It must be in the DNA of technology leaders to be constantly updated not only with what is happening around them, but also with what is being developed in labs that is ready to emerge as the next big thing
This is an exclusive interview conducted by the Editor Team of CIO News with Rohit Verma, Ex- Senior Director (Architecture) at GE Renewable Energy
The technology landscape is rapidly evolving, and by the time you settle on one, something new has taken the world by storm. As a result, it must be in the DNA of technology leaders to be constantly updated not only with what is happening around them, but also with what is being developed in labs that is ready to emerge as the next big thing.
In this context, a few of my picks for technologies that I would consider to be part of the general hygiene of any technology leader would be:
Cybersecurity: As technology continues to evolve and a hybrid way of working is the future, the overall threat surface that is prone to cyberattacks has significantly increased. The dark web is flooded with hackers who are ready to launch “Ransomware as a Service” attacks. For organisations dealing with OT systems, it is not just about IT security but also preventing attacks on their OT infrastructure and physical assets. Cybersecurity is no longer just a CISO responsibility; all technology leaders must develop a good understanding of the possible cyber threats in their own domains and own the mitigation of those threats for their domains. Security has to be thought of as the fundamental building block at a conceptual design level for each application and product so that every asset is capable of protecting itself.
Data and Analytics: Most organisations have been quick to adopt the phrase “Data and Analytics (D&A),” while behind the scenes it is still the traditional “Business Intelligence (BI)” that is being served. Businesses have been generating a huge amount of useful data, but we are still not able to harness the power of the data due to our limited understanding of the same. Technology is available now to enable big data processing and leverage the power of machine learning and artificial intelligence to generate predictive analytics. D&A is a horizontal capability that is applicable to all technology leaders, irrespective of the functional or technical domain they operate in. Leaders should be well informed of the technology capabilities that exist in this space to be able to exploit them and put the “richness of the data” generated by their systems to some more tangible real-world use.
Robotic Process Automation: Organizations have been increasingly shifting their focus to be able to start getting better returns on their technology investments. There has been thorough scrutiny of the efficiency of the current processes, the amount of redundant and duplicated work, and the investment in human capital relative to the operational expenses of these solutions. The intended outcome is to increase productivity and reduce costs. Technology leaders need to develop and demonstrate a continuous improvement mindset to be able to identify redundant and repeatable tasks that can then be automated using the RPA process. This would mean that those leaders will need to have a fair understanding of the capabilities and trade-offs associated with an RPA solution, along with the costs involved in setting up an RPA stack and the operational costs associated with it.
Internet of Things: IoT applications span across verticals, ranging from consumer and enterprise IoT to industrial IoT. It provides the ability to connect billions of systems, ranging from computing devices to mechanical and digital machines, over the internet. The IoT ecosystem involves a complex network of embedded systems, networking and communication protocols, machine learning, and artificial intelligence, to name a few. Technology leaders need to be aware of the capabilities of this space and have a comprehensive understanding of the underlying infrastructure, various IoT standards and frameworks, and the costs associated with the implementation of IoT and IIoT solutions. These solutions can monitor overall business processes and drive significant process efficiencies, resulting in an enhanced customer experience. Since the IoT is concerned with both digital and physical assets, it exposes a larger surface for an attack on the OT infrastructure, which can have more serious implications than an IT cyberattack.
Blockchain: Blockchain technology is a distributed ledger that is secure, transparent, and immutable. It has the potential to streamline processes across many different industries, ranging from the tracking of the movement of goods and materials in the supply chain industry to securing patient data and streamlining the process of billing and claims in the healthcare industry. Gartner estimates blockchain will generate $3.1 trillion in new business value by 2030, but with the technology set to be ready for more mainstream adoption through 2023, organisations should be exploring the technology now. For technology leaders, it is important to understand what blockchain is and how it works, as well as the difference between partial blockchain-inspired solutions and complete and enhanced blockchain solutions, to be able to use it for mission-critical applications or business disruption. They need to ensure that they are prepared and that appropriate infrastructure and expertise are available in time to be ready to embark on the blockchain journey.
Sustainable Technology: Gartner expects that by 2025, 50% of CIOs will have performance metrics tied to the sustainability of the IT organization. Gartner defines sustainable technology as a framework of digital solutions that can enable environmental, social, and governance (ESG) outcomes for the enterprise and its customers. As time passes, customers and government agencies will prefer those partners who are not just environmentally conscious but are strong contributors to sustainability. This would require a good understanding of cloud services (whose elasticity will allow organisations to use only what they need, increasing utilisation of shared resources and reducing environmental impacts); software that manages greenhouse gases and enables enterprises to meet their reporting requirements and improve emission performance; artificial intelligence to optimise operations; supply chain blockchain to ensure ethical sourcing; and applications that can measure the ESG performance of suppliers.
These are some of the emerging technologies that I would advise every technology leader to become familiar with and then delve deeper into based on the business context and need.
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