Three tech topics that could affect your business today
Looking back over the last month, there are three major topics that jump out at me in the world of tech news and I have a sneaking suspicion they’ll dominate the remainder of 2018.
Firstly, there’s the digital workspace, a topic so prevalent that it became the sole subject of one of my weekly roundups.
The most useful article on this subject was probably the one that helped explain what a digital workspace actually is. Simply put a digital workspace is the merging of smartphones and tablets with collaboration tools such as Office 365, where employees go and work together.
A few good examples of an all in one setup for this is Microsoft Office 365 Teams or the Citrix workspace.
Whilst a digital workspace may seem like an expense you don’t really need, research has shown that it provides numerous benefits for both the employee and employer.
Importantly from your employee’s perspective, if you get it right, virtual working will allow people to blend their personal needs and professional obligations which will enable you to attract and retain highly productive and motivated people. In my opinion, it offers a great ROI (Return On Investment).
Lower salaries - employees will take a salary sacrifice to stop the daily commuting grind and to achieve a better work-life balance.
Reduced real estate costs - less office-bound people means less expensive commercial office space.
Reduced recruitment costs - companies that invest in remote working have a higher staff retention rate.
The last and perhaps biggest reason to create a digital workspace is that if you don’t then your employees just might do it instead. Now that might sound like an ideal solution but it leads to several problems.
Firstly, a good digital workspace allows employees to work together seamlessly but if everyone has created their own solution then they might not be using compatible systems. For example, some teams or departments could start using Slack while others use Microsoft Teams, which could ruin the opportunity for improved productivity.
Secondly, an employee created digital workspace creates a large number of vulnerabilities which leads nicely to the second big theme of the past month: cyber security.
Cybersecurity is only becoming more important with the continued growth of cybercrime and the enforcement of GDPR.
The old hardened perimeter based around a firewall no longer works for the more modern flexible working organisations, instead, models such as zero trust are becoming the norm.
The zero trust model is based around the idea that just because someone is on your network doesn’t mean they can be trusted and seeks to monitor and limit the capabilities of users so that they can only do what they are supposed to.
Unfortunately, even this new model cannot prevent hackers succeeding in breaking into your business and as such the question has changed from how cyber secure is your business to how cyber resilient is it? Cyber resiliency gauges how quickly your company can bounce back from a breach or hack and what processes it has in place to minimise the damage.
The final topic is, of course, big data, machine learning, robotics and AI, which I'll roll up under the catch-all title of AI. Once a mainstay of science fiction AI is becoming an ever-increasing part of our daily lives.
There has however been an interesting trend of late of questioning how ready companies really are for AI and the answer is often, not at all.
In the majority of cases the reason for this is that companies have not laid down the foundations for how they analyse data in the first place. AI might need lots of data to function properly but you have to be able to handle and use it properly or AI could be a waste of money for you.
The final topic a lot of companies get wrong is understanding how AI will interact with flesh and blood employees. The best use of AI doesn’t replace the workforce but instead augments them to do their job better.
And that has been the big topics for the month and probably the year. Has anything stuck out for you recently?