What CIOs need to know about the 2018 game changers

Wednesday, 4 April 2018 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

By Esmond Tong

It is no secret that cloud is a major game changer, acting as a catalyst for the arrival and adoption of a whole host of disruptive new emerging business technologies. Chatbots, artificial intelligence and blockchain promise new opportunities for businesses growth by driving personalised engagements, delivering new sources of revenue, and reducing service and infrastructure costs. 

With so much change happening so rapidly, what do CIOs need to know about the key emerging technologies as they seek to ensure they successfully support the business?

The Artificial intelligence 

(AI) boost

Humans can’t keep up. Organisations are struggling to make sense of the rapid proliferation of data – across Finance, HR, Sales or Marketing systems or in Operations around systems management and security. 

While AI promises an answer, serious implementations are currently few and far between; according to McKinsey only 20% of AI-aware firms say they are currently adopters of the technology, and as Forrester says in its Predictions 2018: The Honeymoon For AI Is Over report, moving beyond the hype will require hard work around planning, deploying and governing it correctly. 

As an alternative, companies should consider the 25% of enterprise applications and other cloud tools that we believe will include a custom AI-based capability by 2020 .These will allow organisations to take advantage of all the benefits of AI, without having to develop the specialised skills to play with it. 

Automation, everywhere

You can barely read about AI without it being twinned with another hot topic: automation.  Forrester predicts this market will accelerate faster in 2018 as firms look to squeeze performance and insights out of previously commodity operations. 

Automation will help organisations to spot performance irregularities and identify security risks in real-time and potentially, entirely remove human error; we conservatively expect operations currently experiencing 20,000 human-managed interventions per year to soon fall to just 20human-managed interventions each year and more than half of all enterprise data will be managed autonomously in the cloud by 2020 .

Chatbots take over customer support 

Chatbots have evolved to full conversational interfaces for accessing information and conducting business transactions, and are proving a fantastic tool for enhancing customer service and increasing productivity. 

With increasingly sophisticated conversational platforms arriving, it is expected that most customer support interactions will be handled by intelligent chatbots by 2020 .

It is critical to get them right though, one small linguistic slip and the whole conversation can come crashing down. One poll saw nearly three quarters of respondents saying they would not use a chatbot again following a negative experience. 

Blockchain will disrupt, and more than just finance

Another disruptive technology force, blockchain,is transforming the global financial industry, amongst others. Already, more than 2,500 new blockchain-related patents have been filed, and its financial impact is predicted to top US$176 billion by 2025 .

It’s still early days though.  At the end of 2017, Deloitte reported that only 8% of 27,000 new blockchain projects that surfaced in the market in 2016 remained active.  

Things are changing.  Enterprise class cloud services are arriving and30% of blockchain proof-of-concepts are expected to get approval , showing it certainly has the potential to become the disruptive standard in multi-party and complex agreement commerce. Financial services and supply chains will lead the way, followed by healthcare, retail, and the public sector. 

IoT will finally get integrated

Gartner’s technology predictions for 2018 predicted the proliferation intelligent things proliferate, driving a ‘shift from stand-alone intelligent things to a swarm of collaborative intelligent things’. 

While more than 50 billion connected devices are already in circulation today, only 1% of IoT data is currently analysed and utilised and the focus is on devices and connectivity—not business outcomes and action . This trend is fast changing. 

It is predicted that by 2020, 60% of unutilised IoT (internet of Things) projects will be revalidated with a business outcome approach . IoT projects will then operate as holistic mobile and cloud platforms, allowing users and processes to act on information collected in real time. 

Security will 

move from job ten to job one

Underpinning all these technologies is the need for strong security.  The challenge is that organisations are not getting better at security; they are getting worse. They’re also facing increasing pressure in this area from the arrival of new regulations such as GDPR, along with the associated penalties for failure.

The cloud, mobile and edge technologies like IoT are creating a ‘borderless enterprise’, and the increasing speed and sophistication of cybercrime has made it difficult for many organisations to detect and respond to modern cyberattacks. In fact, by 2020, it is predicted that operating on-premises environments will present the greatest risk to your data .

Companies need to revisit their security practices and take advantage of new, comprehensive cloud security management offerings that include AI and automation capabilities to help  detect and fix vulnerabilities, encrypt your data, and conduct regular patches throughout the stack. 

Cloud comes of age

The other foundational requirement for all of these emerging technologies is cloud and 2018 is likely to be the year when cloud really comes of age.  

Last year’s stats showed that 85percent of enterprises around the globe had a multi-cloud strategy . While complex regulatory requirements have challenged public and private sector organisations migrating to public cloud environments, modern solutions, which deliver the scalability and extendibility mean these challenges are being overcome. With these innovations, it is predicted that even regulated industries will shift 50% of their production workloads to the cloud by 2020 .

Organisations aren’t just shifting the old to the cloud, they are using it to create the new – and extend existing applications – by using the cloud for development.  Over the next few years, industry analysts predict that enterprise applications will widely adopt cloud-native architectures.

In fact, businesses should be burning with excitement about the opportunities ahead in 2018, with products and tools around technologies such as blockchain, chatbots, serverless functions, and machine learning becoming mature enough for real-world projects. 

(The writer is Vice President, Platform Cloud, Oracle APAC.)


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