It’s now or never: Welcome to new digital era

Decade ahead will be an era marked by rapid digitisation and exciting advancements in technology

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Never before has digital transformation been as rampant as it was in 2020. Spurred by a global pandemic, companies have accelerated investment in short-term needs. However, digital transformation is a long-term process and an enabler for change. To differentiate a business, the pursuit of long-term results must inform the investments. 

Last year, businesses found themselves pushed to their limits, as a result, many reactively invested in digital services with varied results. One year on, there is no better time to position your organisation for the future. Having a plan and vision of the intended business outcomes is a good way to start your transformation journey.

Below are some of the most relevant trends which will influence business decision-making in the coming year.

SASE and SD-WAN become business mandatory in 2021 

In 2021 SASE security and SD-WAN network management will become mission-critical for any cloud connected business. 

SASE (secure access service edge) is about unifying network and security as a set of cloud-delivered services to support scale and flexibility for your organisation. In the emerging digital era where everything is connected, security is becoming imperative to drive economic efficiency.

In the other corner is SD-WAN (software-defining networking in a wide area network), which many modern enterprises are using to reduce costs, enhance user experience and increase the flexibility of their large, highly distributed networks.

As businesses emerge from the Covid-19 storm, we will see a behavioural shift away from survival mode to innovation mode, one that understands that network and security controls are now cloud-centric and the adoption of SD-WAN and SASE will help establish a secure foundation.

Living on the edge catering to your business requirements

The Covid-19 pandemic produced few net-new technologies and business developments, but it certainly accelerated many technology trends already in motion. Edge computing is one of the most notable among these accelerated technologies. 

Companies are implementing remote working measures and moving workloads to the cloud. Companies are also re-calibrating their digital transformation strategy and re-allocating budgets to invest in digital tools, in order to generate new revenue, optimise costs and enhance business resilience in the long run. In 2021, businesses will have to continually adapt by embracing digital tools and network technology.

Unified communications and collaboration solutions comes into play in providing a platform-centric approach that delivers the new workforce information and communications technology capabilities and integrates collaboration experience.

Industry-specific solutions are also on the rise. Financial institutions, for example, have commenced migrating to IP Trader Turrets with vendors developing hybrid solutions to support trader location flexibility. They will look to global providers that can deliver internet protocol (IP)-based services with much greater flexibility, offer voice recording, support interoperability between Trader Turret providers and enable public switch telephone network-based integration.

Secure your business

The Covid-19 pandemic is undoubtedly a disruptive event and the information technology (IT) world has not been immune. As we are embracing our new reality with the aid of digital tools, businesses need to be vigilant in detecting and preventing cyber threats. With employees connecting anywhere, attacks can come from anywhere.  

In a virtual work environment, it is crucial that businesses are prepared to tackle cyber-threats. Chief information security officers and IT leaders need to evaluate potential risks associated with the Covid-19 pandemic and prioritise these situations. Needless to say, enterprises need to manage security at scale and be agile adapting to the market dynamic.

Security cannot be an afterthought and to move at speed it’s important for organisation to work with experts. Finding the right partners can make an enormous difference to being agile and secure.

Perfectly connected

It’s no surprise that Covid-19 has heavily influenced the scale and intensity of demand for connectivity. The world embraced video conferencing, enterprise cloud applications, and a more digital way of life. A confluence of macro geopolitical trends has fundamentally also altered the connectivity demand in Asia. 

But one thing remains consistent: people want to connect, collaborate and trade simply and effectively with the world. The tumultuous events only reinforce the need for resilience, diversity and partnerships to enable that connectivity and the importance of our industry to facilitate global trade and secure communication between nations. What’s more, connectivity in and to Asia is no longer being mostly focused on the traditional hubs, but is increasingly moving east to alternative transport hubs like Taiwan, the Philippines, Korea and Australia.

The show must go on 

With 2020 in the rear-view, we face an uncertain future. But what is certain is 2021 and the decade ahead will be an era marked by rapid digitisation and exciting advancements in technology, and we can’t wait to play our part in supporting our customers’ business. 

This article first appeared at The Asset on May 14, 2021.