Outlook & Priorities 2019

As we sign out of this year and step into 2019, what is in store for supply and demand side of IT? Here we present insights from prominent leaders from the tech industry who share their strategy and roadmap for 2019

It is that time of the year the air is abuzz with a new beginning as a year comes to a close. All these years we have seen technology as an evolutionary entity, graduating from one milestone to the next, forever upping the ante and bringing new set of challenges and problems to solve.

In all 2019 looks like an exciting year for tech and in many ways see the firming up of many tech trends like IOT to AI, taking deeper roots and impacting enterprise computing in ways we have not seen before.

As we look at the year ahead, we need to see through a dual lens- one from the supply side of IT and the other from the demand side of things. The supply side (the vendors) needs to stay focused and relevant to capture larger mandates from the tech disruption and the demand side (the enterprises) needs to ink progressive strategies to adopt newer tech to stay ahead of the race. In a nutshell, the way things are progressing, technology will be common denominator that will determine the success of companies across verticals, no matter what their core business is, they need to induct massive dose of modern tech to transition to the next orbit of growth and profitability. 

CIO PRIORITIES

According to a recent Gartner study, it said, that the top five areas that Asia/Pacific CIOs will invest new or additional funding in 2019 are: Business Intelligence and Data Analytics (42 percent); Core System Improvements and Transformation (33 percent); Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (33 percent), Cybersecurity and Information Security (32 percent); and Digital business initiatives (30 percent).

The 2019 Gartner CIO Agenda survey gathered data from more than 3,000 CIO respondents in 89 countries and all major industries — 671 CIOs are from 16 countries within Asia/Pacific, representing $6.1 trillion in revenue and $73.7 billion in IT spending.

Gartner also said that AI and Cybersecurity will shape the CIO technology agenda. “The CIO Agenda survey indicates that disruptive emerging technologies will play a major role in reshaping business models in Asia/Pacific as they change the economics of all organizations. Thirty-four percent of CIOs in the region expect AI to be the most disruptive game changer for their organizations in 2019, taking the top spot away from data and analytics, which now occupies second place at 26 percent.”

Moreover 49 percent of Asia/Pacific CIOs have already deployed AI technology or deployment is in short-term planning, coming in second behind cybersecurity (86 percent). The top three ways Asia/Pacific CIOs are using AI are for chatbots (37 percent), process optimization (27 percent) and fraud detection (20 percent).

“This rapid shift to AI looks revolutionary on the surface, but this bump in adoption rate may indicate irrational exuberance instead,” says Rowsell-Jones, Vice President and Distinguished Analyst at Gartner. “While CIOs can’t afford to ignore this class of technologies, they should retain a sense of proportion. This latest batch of AI tools is yet to go through its Trough of Disillusionment.”

“The strong focus on cybersecurity shows the necessity of creating a secure base for digital business that shields their organization and clients. The survey indicates that 45 percent of Asia/Pacific CIOs still own the responsibility for cybersecurity. However, the IT organization alone cannot provide cybersecurity anymore,” adds Rowsell-Jones

Moreover Gartner observers that the rise of social engineering attacks, such as phishing, require a broader behavioral change of all employees. In 24 percent of the digitally top performing organizations in Asia/Pacific, the boards of directors are accountable for cybersecurity rather than the CIO alone. Nevertheless, CIOs are combining measures to harden information processing assets with efforts to influence the people that use technology to improve security against cyber threats.

THE BUSINESS PRIORITY & TECH OUTLOOK

It is in this backdrop and tech disruption and change we asked some of the leading heads of IT companies about their business priority and their tech outlook for 2019. We asked them two questions:

  1. What is that one big strategy you will be pursuing in 2019 aimed at creating a big business impact?
  2. What according to you is that one technology that will have maximum traction in the enterprise computing space in 2019 and why?

Excerpts from what they shared to Dataquest:

KARAN BAJWA, MANAGING DIRECTOR, IBM INDIA

2018 saw an inflection point for the overall industry and society as business and technology architectures changed at the same time. Data was and will continue to be at the heart of the disruption of an industry that has been rapidly reordering because of technologies like AI, blockchain, cybersecurity, delivered in hybrid cloud environments. We have been rebuilding our innovation pipeline to address what our enterprise clients value the most – a differentiated value proposition driven by innovative technologies, industry expertise, trust and security, delivered through an integrated model.

As we move into 2019, our vision to be the partner of choice for businesses in their Digital transformation journey does not change. This journey has many facets and three technologies form the core to this transformation to which IBM will continue to be uniquely aligned: Data, Cloud and Security.

a) Data platform: A consistent data platform which enables organizations to leverage their data resources effectively is core to digital transformation. In absence of this, all attempts to leverage data are ad-hoc and time-consuming. We definitely see data-rich organizations/incumbents moving to a data platform on which analytical and cognitive business models will be built. Using the power of advanced analytics, machine learning, and Artificial Intelligence, we can derive insights to help optimize operations, drive innovation, and deliver value to the company and its customers.

b) Cloud: According to us Cloud is not merely a method of deployment – it is the measure of elasticity in the infrastructure. Deployment can be private, public or hybrid, but intrinsically the infrastructure in the organizations will become more elastic (virtualized, containerized, self-service, self-monitoring). Initial cloud projects focused on the productivity economics of renting IT infrastructure at scale. More and more, however, clients want to move beyond that model and start to shift mission-critical business processes and apps to the cloud. They recognize that cloud can help drive real business value in those processes, launch new applications rapidly and enter new markets. So, clients need a cloud partner that can offer a hybrid cloud, for workloads that cut across public, private and traditional, a secure cloud, for mission-critical workloads and highly sensitive data, and an open cloud, to run complex, multi-cloud environments. This is why IBM’s approach to cloud is hybrid, secure and open.

c) Security: The security concerns have moved to the boardroom and getting mainstream. Instead of piecemeal approaches to just meet regulatory requirements, organizations are beginning to take a more holistic view. This will be a key focus areas in 2018 and beyond. We recently announced the availability of IBM Security Connect, a single, cloud-based platform that can gather security data from across existing tools and products.

In addition, we will see increased adoption of IoT and our work with domain service providers to bring in industry-specific use cases will continue. From frictionless supply chains to food we can really trust, industries are looking at revolutionizing business with IBM Blockchain and we will see this technology go mainstream.

SOM SATSANGI, MANAGING DIRECTOR, HPE INDIA

We are in the midst of an exciting phase of business growth in India as it is one of the fastest growing big economies. Intelligent data management solutions will be central to the success in India. We are innovating products that create a software-defined, hybrid operating model that spans multi-cloud, on and off-premises and at the edge. Complimentary to this, we are building skills in the HPE Pointnext services organization to help our customers navigate a fast paced environment and plan the technology roadmaps to make them successful. The Government of India has ambitious plans with initiatives like Smart Cities and Digital India, and we will play a key role in these as well.

The need for Intelligent Edge capabilities is driving a very large, fast-growing market opportunity. Enterprises will require millions of distributed clouds that enable real-time insights and personalized experiences. Hence, we believe the next evolution in enterprise technology will be in edge-to-cloud architecture, which will enable customers to capture, analyze and act upon data seamlessly from edge to cloud. We also expect a sizeable growth in adoption of a flash-based storage, which provides predictive analytics, and supports multi-cloud deployments. This will ensure the predicting and preventing of issues across an infrastructure stack thereby ensuring optimal performance and efficient resource use.

SHAILENDER KUMAR, REGIONAL MANAGING DIRECTOR, ORACLE INDIA

Empowering India’s growing, young firms is going to be a key pillar of our strategy in 2019. As one of the world’s fastest-growing economies – superseding even China, India is in a unique position to help accelerate business opportunities for emerging businesses. At Oracle, we have the technology, the people, the talent and the scale of our operations, to help propel this new business community to great heights and support their growth journeys. It ultimately benefits India’s economy.

At the same time, we are embarking on a new era of delivering autonomous computing and complete modernization of ERP for companies looking to start their digital journeys.

We are in the middle of a generational shift with computing heavily moving from traditional software deployment models to the cloud. Cloud is no more a buzzword and has come a long way with integrated capabilities such as Autonomous, Blockchain, Chatbots, IoT, ML or Artificial Intelligence etc. The infusion of these new technologies is going to dominate our world. While we see most of the emerging technologies already playing a role in across businesses and sectors, autonomous is going to make a big shift in IT and no one has a solution for that but us.

With regard to Autonomous, this technology is self-driving, self-repairing, self-securing and helps companies analyze their data so they can be more valuable. Let’s not forget, the biggest data thefts this world has seen is because of human error – we want to eliminate that completely. We want DBAs to be investing more time in analyzing data and be more valuable to business. Oracle is using machine learning to revolutionize data management with the introduction of the world’s first autonomous database cloud, delivering more automation for more savings.

SRINIVAS KANDULA, CEO – INDIA AND MEMBER OF THE GROUP EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE, CAPGEMINI

To meet changing market dynamics where traditional value chains are being challenged, businesses need to accelerate their digital transformation journey. As the delivery engine of the Group, our goal will be to help our clients stay agile and competitive through a continued focus on driving their digital transformation initiatives. Our core focus is to reinforce our People Strategy in India. To this end, we will continue to invest in skilling initiatives. We are accelerating opportunities for our employees to work on cutting-edge technologies by investment in future skills, such as Digital, AI, Cloud, Machine Learning, Robotics, and IoT and strengthen our capability. Over 60,000 employees have been trained in various upskilling programs and emerging technologies so far in 2018.

Innovation is also an important priority for India. Our Applied Innovation Exchange (AIE) in Mumbai has been instrumental in co-innovating with clients to create rapid prototypes and use the assembly to deploy at client sites. Our second AIE is coming up in Hyderabad. We have also launched a series of labs that complement the AIE such as Device foundry, DCX foundry, Cloud Lab, Automation Lab along with Partner COEs and will continue to invest in new labs in 2019 in emerging technologies. Secondly, we are reinforcing a culture of innovation through internal reskilling efforts. We have also launched an internal program that recognizes and rewards employees that develop solutions/frameworks/ideas that can be converted to Intellectual Property.

Organizations today are convinced that automation and AI can result in significant benefits to them through increased productivity, optimized operations, lowered costs, generate deeper insights that drive enhanced engagement with customers and boost sales. I believe we will see an increase in adoption of AI and thrust on innovation in 2019. As per our Capgemini Research Institute (CRI) report on ‘Turning AI into concrete value’, more than 1 in 2 organizations (59%) now agree that AI is supporting customer intimacy, and AI initiatives have helped more than 6 in 10 organizations increase customer satisfaction and reduce churn. 3 in 4 organizations have increased sales, and 78 percent saw greater operational efficiency.

Additionally, we see significant potential for automation adoption. A latest report on automation from CRI titled ‘Reshaping the future-Unlocking automation’s untapped value’, the estimated cost savings from automation will be to the tune of $471 billion through wide-scale adoption across automotive, retail, utilities and manufacturing sectors. 

PRAKASH MALLYA, MANAGING DIRECTOR – SALES & MARKETING GROUP, INTEL INDIA

India as a market presents a fascinating data-driven transformation story. The country ranks at the top for mobile data consumption globally. There is also no other country that has digitized similar volumes of citizen data. Clearly our future is going to be data-driven and India provides a significant data science opportunity. Intel recognizes the tremendous scope for data-driven transformation across every industry. We are committed to enabling this transformation by accelerating new technology adoption and strengthening our local ecosystem.

We believe Data Analytics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) will have the maximum impact in India and globally. The majority of global data was created in the last couple of years but only 1 to 3% of this data has been analyzed. The AI and analytics journey is just at the beginning and there is immense opportunity to derive value from the rapidly increasing volume of data. Intel is inventing technologies and software tools that will advance the AI ecosystem making it possible to gain insight, anticipate needs and continuously learn from data at enterprise scale.

VINOD KUMAR, CEO & MD, SUBEX 

The level of awareness on IoT security continues to be an area of concern. Through our expanding honeypot network, we intend to sensitize stakeholders and make them aware of the evolving threat environment that surrounds their businesses, assets, data and operations. In 2019, we intend to intensify our efforts to improve threat research to cover new grounds as the sources of threats, malware attack patterns and targets diversify.

We will continue to invest in capacity building by enabling the addition of more industry ready cybersecurity professionals across the globe to take on existing and emerging threats.

The growing importance towards Digital Trust: Over the last couple of years we have witnessed end-to-end digitalization at unprecedented speed. The changes have been radical starting from the backend systems in quest of new efficiencies, to customer interaction systems with the goal of improved customer experience and to the actual offerings/products with the goal of tapping new revenues. All this rapid innovation has also created new risks and we see businesses trying to grapple specifically with “lack of trust” in digital services. By Digital trust we mean- privacy, security, predictability in new technology as well as confidence in data. We believe, successful business will be those how can turn digital risk into a source of competitive advantage by unlocking the strategic upside of digital disruption. In 2019 we truly believe “digital trust” will have a transformative impact on digital business.

HARI HARAN, PRESIDENT – GLOBAL SALES, MARKETING AND BUSINESS LINES, SASKEN TECHNOLOGIES

In 2019, we will be aggressively pursuing Automotive, Industrials, and Communications verticals to enable Android-based devices and solutions on certain semiconductor platforms. We believe there will be a proliferation of devices and boxes that will revolutionize these verticals and their customers. We also believe that these devices will enable some unique connected experiences and enable new business models thus resulting in tremendous value in this space. Sasken’s deep knowledge of semiconductor platforms, Android, and embedded systems coupled with our Chip to Cognition solutions will create a big business impact both for us and for our customers.

Android is finding its way into devices in all walks of life. From the In-Vehicle Infotainment ( IVI) and Telematics systems for Automotive, consumer devices such as smartphones, IoT, Industrial terminals and rugged devices, retail point of sale terminals, to tablets and medical devices, Android is pervasive. Embedded technologies and software that can enable rapid customization and flawless support of these devices is key to growing this market. The enterprise computing space such as Retail, Oil & Gas, Public Utilities, Automotive, Aerospace are all transforming their products and business leveraging this trend. Our belief is that the Android technology on certain pervasive silicon platforms will have an enormous traction in 2019.

SAPTORSI HORE, COO, THOUGHTWORKS INDIA

A significant area of interest and investment will be machine learning and artificial intelligence, to service both, client and internal needs. For example, ThoughtWorks is building an internal platform that will leverage data for decisions regarding operational efficiency. The platform will help draw accurate forecasts and will guide decisions about people, capability building and even help determine the right consultants for a client engagement.

Cloud computing will continue to have traction and will evolve towards Multicloud – wherein enterprises use a mix of public, private, hybrid and data center options. The expectation here is that a workload – storage, networking, security or application deployment – can be executed on any of these options and the experience needs to be seamless for the application’s end-users.

RENEE MCKASKLE – CHIEF INFORMATION OFFICER, HITACHI VANTARA

I will continue to work at bringing more diversity of thought to the solutioning process and driving outcomes. This drives the best ideas with the biggest business and societal impact. These efforts will be aided by STEAM programs, which have replaced traditional STEM. Still science-based, STEAM adds an A for artistic expression which expands beyond the stereotypical view of what an engineer should be, helping bring more women into technology roles. The diversity of thought drives innovation which will make our company even stronger and more successful while solidifying our status as a true role model for our industry and the global community.

NISHIKANT NIGAM, EVP, CHIEF DELIVERY OFFICER AT CSS CORP

A large part of our business is delivering impactful and persuasive Customer Experiences (CX) for organizations across industries. CX, like any business phenomenon, has been disrupted over the past years. Today’s customers are a lot more connected and it’s extremely critical for businesses to adopt technologies, channels and offers that would make a difference in the customer’s journey.

At CSS Corp, our continued focus is to drive stellar customer experiences for our customers and help them unlock new growth and revenue opportunities. There is a huge opportunity ahead of us to embrace digital and enhance value for our customers. Today, we are working with some of the biggest names in the technology industry, including a few unicorns, especially on the CX side and helping quite a few interesting brick and mortar companies in their digital journey. So, digital customer experience focus is the fuel that runs our machinery and we will continue to invest in building solutions that would help us drive differentiation in the market.

We believe we are well poised to capitalize on these opportunities especially because of the digital and cognitive capabilities that we have built. We strongly feel digital is not a technology decision but a business decision. We, at CSS Corp mostly work with the business decision makers who are responsible for CX and revenue generation mandate and we are focusing more on revenue sharing models and non-linear business models.

We strongly feel the enterprise IT space will see a major transformation with the advent of cognitive technologies and frameworks. Cognitive technologies are emerging as game changers to revolutionize the IT landscape and we are already adopting those technologies to raise the bar in CX. In fact, as per New IDC Spending Guide, global spending on cognitive and AI solutions will achieve a compound annual growth rate of 54.4% through 2020 when revenues will be more than $46 billion, and the US will be the largest market.

We see a huge potential for companies in industries like TMT, CPG, and retail to bridge CX gaps and to modernize business process management functions through cognitive, and we are well placed to drive this transformation for businesses. However, cognitive is not only about technology but also about improving business performance through innovative techniques; we are on a transition from the phase of ‘thinking digital’ to ‘being digital’.

JAY CHAUDHRY CEO, CHAIRMAN AND FOUNDER ZSCALER

Zscaler’s strategy for 2019 is the basis of why it was founded over 10 years ago — to securely connect users to applications or service, regardless of location.

Mobility and cloud migration has created a mega-shift that is disrupting 30 years of networking and security infrastructure. More and more business applications are moving to the cloud, and increasingly more users are working outside of the office. Yet, traditional security technology is still anchored to the data center, providing subpar protection, poor performance, and increasing costs.

Zscaler’s purpose-built, multi-tenant cloud security platform protects all users with policy-based access and inline protection from malware and other threats. It provides consistent security no matter where users connect, ensuring that nothing bad gets in and nothing good leaks out. Zscaler eliminates the need for purchasing and maintaining gateway security appliances while providing a more secure and efficient solution to organizations globally.

With the rising adoption of cloud services and infrastructure, I believe cloud security will have the greatest traction in 2019 and beyond. Organizations are realizing the competitive benefits of digitization and they’re migrating more and more of their legacy applications and infrastructure to the cloud to build on that cloud-enabled agility. Microsoft Office 365 has become the number one business application in the world, and it’s predicted that more than 80 percent of enterprise workloads will be in the cloud over the next couple of years. Gartner predicts that “by 2020, more than 30 billion devices will be connected to the internet. The advent of digital business creates more advanced threats and constraints.” Enterprise cloud transformation, coupled with the workforce becoming more mobile, it’s become an imperative for IT organizations to reimagine how they secure their corporate networks.

As a result, I believe we will see cloud-based enterprise security solutions gain even greater traction, but the frontrunners will be those that provide fast, direct-to-cloud access with consistent security for every user across the enterprise.

J KESAVARDHANAN, CEO, K7 COMPUTING

K7 Computing is looking beyond computing devices and focusing on enhancing security for IoT and cloud services. We are working on a model where we can cover the existing technologies with our security layer; to monitor and provide alerts to the enterprises.

We are constantly looking at innovating technologies. Our business focus is expanding towards providing security to the enterprise segment. Since most SME’s in India do not have a separate IT infrastructure setup; K7 Computing is constantly working towards providing security solution to them. We have recently announced new products to address the security concerns of the enterprise segment and are persistently focusing to execute a new level of security convenience to our customers.

NITIN MISHRA, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT & CHIEF PRODUCT OFFICER -NETMAGIC (AN NTT COMMUNICATIONS COMPANY)

Going forward, we will continue to develop our Multi-Cloud strategy and add more cloud partners and services, including Containers, AI, and Analytics. Netmagic is also working towards adding more capabilities to the multi-cloud management platform to enable the customers in not only provisioning and managing cloud from multiple cloud providers, but also effortlessly migrate workloads across these cloud providers, and create seamless disaster recovery / remote backup solutions. Netmagic has further increased its impetus on Research & Development (R&D) and opened its third R&D center in Bangalore – in addition to existing centers in Pune and Mumbai to build next-generation multi-cloud platforms.

We also plan to establish Netmagic as a pioneer in SDWAN technology in India so as to provide next-generation network solutions to Indian enterprises which can address the mass market, and thereby create a significant and profitable business revenue for next 5 years and beyond. In the area of managed security services, we have recently collaborated with McAfee to add to our existing portfolio and deliver protection from advanced malware such as ransom-ware in a reliable, expert and organized manner. More such associations are on the anvil.

Netmagic has added two new state-of-the-art hyperscale data centers (DCs) in Bengaluru and Mumbai recently. Going forward, we are aiming at extending our DC footprint and exploring the establishment of large DC campuses in other cities. We also have been continuing to invest in hyperscale DC space and will soon embark upon our next level of growth by buying land to set up new campuses in Mumbai, Chennai, and Bengaluru.

We see an increased importance of big data and related data management technologies in the enterprise computing space. There is likely to be an increase in demand for and growth of cloud and edge computing due to the proliferation of services running on artificial intelligence. As per predictions by the IDC, enterprise spending on cloud services and infrastructure will be more than $530 billion by2021 and more than 90% of enterprises will use multiple cloud services and platforms. SaaS solutions are expected to become the most highly deployed cloud service across the globe. Netmagic aims to become the pioneering SD-WAN technology in India and provide next-generation network solutions to Indian enterprises which can address the mass market, and thereby create a significant and profitable business.

JOSEPH ANANTHARAJU, PRESIDENT AND CEO OF PRODUCT ENGINEERING SERVICES, HAPPIEST MINDS

We at Happiest Minds have honed-in on the Industrial and Manufacturing sector as it readies itself to embrace the enormous potential of IoT. From our experience, we find Industrial entities to be unique in the way they embrace disruptive technologies, in their appetite for risk and the way their processes are structured.

As a result, we’ve developed an extensive understanding of this sector and along with our strong expertise in IoT, are uniquely positioned to work across the IoT adoption lifecycle. Especially, with Industrial clients increasingly looking to develop MVPs (Minimum Viable Products), we usually get involved quite early in the lifecycle thereby gaining the benefits of incumbency.

Adopting a consultative approach and acquiring an in-depth understanding of the client’s needs has helped us chart out their entire IoT journey – from concept to implementation. This also confers us with a strategic advantage in being chosen as the trusted partner to deliver value across all stages of IoT adoption including POCs, Productization, and Operations.

While the potential of IoT has always been evident, the last few years have seen a significant uptick in adoption and I believe that 2019 will be its watershed year. Enterprises have already dipped their toes in by commissioning prototypes, developing use-cases and identifying the right platforms and vendors.

It is now time for the rubber to truly meet the road and we’re seeing diverse use-cases, especially in Industrial and Manufacturing across employee safety & tracking, smart production systems, reduced asset downtime and supply-chain & logistics to name just a few.

However, 2019 is going to witness a scale of IoT adoption never seen before and its interplay with other disruptive technologies like AI, Analytics and Machine Learning is only going to galvanize it further.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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