ICT and Business IT trends to look out for in 2017

Local cloud services and data center pioneer IPC (IP Converge Data Services, Inc.) recently revealed the top ICT trends that will dominate the Philippines next year.

According to IPC Director for Product Management and Marketing Niño Valmonte, the integration of various digital tools and solutions in the workplace will continue to lead as increasing trends and the benefits that go with them emerge. “The adoption of digital tools which started in 2016 extends to 2017 and beyond, as Filipinos become more digitally reliant not only in their personal lives but at work as well.”

Telecommuting as a viable option for working

telecommuting manila

With office space generally becoming smaller and smaller, and the traffic situation worsening over time, SMEs and large enterprises are now starting to look at the possibility of implementing “work-at-home” or “work-from-anywhere” options. “With almost everyone having devices and Internet connection at home or on the go, the option of telecommuting is viable for employees who want to stay productive,” said Valmonte.

The support of telecommuting has increasingly found support even from the government as the Department of Information and Communications Technology recently suggested this option during the 1st DICT Summit last November. In their Resolution, the DICT stated that they recognize that the amount of time spent on the road decreases work productivity which in turn leads to losing billions of pesos daily.

With the proliferation of various SaaS (software-as-a-service) business applications available today, companies can maintain and even increase productivity anytime and anywhere. G Suite, Google’s  office collaboration suite, is a viable option, especially for SMEs where it enjoys almost 50% global market share. Additionally, Salesforce, a world leader in cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) application, enables executives to gain critical insight from real time client information and other business details by demand. These tools allow on-the-go workers to collaborate and close business deals, anytime.

The future of telecommuting is seen to be clearer in light with high smartphone penetration rate which is expected to reach 70% by 2018, and general price reduction of other mobile devices becoming prevalent in the market.

Prevalence of online conversational tools

online chat applications

Online chat apps allow teams to both collaborate in open forums or just casually talk or catch up in private messages. This saves precious time and effort since employees need only to type on their PCs or even in their mobile phones anytime and anywhere.

Instant messaging tools are useful in the workplace because everyone can see what’s going on in real time. “It’s just like a meeting but better since everything sent is saved and archived,” said Valmonte.

Being a social people, we Filipinos are known for our use of a variety of communication apps. In fact, a study made by We Are Social revealed that Filipinos tops the list of countries with the most time spent on social media each day with an average time of 5 hours and 12 minutes.

Knowing the potential of an internal office messaging system, several online companies released their own services dedicated to optimized online collaboration at work. An example of this is Workplace by Facebook. Launched last October, the feature not only includes a chat option but it also comes with a dashboard with analytics and integrations with single sign-on, in addition to identity providers that allow companies to more easily integrate Workplace with their existing IT systems. Last May, Google also improved their Hangouts chat feature by adding Google Duo, a video calling app that can be used for business conferences.

With other online suites following, expect to see a rise in the use of conversational tools in the office. In other countries, this has already happened according to a study made by Business Insider Intelligence, messaging apps have already surpassed social networks.  

Predicting customer behavior and characteristics through Internet of Things (IoT) and Big Data analysis

Internet of Things

Businesses of all shapes and sizes will increasingly spend time to derive business value from data. Organizations will have to adapt technologies to map with IoT. With big data analytics, a company can enhance customer experience, streamline existing processes, achieve more targets, and reduce costs.

According to a study made by Gartner, the Asia Pacific region (excluding Japan), is maturing fast in leveraging their capabilities in adopting Big Data analytics, with 49% at opportunistics stage.

“Analytics drive business by showing how your customers think, what they want, and how the market views your brand. In the coming year, this will be a cornerstone of how businesses operate. Every important decision can and should be supported by data and analytics,” said Valmonte.

Heightened security protocols across all devices

In their Q3 Asia-Pacific Threat Report, Nexusguard, a global leader in Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) mitigation and IPC’s partner, revealed that several major APAC businesses went down as a result of a massive “Mirai” botnet attack.

Unlike other botnets, which are typically made up of computers, the Mirai botnet was successful as it targets IoT devices such as smartphones, tablets, and even digital cameras and DVR playersbasically almost anything that can connect to the Internet. This attack should be a wake-up call to business owners as it somehow demonstrated the power the internet of things (IoT) has to threaten businesses.

With this in mind, it is expected that companies will use more sophisticated security tools such as signature-based detection to quickly identify and thwart botnets. “Almost all devices in a business can be compromised so it is imperative for business owners to employ DDoS mitigation systems,” said Valmonte. Nexusguard also suggested the use of stronger passwords. Doing so will help ensure that companies are not implicated in DDoS attacks on other organizations, and, thus protect their own organization’s reputation.

Dominance of digital tools at work

ddos mitigation manila

With more and more companies becoming aware of the benefits of “going digital,” the integration of automated processes in businesses will continue to rise. This evolution is perpetuated by the convergence of multiple trends across different sectors such as mobile technology, social media, IT, and data security.

This year, IPC held a series of workshops and training seminars to urge companies to further develop their businesses using digital tools. Called “Gear Up to Innovate: An essential blueprint for digital transformation,” the seminars featured an immersive demo of collaborative business applications and witness how workplace productivity can be elevated through these tools.

“Consumer technologies like tablets, social networks, group video calling, and a deluge of mobile apps, have not only made personal lives easier, but has likewise removed boundaries in the workplace. The demand to ‘work the way you live’ has facilitated widespread digital adoption in the enterprise. Information is now cascaded in real time which significantly accelerates the decision making process a critical capability for every company in today’s highly competitive market”, said Valmonte. “If a company doesn’t take advantage of these benefits, they run the risk of being left behind by competition who do.”