The latter half of the last decade brought with it many advances in technology.

Smartphones became smarter thanks to artificial intelligence, homes were given an upgrade thanks to the internet of things and – perhaps most importantly – businesses were able to leverage the power of cloud solutions.

The start of the a new decade holds untold potential but for now Regional Director for Veritas Technologies, David McMurdo, sees existing or previously emerging technologies playing a more vital role in our connected world.

“South Africans are increasingly looking to online digital platforms to carry out activities such as banking, shopping and trading. As application workloads shift to the cloud, the need to protect cloud-based data increases,” says McMurdo.

“Many South African businesses are deploying data protection in the cloud to address this need. The migration to cloud computing, AI adoption and digital transformation are some of the technology trends expected to increase in 2020 and beyond,” adds the director.

AI gains traction

In terms of artificial intelligence, McMurdo notes that the use of the technology is maturing.

This includes the use of algorithms to analyse data and improve decision making within a business. Veritas also notes the rise of “Digital Users” in South Africa. These are IoT devices and machine agents being used to improve business processes.

“Local businesses that make use of AI technologies have managed to create a competitive advantage even though the AI market is not as ripe as it is in more developed parts of the world. As more businesses seek to improve their competitive advantage, they will venture more into AI-based business solutions and provide unique services,” explains McMurdo.

The Edge within reach

Over the course of 2020, McMurdo foresees the edge as being the next important shift in IT infrastructure.

“Edge won’t replace the cloud paradigm, but businesses will build on their cloud initiatives and develop new capabilities to create, process and securely store and protect data at the edge of their enterprise networks,” the director explains.

This will be enabled by the rise of mobility, 5G connectivity, AI-enabled applications and the demands of markets in various territories.

This will in turn lead to more distributed data centres and a shift to services being closer to the user.

As this shift happens, data protection at the edge will become more a priority.

Automation

As business processes become increasingly automated, automation will itself transform how organisations protect and make use of their most critical data.

With that having been said, companies need to do the leg work today in order to leverage automation.

“Many of tomorrow’s most exciting solutions depend on data that has already been centralised, cleaned up and correctly labelled. Automation may take over many of the day-to-day requirements of data management, but employees will still have to know where their company’s data is to make the most of it,” says the Veritas Technologies regional director.

Organisations should encourage the adoption of data management tools that break down silos and help employees see what data they have and where it is at all times. Once the organisation has complete visibility, automation tools will help organisations glean better insights to improve operations, regulatory compliance and customer experiences, advises McMurdo.

Influx of as-a-service offerings

With so much emphasis on the cloud, the edge and automation, McMurdo believes there will be an influx of as-a-service offerings from channel partners.

These offerings will bring together multiple technologies which are known to work together. This includes security offerings bundled with backup and workload technologies.

“Channel partners will need to have a very clear integration plan. The local business landscape will require them to understand a vendor’s roadmap, its integration technologies and have a strong go-to-market plan that will continue to add value to the customer after the sale,” says McMurdo.

The director says that channel partners should also take advantage of solutions offered by vendors  and their own when creating as-a-service offering.

“This type of development is most likely to have a positive impact on customer service as it is poised to effectively address customer needs,” explains the director.

The final piece – employment transformation

While this wasn’t McMurdo’s final piece we’ve made it that because in order for it to work, the above needs to be implemented fully.

Working from home or as Veritas puts it “distributed workforces” is set to become popular in the next year.

This will be made possible by edge computing and needs to be underwritten by enterprise-grade security at the edge. So, in order for employment to evolve and lessen the reliance on vast office spaces, investment in security and the aforementioned trends will be vital.

“In 2020, it’ll be more important than ever for businesses to invest in technology that not only enables enterprise-class data protection at edge, branch offices, and remote locations, but also saves time, money, and reduces the risks of any downtime,” says McMurdo.

It appears then that 2020 will be a year of planning and investing. Make no mistake though, this is rather important for the future, especially as the needs of a business, employees and customers changes.

[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]