Friday Tech Round Up – ECS’s view on the news
We have just passed episode 42 of the Friday Tech Round Up. This means over 200 pieces of news delivered directly to you, covering all the movements within the tech industry over the last nine months.
Whilst some pieces are unique and should be enjoyed in isolation of other events (PacMan’s birthday, robot funerals and the vintage TV set causing internet outages for an entire village in rural wales being prime examples), certain themes came up time and time again.
These themes have gained endorsement from industry research and become regular features in the top publications, podcasts, twitter feeds and news streams in the world of technology.
What follows is ECS’s view on these themes and what they mean for your enterprise.
Technology is leading from the front
Whilst many businesses suffered at the hands of the pandemic, it’s hard to ignore the success of four thematic industries: pharma, cloud computing, ecommerce and gaming.
And this very comes down to the change in customer behaviour. Consumers swapped season tickets for games consoles, aisle-long queues for a two-step Amazon checkout and the 8am flat white from Pret to a morning Teams call with the boss.
On the other side of the coin, businesses accelerated the digitalisation of processes, tools and technology, with Cloud computing becoming pivotal to an organisation’s success with a 100% remote workforce.
As reported by Capital IQ in the Financial Times, the impact of these changes has been enormous economic growth in industry giants, in particular those within the technology field.
If the last nine months of the Friday Tech Round Up have shown us anything, it’s that digital is the now and the future.
Whilst the scale of a FTSE 100 enterprise solution will greatly outweigh that of an SMB, our advice would be to follow in these giants’ footsteps. Enrich your strategies with data. Switch your focus to experience transformation, modernising the channels most appropriate to your customers. And last but not least, become digital to your core.
Partnerships with leading cloud providers
Orange and Google Cloud. Unilever and Google Cloud. Logz.io and HashiCorp. All are examples of recent partnerships formed over the pandemic to expand portfolios, gain insights into business-wide ecosystems and strengthen the development of cloud native applications.
In a cash constrained environment, cloud solutions looked increasingly attractive, especially when delays in supply chains made it almost impossible to track down new hardware. This delay mirrored itself in the CIOs timeline forcing businesses to either accept the delay or make the jump.
The move to remote work and video conferencing had a dramatic effect on how businesses viewed cloud technology. It swiftly went from a ‘nice to have’ to a digital transformation engine capable of improving business continuity. In the words of Sig Nag, research VP at Gartner: “When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, there were a few initial hiccups, but cloud ultimately delivered exactly what it was supposed to. It responded to increased demand and catered to customers’ preference of elastic, pay-as-you-go consumption models.”
Gartner predicts that public cloud revenue will grow 6.3% in 2020 alone – up $15 billion from last year and adding to an already multi-billion-dollar economy where leading cloud providers compete for an ever-expanding cloud market share.
Whether intentional or not, customers have begun adopting various channels to interact with businesses – sometimes in the same purchasing workflow. In fact, Google found that 85% of consumers start their purchase on one device yet finish on another.
Why the jump? Well, from what we can tell at ECS, it comes down to the simple fact that if the customer can’t find the answer on channel one, they channel hop until they do.
This behaviour can be increasingly frustrating for businesses whose CX strategy supports a multi-channel journey over an omni-channel experience. The challenge is, when customers jump, you need to be able to follow them. If your strategy fails to provide a seamless service between communication methods, you lose out on critical data between channels which can cause fragmented insights and cause you to invest in the wrong solutions and services.
Then there’s the problem of businesses who had already completed the first steps of a digital transformation before the pandemic or have made waves in the delivery of an omni-customer experience. These businesses are raising expectations of customers, and the bar for competitors.
In the words of John Ing, CX Principle Product Lead at ECS, “the behaviour we see in today’s consumers has been further exasperated by the recent pandemic. It was always going to happen, but COVID has created another catalyst for change and consumers aren’t waiting around for businesses to iron out their digital strategies.”
Yes, the omni-customer is disrupting the more traditional organisations, but we also see huge market opportunity for those prepared to pivot their CX strategy and modernise their contact centre solution. Look to data to help you better understand your customers and drive clear ROI benefits. Not only will you see which channels are worth investing in, you’ll gain insights into how much of the interaction you receive is value demand and how much of this can be avoided by improving other aspects of your CX.
The dawn of the age of quantum computing
When you take into consideration that 90 percent of all data in the world has been generated in the last two years, the need for a solution capable of storing and processing ridiculous vast amounts of data has become one of the most problematic questions of the 21st century.
Many believe the processing capabilities of a quantum computing will help solve the problems currently constrained by existing standards of compute power – from advancing materials science and pharmaceuticals research to managing natural resources and mapping the entirety of the universe.
The promise of huge leaps in innovation has led technologists to compare the future of quantum computing to the same lofty aspirations that lead to the landing humankind on the moon. Indeed, it has inspired the likes of IBM, Google, Intel, Honeywell and AWS to move into quantum computing – spurring on the movement of cloud-based quantum computing with the hope this will help drive large-scale adoption and real-world application.
According to Allied Market Research, growing demand for high performance computers and greater investments into quantum computing technology could enable the enterprise quantum computing market to reach a net worth of $5,853 million by 2025, representing a compound annual growth rate of more than 30 percent.
In the words of Mark Jones, Editor at TechHQ.com: “What is certain is that the continuing emergence of new firms will contribute greatly to affordable quantum computing power in the near future.” With greater access to this technology on the horizon, experts are hopeful that the chicken and egg situation currently in play will fall by the wayside and greater adoption will ensue.
Growth in data breaches
Rarely does a week go by on the Friday Tech Round Up where a data breach or cyber-attack doesn’t hit headline news. And this has only intensified since March 2020.
Coronavirus is currently blamed for a 238% rise in attacks on banks, with 80% of firms across all industries citing an increase in cyberattacks. In fact, cyberattacks are said to happen every 39 seconds, taking the form of email links, stolen credentials or unsuspecting puppy photos.
With the surge in cyberattacks also comes a surge in collateral damage. According to Cybersecurity Ventures, the damage related to cybercrime is projected to reach $6 trillion by 2021 – a figure made up of reputational harm, fines or action needed to rectify the damage.
To help combat this exponential rise in attacks, worldwide spending on cybersecurity is said to hit $133.7 billion in 2022 (Gartner) to help combat the risk. Investment into how businesses conduct cybersecurity, and not just the tools, is equally valuable.
This last point was highlighted by Chris Dunkley in Episode 39 of the Friday Tech Round Up, where Morgan Stanley was fined $60million for failing to handle the decommission of data centers and keep appropriate tabs on customer data despite no data breach taking place. The seriousness of cyberattacks has never been underestimated, but the sophistication of attacks today is placing a greater ownness on businesses to make sure equally sophisticated defence measures and processes are in place to protect customer data. Avoiding damage is no longer enough. You need to move to an entirely new way of working that places security at the heart of your operations.
If you’ve been following our weekly Friday Tech Round Up, thank you for your continued support and interest in the world of technology! For those new to the FTRU, every episode is available on demand on the ECS YouTube channel – with a new episode being released every Friday morning. If you want a simpler way to get the latest as it happens, jump over to LinkedIn and give ECS a follow.
Take a look at the latest episode here and let us know what changes you’ve seen over the week! You never know, your suggestions might feature in a future Friday Tech Round Up.