Apathy killing off interest in govt datacentres

Mistrust, lack
of resources 

Apathy hovers over
govt datacentres.

Thursday, Feb 27th

2020 sees an evolution of 2019's trends

A lot of the trends that were highlighted at the end of 2019 will continue into 2020, says Deirdre Fryer, Regional Product Manager for Africa at SYSPRO. It's just the roll-out that's shifted.

Technology is never going away and its adoption is crucial to business success. It's integrated into our daily lives and should be a key priority for business today. "I love that we're seeing so many entrepreneurs, SMEs and new businesses bringing a fresh and innovative approach. They aren't scared to change a paradigm and do things completely differently because they have nothing to lose – but huge potential successes to make. This is great for disruption, it makes us look at things in a new way."

Having said that, the nature of business is becoming increasingly competitive. If you consider the manufacturing sector, they don't only compete against local manufacturers, but also international manufacturers with higher throughput. Today, businesses don't have one or two competitors anymore, they have hundreds and maybe even thousands of competitors. "When you look at moving from trying to manage one-on-one to one-on-many, it becomes apparent that doing this without technology is almost impossible because you need a system and technology to help you mine that and manage it. You aren't just dealing with 500 local customers, you could be dealing with five million worldwide, which is very different to manage.

"Technology helps businesses such as manufacturers and distributors manage at much bigger scales and volumes and deal with the accompanying complexity, which is why I say that technology is a key requirement for all types of business."

What customers want

One important trend is the way the customer's power has shifted. The customers have always been king, they must get what they want as soon as possible. However, until recently, businesses have always pushed their solutions to the customers, and it was up to them whether they wanted them or not. This has shifted in most industries, where the customer is starting to tell business what they want and, if they don't give it to them, they stand to lose that customer. There's a move from business pushing a product to the customer pulling a product.

However, the challenge goes beyond having what the customer wants. Because they also want it personalised, customised and in their own timeframe. Customers are setting deliverables and requirements so businesses need to be more agile, flexible and willing to accommodate their requests. "This is again where technology becomes so important," says Fryer. "To achieve delivery on a one-to-one scale is relatively simple; however, on a one-to-many scale, technology enablers should be in place."

IOT front of mind

IDC predicts that by the end of 2021, half of all manufacturing supply chains will have invested in supply chain resiliency and artificial intelligence, resulting in productivity improvements of 15%. As a result, and owing to the complexity created by shifts in business, IOT is still going to be at the top of the agenda going into 2020. Integration across the supply chain is an important contributor to achieving the required throughput and the productivity improvements that business is hoping to achieve. So IOT remains a top focus and a continuing trend.

Blockchain rules

A key finding from IDC states that manufacturers globally are being driven by increased requirements for sustainability. By 2025, 30% of manufacturers will be using blockchain and IOT to provide reliable provenance, leading to a 90% increase in audit efficiency.

The use of blockchain to enable the integration and stabilisation of the supply chain to improve process and efficiency is on the rise. Blockchain adoption is not just about integrating the supply chain within the company, but end-to-end from supplier to manufacturer to distributor to end-consumer. "For 2020, we're going to increase the focus on end-to-end supply chain improvements. IOT assists with internal integration, blockchain will help with end-to-end demand."

More IT spend on cloud

BMI-TechKnowledge says 63% of ICT budgets will be increasing in 2020, with spend focused on enabling businesses' cloud journey. While South African and African companies all want to go to the cloud, a shift is happening and a growing realisation that not everything has to be in the cloud. The move is towards hybrid cloud rather than full cloud and this trend will increase in 2020, with more application adoption suited to hybrid cloud coming through.

Business claims 50% hybrid cloud adoption, with 16% fully deployed in the public cloud. Cloud adoption is impacted by bandwidth and accessibility in certain areas as not all regions are geared towards cloud. "This is why hybrid cloud makes good business sense. The shift is towards really making sure the right business tools and products are in the right space, whether on-premises or in the cloud, and getting that hybrid mix improved."

Mobility is the norm

Mobility is a de facto part of all businesses and, as such, has a key place on any trends list. SYSPRO's 2019 study with World Wide Worx highlighted that 42% of companies reported that employees were away from their desks, on average, around two to three times a day, probably taking their devices along with them to work on the go.

It speaks to the fact that we're starting to see businesses assess whether they even need a physical premises any more. Is it strictly necessary? "Anything that's geared towards mobility will have success in the marketplace. Look at the adoption of MS Teams – it speaks to the need for collaboration regardless of your location, and the need to have remote access to your resources, teams and information."

If you consider the proliferation of open workspaces, SMEs can pop up a room anywhere and work from there. "Nobody questions your physical location anymore, you don't need to physically have an office. We'll continue to see mobility being a key driver of applications going forward. We'll see mobile apps and devices become more prolific and continue to expand," she predicts.

Tech smart

Finally, all role-players in a business need to understand technology. This doesn't mean they all need to know how to code, because business applications are increasingly becoming low-code based so that a process can be changed without having to develop new code. Anyone can change a process with a click of their mouse, implementing the flexibility that businesses require.

However, software and technology can only do so much. There's a big drive to develop education and knowledge around technology and to create the understanding that every role-player in a business needs some level of tech savvy because it's becoming so engrained in everything that we touch. For example, accountants are becoming business advisors based on accounting results, to the point where accounting curriculums are now including technology as part of the coursework.

Everyone needs to have a broad-based understanding of what technology does, what it's capable of and the value it brings to processes and the business. This will flow through to every single role, the need to identify with technology and ensure they're technologically aware. "The challenge for people who resist going this route is that with the advent of the fourth industrial revolution, individuals should want to be in a position to evolve their roles. People tend to hold on to knowledge because they worry that if their role is reinvented, they won't be able to do it anymore – or that someone else will do it for them. This is why it's so vital for people to make themselves technologically savvy, because it will keep them relevant and adding value to the business."

Fryer concludes: "Customers and consumers have embraced technology as a norm, driving business in 2020 to focus on technology enablers, allowing businesses to get optimal value to achieve efficiency and drive customer satisfaction."


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