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Tech trends: ICT in the UK today


The five technology trends underpinning business reinvention
Accelerated digital transformation during the pandemic is widening the digital gap, claims Accenture in its 21st annual Technology Vision report, Leaders Wanted: Masters of Change at a Moment of Truth.

The report finds that leading enterprises with a strong digital core that enables them to pivot in response to changing circumstances are growing revenue five times faster than laggards. Between 2015 and 2018, leading enterprises were growing only two times faster than laggards.

Accenture adds that as companies shift from reacting to the crisis to reinventing what comes next, the future will be shaped by bold, visionary leaders who follow three tenets:

1. Achieve leadership through technology leadership – the era of the fast follower is over; tomorrow’s leaders will be those that put technology at the forefront of their business strategy.
2. Don’t wait for a new normal – tomorrow’s leaders will reinvent and build new realities using radically different mindsets and models.
3. Embrace broader responsibility as global citizens – deliberately design and apply technology to create positive impacts beyond the enterprise to create a more sustainable and inclusive world.

Within this context, the report highlights five technology trends organisations will need to address as they seek to reinvent themselves:

*Stack strategically: architecting a better future. A new era of industry competition is dawning, when companies compete on their IT systems architecture and make business and technology strategies indistinguishable – 89% of executives believe that their organisation’s ability to generate business value will increasingly be based on the capabilities of their technology architecture.

*Mirrored world: the power of massive, intelligent, digital twins. Leaders are building intelligent digital twins to create living models of factories, supply chains, product lifecycles etc.. Bringing together data and intelligence to represent the physical world in a digital space will unlock new opportunities to operate, collaborate, and innovate – 65% of executives expect their organisation’s investment in intelligent digital twins to increase over the next three years.

*I, technologist: the democratisation of technology. Powerful capabilities are now available to people across business functions, adding a grassroots layer to enterprises’ innovation strategies. Now, every employee can be an innovator, optimising their work, fixing pain points and keeping the business in lockstep with new and changing needs – 88% of executives believe technology democratisation is becoming critical to their ability to ignite innovation across their organisation.

*Anywhere, everywhere: bring your own environment. The biggest workforce shift in memory has positioned businesses to expand the boundaries of the enterprise. With ‘bring your own environment’, people are free to work seamlessly from anywhere – home, office, airport, partners’ offices. Leaders can rethink the purpose of working at each location and reimagine their business – 81% of executives agree that leading organisations will start shifting from a ‘Bring Your Own Device’ to a ‘Bring Your Own Environment’ approach.

*From me to we: a multiparty system’s path through chaos. Multiparty systems can help businesses gain greater resilience and adaptability, unlock new ways to approach the market and set new, ecosystem-forward standards for their industries – 90% of executives surveyed state that multiparty systems will enable their ecosystems to forge a more resilient and adaptable foundation to create new value with their organisation’s partners.


Businesses not as agile as CEOs think


ServiceNow warns that European businesses are over-estimating their agility, following a survey of 873 senior decision-makers in 10 European countries.

This shows that while over half of European businesses claim to be very or extremely agile, most businesses across Europe are only at the start of their agility journeys.

A model developed by IDC to measure progress against five types of organisational agility (leadership, structural, process, portfolio and technology) reveals that only 21% of businesses are in the top two tiers of agility readiness – ‘synchronised’ or ‘agile’.

Almost half (45%) of businesses are categorised as ‘in motion’, in the middle of the journey, while 34% sit in the lower tiers of ‘static’ or ‘disconnected’.

Almost three quarters (72%) of senior decision-makers, and 90% of CEOs, see agility as critical in driving business performance and growth.

IDC’s research suggests they are right to do so:

*65% of business leaders in businesses categorised as agile or synchronised say they are either recovering or returning to growth, compared to just 30% of those in the lowest two tiers.
*53% of agile businesses performed excellently in terms of customer experience, compared to just 16% of organisations overall, due to flexible operating models that enable them to pivot to customer preferences and continuously integrate their feedback.
*Agile companies outperform the market average by 10% with respect to talent attraction and retention.
*47% of agile organisations consider themselves best-in class in time-to-market compared to an average of 13% across all European businesses.
*36% of agile businesses report an excellent market performance measured in market share wins compared to a European average of 15%.

FMs attitudes put business survival at risk

Facilities managers’ outdated attitudes to technology are at risk of jeopardising future business survival, with 71% of FM industry C-suite executives, directors and senior managers expressing scepticism about the benefits of implementing new business technology. The Connected Enterprise report by digital transformation expert Sigma Dynamics reveals that 64% of FMs are doubtful that technology improves efficiency, 71% question its ability to improve productivity and 79% question its positive impact on customer relationships. Even so, just 8% believe the traditional way of operating is more effective.


SD-WAN still in early adopter phase
The latest WAN Market Size Report from telecommunications market research and consulting firm TeleGeography reveals that while new software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) services are gaining traction, enterprise spend in the $75.9 billion wide area networking (WAN) market is still dominated by MPLS and Local Access services.

It notes that MPLS spend in 2020 was $32.6 billion, representing 43% of the WAN market, with SD-WAN accounting for only $1.6 billion or 2.15% of the market.

After MPLS, demand was biggest for Local Access, with $28.9 billion in total spend or 38.2% of the market, and Direct Internet Access (DIA), with $12.4 billion in spend or 16.33% of the market. Broadband’s contribution to WAN spend was just $279 million, or 0.37% of the market, largely due to its low-cost pricing.

TeleGeography analyst Elizabeth Thorne said: “As the migration from MPLS to SD-WAN continues, we expect the global WAN market to achieve greater balance in the coming years. Despite the hype around SD-WAN, MPLS is still a force in the WAN market, and it will continue to be a preferred option for many enterprises. Our expectation is that as MPLS spend declines, broadband, DIA and SD-WAN will increase market share. SD-WAN uptake is still toward the end of the early adopter cycle.”

Dedicated managed connections in demand as home working looks set to continue

More than two thirds (68%) of organisations would provide homeworkers with a dedicated, managed connection to their corporate network to make it easier for employees to work from home, reveals new research from Daisy Corporate Services (DCS).

More than four out of five (85%) of the 350 senior employees surveyed by the provider of secure IT, communications and cloud services expect up to half of their employees to continue to work from home over the next year, with almost a quarter of organisations expecting to downsize their office space as a result.

The biggest technology challenges respondents have encountered with remote working to date are shared broadband connections (40%), cybersecurity risks (40%) and connectivity performance (39%).

Richard Beeston, Product Director at DCS, believes that organisations can no longer expect homeworkers to ‘get by’ using their existing Internet connectivity. He said: “As homeworking models mature, we’d expect to see increased investments in connectivity and security as remote access to systems, applications and data becomes the norm.”

Almost half (46%) of respondents to the DCS survey said that cybersecurity risk management of remote workers was an essential part of ongoing homeworking strategies. Areas of investment for the next 12 months include protection against data theft (cited by 60%), VPN (48%), recovery from a cyber breach (47%) and penetration testing (41%).


The forgotten victims of data breaches

F Secure

Analysis by F-Secure highlights the impact that large-scale data breaches have on individuals and families that use affected online services. The Walking Breached: How Data Breaches put People at Risk of Cyber Crime shows that while nearly 3 out of 10 respondents to F-Secure surveys have experienced some form of cyber-crime in the previous 12 months (e.g.malware/virus infections, unauthorised access to email or social media accounts, credit card fraud, cyber bullying), cyber-crime was three times as common among those who used an online service that had been breached (60% versus 22%). the-walking-breached/

Time to demystify cyber security, says Kaspersky

Kaspersky is calling on security vendors to demystify cybersecurity following research highlighting a disconnect between business leaders and vendors, which it warns is leading to flaws in cyber-defences.

In recent research by the company, 63% of business leaders said cybersecurity messages from vendors are too complicated to convey to the wider business, with almost 60% saying it would take up too much time and resources to attempt to do so. A similar number say the information they receive isn’t relevant to their business.

Kaspersky says this matters because it prevents businesses from addressing employees’ risky behaviour. In a separate survey, more than a quarter of workers admitted to bypassing security measures to download unauthorised software, with 30% connecting to a mobile hotspot to do so and almost a third believing an employer’s security protocols are less important when working from home.

Kaspersky advises vendors and organisations to start closing the gap by:

*Enforcing strong passwords and updating them when required;
*Making sure that employees who work remotely use a corporate VPN;
*Carrying out regular updates on laptops and devices;
*Ensuring employees store data in one place so that, if a system is compromised, data can be retrieved much more easily;
*Ensuring important data is encrypted;
*Ensuring that data is regularly backed up;
*Ensuring that staff apply network encryption and a strong administrator password to their routers; and
*Limiting how often staff carry out personal tasks, such as banking or personal email, on work devices.

Continued tomorrow……

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