The numbers are in, and they are not surprising. Remote working is not a passing trend or a temporary fix.
According to a March 2020 Gartner survey,i 74% of CFO respondents said they would move at least 5% of previously on-site workers to permanently remote positions, while 23% planned to move at least 20% of on-site to working remote full-time. Another Gartner survey in April 2020,ii revealed that 41% of employees would be working remotely at least some of the time post-pandemic.
The Future is About More Than Enabling a Remote Workforce
The shift to remote working is challenging for organizations that still operate with legacy systems never designed for remote access. Further, when employees use their own devices to access corporate networks and data, it presents a very real security risk ranging from data breaches to ransomware attacks.
However, there are other challenges that compound the issues surrounding remote workers.
For example, legacy technology stacks cannot support new technologies that enhance service, strategy, and overall operations such as artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT).
AI and IoT tools enable organizations to gather and analyze immense volumes of data to uncover underlying patterns that lead to better decision making; understanding and predicting human behavior; and improving and optimizing operations. Boston Consulting Group advises, regardless of their starting point, companies must look beyond the COVID-19 crisis and begin focusing on transformations that put AI at their core. “Organizations should migrate away from legacy enterprise resource planning (ERP) platforms, with modules that typically are poorly interfaced, toward data management centers of excellence that pool and provide data throughout the organization.” iii
Another issue companies face is a shortage of skilled technology workers needed to implement bigger changes. A Harvey Nash/KPMG survey shows tech skills shortages are at an all-time high, and the three most scarce skills are big data/analytics, cyber security, and AI.iv Every organization, no matter what size, will have to act quickly to acquire the skills, capabilities, and ways of working needed to build a technology stack that stands up to the future.
Five Fundamentals for the Technology Stack of the Future
If we’ve learned one thing in 2020, it is that having the right technology in place is key to both surviving in uncertain times and thriving in the best of times.
For companies that have already embraced digital transformation and restructured your business around cloud services, mobility, and analytics, the journey is well underway. However, for those that are behind and need some inspiration to get out of the starting gate, here are the fundamentals of a technology stack/system that will help address issues of today – and tomorrow.
Hides Complexity Beneath a Veneer of Simplicity
The iPhone is a perfect example of this concept. We don’t care how it works – it just does. And the same should go for the foundational platform your business operates on. The fundamental principle of a good system is that it brings order, simplicity, and coherence to what may currently be chaotic, random, and unmanageable. The best system works because it is consistent and predictable and includes a common data service that allows for the secure storage and management of data.
Connects Workers, Applications and Data
Forget silos. Connectivity will be table stakes. A connected business can accomplish what was before deemed impossible and use technology to drive progress across the pillars of digital transformation: operational efficiency, customer intimacy, employee empowerment, and product innovation. Technology solutions for a connected business includes cloud, platforms, devices, applications, security, and data insights.
Has Security, Privacy and Trust as its Foundation
Security and privacy issues will never go away. So, a technology stack that includes security features within each layer will be necessary to protecting critical data and business continuity. For example, Microsoft invests more than a $1 billion a year and employs more than 3,500 security experts to protect information on its Azure platform, and all Microsoft Dynamics 365 applications have built-in security including ransomware versioning.
Includes Managed Services Adoption
Three trends are setting the stage for organizations to outsource at least some of its technology. 1) The deficit in skilled IT workers. 2) The growing volume of resources required just to “keep the lights on,” as 77% of staff time is spent on support and maintenance. 3) A compounding reliance on increasingly complex technology for business success. Offloading the maintenance and security requirements alone will allow staff to focus on more strategic projects. In addition, it makes sense for many organizations to tap experts when it comes to consulting, architecture, deployment, and deskside support.
Embraces and Democratizes Artificial Intelligence
AI represents a broad range of technologies that can perceive, learn, reason, assist in decision-making, and act to help solve problems. AI technology continually learns from user interactions and organizational data to provide better insights. When organizations rely on analysts or specialists to gather these insights, it impedes the success of the entire organization. A future-focused system allows organizations to unify data across the business that can be used to empower every employee to do their job better. For example, Microsoft Finance Insights give the entire accounting and finance team AI at their fingertips with built-in AI tools that enable proactive collections through payment predictions, easier budget creation using intelligent budget proposals and more accurate cash flow management using intelligent forecasting.
No matter what is happening with the economy, your industry, or the world, your business’s technology will need to evolve. Having a stack (or system) in place with these five fundamentals allows for the adaptability, flexibility, and scalability organizations need to survive and thrive today and in future.
Want to learn more about designing a technology stack for the future? Velosio has insight and experience that helps organizations of all sizes move with confidence on their digital journey. We deliver fresh ideas and unmatched know-how that help you accelerate time to market and enhance implementations with our range of services.