Grasping the Potential in a New Era of Digital, Cloud and Intelligent Automation

Business technology continues to be at the forefront of innovation, influencing IT decision making, spending and infrastructure

As technology evolves, it enables even faster change and progress, pushing IT budgets to increase in line with innovation, employee demand and business demand.

Currently, the tech industry is faced with a tricky balancing act: continuing to drive innovative solutions while grappling with their side effects in the global economy. There are tremendous benefits available through technology for both business and society, but there are major questions around safety, privacy, sustainability, and trust.

So, what is in-store for business technology and how will this influence the way businesses use it?

Digital is taken for granted

We are right now in the heart of the “digital age”, on the journey towards a totally digital world. Some companies are already starting to shed past business models and industry

boundaries to make way for new ones. Moving into 2020, we will see an increase in the general acceptance of the term “post-digital” – an environment where digital technologies have been fully leveraged to transform how customers, suppliers, employees and supplier interact on a commercial and personal level. This will lead to a subsequent decline of terms like “digital transformation.”

Digital is taken for granted now. This means that business transformation programmes are, almost by default, in line with digitalisation principles. If (as a technology services provider) you can’t deliver native cloud business apps that can scale on demand, provide channel agnostic business facing APIs supporting “system of innovation” ecosystems in a DevOps way, then frankly, you won’t be in business.

Getting to grips with Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

We will start to see greater clarity on what is actually being delivered as true learning solutions. Up to now, most ‘Artificial Intelligence’ (AI) or ‘Machine Learning’ (ML) turnkey technology on the market is actually snake oil. It’s just procedural, traditionally algorithmic solutions wrapped up as AI. However, there is a growing understanding of the difference between deep-neural-networks, cognitive processing, true machine-learning, old fashioned predictive analytics and basic, non-learning pattern recognition. AI is a massive field with many sub-fields and the term has unfortunately been abused by over-zealous marketing, which has impacted its significance in IT. 

Intelligent Automation matures

Intelligent automation has already started to change the way business is done in nearly every sector of the economy. Applications range from the routine to the revolutionary, helping companies transcend conventional performance trade-offs to achieve unprecedented levels of efficiency and quality.

Looking to the future, there will be a greater adoption of adaptive automation – automated systems that take feedback data from outcomes and external influences and dynamically modify their own operating parameters to better achieve the stated outcomes. There will also be more mainstream adoption of learning-loop technologies in IT such as Ops (AIOps) and Cyber (more intelligent, automatic threat detection and response systems).

RPA, in its basic form, is part of the tactical fuel for the overall data-driven machine. Automated processes feed mineable process data back into the operational data platform which is then exploitable for identification of better processing (see above) or even spotting anomalous behaviours that might lead to corrective action or opportunities. As this develops, further adoption of low-code type technologies (e.g. Outsystems) will support greater business agility, but the bigger building blocks that are then code/data driven will provide a roadmap for a re-invention of the popular 90s coding panacea which was self-modifying code. Compiled, delivered applications that can use self-generating diagnostic/audit/performance data to reconfigure themselves. 

Cloud becomes the norm in digital delivery

We will see more and more cloud-agnostic/multi-cloud/cloud-abstraction tooling and patterns becoming the standard norm in digital delivery. In order to capitalise on the freedom of choice provided by the common denominator IaaS market (currently Azure, AWS and Google), tools and architectures that support portability both in delivery and ops will rise in popularity.

About the Author

Gordon Cullum is Chief Technology Officer at Mastek. Mastek is a global technology company offering enterprise level digital transformation services and software for large public and private enterprises in the UK, US and India. 

Featured image: ©Elnur