Changing. We all agree that this is the word from last year.
This is the word that contains and explains all the most searched words on Google, but also used in a year like 2020. That is why only those who force themselves to follow the current will be able to avoid drowning by letting themselves be carried away by the raging river.
Second Gartner, in 2021 there will be three main trends in the world of work: centrality of the person, independence from the workplace, flexibility in deliveries.
- Centrality of the person: people have always been at the centre of every business, the way we interact has changed, we continue to do so and new digital processes can help us in this.
- Independence from the workplace: the future of work is now agile, it took a pandemic to fully understand this. Being increasingly independent of the physical workplace will require a major technological change.
- Flexibility in deliveries: work will increasingly emphasise quality over quantity, so it will be natural to become more flexible in order to work better.
So what are the technological trends to be followed to face the future?
Let us get to know them better and understand why they can all be mutually dependent and mutually reinforcing.
1. Internet of Behaviors
Internet of Behaviors (IoB) refers to a range of data collected by digital devices of various types, from customer data to social media to facial recognition, which can be used by public bodies or private companies to influence behaviour.
In the transport sector, in-vehicle sensors can provide important information about a driver's driving style, which can be used to improve performance and safety. In the workplace, sensors and vision tools can provide information to employees (or customers in a shop) about whether they are wearing protective equipment correctly. Data from wearable devices can give important information to doctors about the lifestyle of their patients. Finally, data collected at the point of sale can be important indicators to influence purchases. This system may have social and ethical repercussions, but it has the potential to be a great tool.
2. Total Experience
Total Experience refers to a new type of User Experience that combines disciplines such as multi-experience, customer experience, employee experience and creates a single, comprehensive experience. This simplifies the experience for everyone, but also offers a great opportunity to differentiate an organisation from its competitors, as it is an extremely complicated system to replicate.
Practical examples would be applications that allow you to book appointments with a system that alerts customers arriving within a 75-metre radius, who receive a notification guiding them through the check-in process and one informing them of the time they will have to wait to be served. Then there is the cobrowsing experience, i.e. access to the same page by both employee and customer.
3. Privacy-enhancing computation
Gartner claims that within the next four years, 50% of large companies will implement privacy and data protection technologies. There are three types of technologies that improve privacy and protect data as they are used to enable secure processing and analysis:
- The first provides a reliable environment, secure tools in which sensitive data are processed or analysed.
- The second performs processing and analysis in a decentralised way, to reduce the control of the individual company. It includes federated machine learning and privacy-aware machine learning.
- The third transforms data and algorithms before processing or analysis. It includes, for example, differential privacy, homomorphic encryption and secure multiparty computation.
4. Distributed cloud
The distributed cloud provides public clouds in different physical locations. Thus, the organisation maintains, manages and evolves the services, but executes them physically when needed. This is useful to limit latency issues, but also problems due to privacy regulations that require some data to remain in a specific geographical location. There are various modes of distributed cloud:
- On-premises public cloud: a popular offering but offering only a fraction of the vendor's full suite.
- Internet of Things edge cloud: distributed services that interact directly with edge devices.
- Metro-area community cloud: distribution of the cloud to nodes in a city or metropolitan area that connect to multiple clients.
- 5G mobile edge cloud: provision of distributed clouds as part of a 5G network.
- Global network edge cloud: provision of cloud services designed to integrate with global network infrastructure such as repeaters, hubs and routers.
5. Anywhere operations
Anywhere operations refers to an IT operating model designed to support customers and empower employees anywhere by managing the delivery of business services through distributed infrastructure. The model must provide a continuous and scalable digital experience, which requires changes in technology infrastructure, management practices, security and governance policies, and employee and customer engagement models.
The new operating model consists of five elements:
- Collaboration and productivity: meeting solutions, office suites in the cloud, digital whiteboards and intelligent workspaces.
- Secure remote access: passwordless and multi-factor authentication, secure service edge access and identity as a new security perimeter.
- Cloud and edge infrastructure: distributed cloud, IoT, API gateways.
- Quantifying the digital experience: workplace analytics, remote support and contactless interactions.
- Automation to support remote operations: Endpoint management, SaaS management platforms.
6. Cybersecurity mesh
The pandemic has helped to expand the physical boundaries of the company and most assets and devices are now located outside traditional security parameters.
Cybersecurity mesh allows any person or device to securely access and use any digital resource, wherever they are, while providing the necessary level of security. As organisations convert business to digital channels, security must keep pace with the change.
7. Intelligent composable business
When the pandemic struck, organisations struggled to adapt quickly to the new reality. This is what is meant by intelligent composable business; a business that can reorganise itself according to the situation at hand. In fact, in order to rebuild business processes it is necessary to design an architecture that: allows better access to information, augments that information with new insights, is composable, modular and can change and respond more quickly in decision-making. Technology platforms must change to deliver personalised application experiences. Application providers' products must change from single solutions to pre-assembled collections. Business units must change from implementing pre-packaged applications to assembling capabilities that provide more role-specific application experiences.
8. AI engineering
The term AI engineering refers to the tendency to develop strategies that can facilitate the integration and harmonisation of different artificial intelligence models and solutions in the company, in order to improve their performance, scalability, ability to interpret results and response reliability.
A solid AI engineering strategy will become fundamental and will be conceived as part of a process focused on communication and collaboration between developers and IT managers.
Hyperautomation is a process in which companies automate as many business and IT processes as possible using tools such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and robotic process automation.
Hyperautomation is the key to both digital operational excellence and operational resilience for organisations. To enable this, organisations will need to increasingly digitise their documents and ensure that their business process and IT workflows are digital.