work from home? According to Global Workplace Analytics, “Employers can save over $11,000 per half-time telecommuter per year.” No lighting, heating, AC, power, or rental costs. When you have half your employees working from home (or all of them working from home half the time), the costs of accommodating those bodies in the office drops significantly. Additionally, employees who don’t commute daily for work can save thousands every year, granting them more spending power than if they were stuck in traffic every day. Why wake your employees early for a long commute when they can get more sleep sleep and hop on at 8am, good to go?
When your workforce isn’t at the office, SaaS is essential. Cloud storage and web apps become the bread and butter of your office’s productivity. Use a video conferencing tool to connect with your team throughout the day or hold the weekly company-wide meeting. Purchase a business process management system in order to send documents to one another from afar. Many multi-use systems today include BPM as a matter of course. Your team can send, edit, approve, and archive or release a document as if they were handing off these files in person.
Where is the Cloud today?
Web-based applications use the computing power of the host’s servers, coupled with your internet connection. Some software is changing to web-based only, which means that if you want to use that software efficiently, you need a halfway decent internet connection. Some companies are even hosting web apps on-premise instead of using the software provider’s server. Either way, it is important to ensure faster webs speeds for your employees who work from home. This may mean subsidizing their internet bill or encouraging teams to work from local cafes or libraries that have higher tier internet packages.
Business is being taken care of in the cloud. It’s also being stored in the cloud. Companies that formerly only offered website hosting services now offer program hosting, cloud computing, web app development platforms, and more. Other hosting companies are splitting up their offerings into microservices. This concept will either make your wallet groan or put dollar signs in your eyes. Hosting services are becoming more granular. Offering less at a higher price and then bundling these services at still higher prices than the initial software. It is an interesting side effect of a market that is steadily becoming saturated. Be mindful of what you’re paying for. Shop around for the best vendors. They’ll usually be the guys who are offering a strong core product with optional modules for fringe use cases.
Blockchain is the word on everyone’s lips. As web-based tools and storage solutions proliferate, the chances of getting hacked skyrocket. Cloud means more data being sent over the web. More points of access. More chances for hackers to detect yours or your team’s online activity and to trip you up. The more sophisticated blockchain becomes, the more companies eye it as a solution to their security problems. The technology behind its modern form is open source, and no other technology provides the same measure of accountability. Many IT professionals are weighing to storage requirements of blockchain. The more a file is handled, the longer the chain attached to that file becomes. But with file compression methods of today, it is conceivable that the storage question will be answered any day now. And blockchain itself will likely be the answer to cloud-based file storage security.
What about security for IoT devices? Some are not even password protected. Most that are the same product line all come with the same default password, which owners are loathe to spend time resetting. There are, however, Internet of Things products which come with a mandatory password change prompt as soon as you sign into or boot up the system. Owners will find that they can’t even use the device without creating a new login. IT professionals should be aware, though, that not all IoT gadgets work this way. As the technology rapidly expands in the workplace, it becomes even more important to encourage secure workplace best practices.
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
According to a 2018 survey by NewVantage, 97.2% of executives said that their companies are investing in sizeable big data and AI projects. Machine learning programs are not only able to parse colossal data sets, they can also improve their algorithms by sorting and reading this data. For very large companies, that receive petabytes of data every day, this is the sort of information that needs to be handled by programs. Yet some companies find that their data is not only created exclusively by humans, it also needs to be touched by humans throughout its lifecycle. This is where intelligent workflows and business process management come in.
Robust Enterprise Content Management solutions will feature a business process tool. A rules-based workflow designed by administrators in your organization with a set of steps for each file type or index value. When a document is scanned or uploaded into the system, if it fits the parameters, the system handles it according to the steps. The document will be sent to the right people who either need to edit it, leave a note, approve, reject, or pass it on. And with document retention features, you never have to worry about saving or purging files according to industry compliance once you’ve configured the system.
2018 and Beyond
We’re a digital business solutions provider. Our specialty is staying on top of the latest technology and keeping ahead of the trends. 2018 is in some ways a reactionary year to the data breaches and tech advancements that occurred last year. But it is also a year for fresh starts and new projects. Our ECM, Contentverse, is getting a fresh start too. As the internet shapes the business landscape, we will continue to take heed and develop our software to match the innovative pace at which the rest of the globe is sprinting.
Keep pace along with us. Check in on the Computhink tech blog. We post weekly about business, office life, technology, and the enterprise solutions industry.