Trends that are on every CIO's watch-list By Anil Khatri, Head IT-South Asia, SAP

Trends that are on every CIO's watch-list

Anil Khatri, Head IT-South Asia, SAP | Tuesday, 10 May 2016, 06:21 IST

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With the proliferation of any new technology the CIO’s watch-list for trends impacting his organization’s business gets even longer. Today, we are living in the age of ‘disruptive innovation’, where an innovation carves a market for itself by disrupting an existing market. New technologies such as internet of things, cloud, big data and even drones, when clubbed with an innovative idea to do something differently, has the potential to disrupt the conventional way of doing business. One apt example of disruptive innovation is the cloud delivered enterprise solutions and how they have disrupted the complete enterprise application solutions market. On one hand where organizations are expanding their boundaries and driving their businesses to new frontiers by leveraging technology, they also have to be wary of new upcoming technology trends that could impact their business landscape. The role of CIO has thus transformed from a person responsible for running the enterprise IT assets smoothly to a person who’s a business leader responsible for bringing business value to every digitized business process. Amidst the growing cyber security issues and adapting to new technologies such as cloud and big data, the CIO has to determine which new technology will be the best for his organization and its customers.

To be on Cloud or Not!
Cloud has proved to be a platform that a CIO can leverage to reduce cost. Most enterprise applications have their cloud counterparts now. With the new computing model shift where mobile devices have replaced traditional desktops and laptops, the cloud delivered enterprise applications can span multiple clients bringing cloud computing and mobile together. Public clouds offers cost effectiveness through subscription model and flexibility to scale up and down as per requirement, whereas a private cloud allows complete control on data and infrastructure. Despite the business benefit of adopting the cloud, the major hindrance for a CIO is data security and compliance. Between the benefits of scalability of public cloud and security of private cloud, organizations are charting out hybrid cloud models. This model allows organizations to maintain control of their data while taking the economic benefits from public cloud.

The Internet of Things
The Internet of Things (IoT) brings every object, activity and consumer into the digital realm. The IoT concept encompasses all devices connected to the Internet, so that they can communicate with each other and with us through apps. The trend is mainstream and is shaping the industry. By the year 2020 it is speculated that the Internet connected devices will outnumber humans by 5:1. Taking the concept from the consumer world to the corporate world could be a double-edged sword for the organization, as more and more devices and appliances are connecting to the corporate network, it opens that many channels for cyber-criminals to attack. The trend holds amazing potential for the companies to digitize many current physical processes, and the CIOs have to be prepared for the data explosion that IoT devices will bring along with the security challenges.

Big Data Challenges
The enterprises today struggle to analyse the enormous amount of data and information that its systems and processes are churning out. As we are heading into the era of gargantuan data, the need for the technology to mine and analyse information has to be real-time. Organizations will require these big data people who will build the new data architectures required to handle the influx of unstructured data on real-time basis. As the technology evolves to harness predictive analytics from big data, it will offer organizations a more in-depth view of their data. Big data holds a lot of promise of providing big impact and return for the business. 

Security above all
Target saw cyber-criminals siphoning out their customers details, while Sony witnessed hacks where their unreleased movies were copied and made available on Internet. The lesson to be learned from such attacks is that either big or small if you are connect to Internet there is a security risk. The days are gone when providing network security was confined to a perimeter. Above that the infiltrations of cloud based apps have also expanded the realm of data security that a CIO is always concerned about. Organizations have to keep their networks as well as their data secured while ensuring their employees and customers have ease of access. In the wake of last year’s major cyber-attacks, the trend is not security solutions, but enterprises assuming that they will be penetrated and the mechanisms to be prepared for such eventuality. Most companies have aggressively started adopting penetration test techniques to know about the vulnerabilities in their network systems and address those promptly. The CIOs have to cover the risk of not only their IT infrastructure but also of the applications used to deliver data, in order to have a robust security cover for their organization.

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