Strategic Enterprise Technology in 2018

Enterprise IT may not be the area of technology that’s got everyone talking like Bitcoin and driverless vehicles, but there’s no denying its importance on productivity in businesses of all shapes and sizes.

On a behavioural level, ever-present technology in the enterprise has led to increasingly demanding employees that expect only the best devices and software, so they can get more done in much less time. A recent drive towards the trend of Digital Transformation has accelerated many organisation’s adoptions of new technologies, making Enterprise IT a highly dynamic and exciting area for CEOs and business leaders to concentrate on for the coming year.

With such a varied field, there’s much to look at when it comes to assessing the state of Enterprise IT, so we’ve put together a collection of trends that are going to dominate the field in 2018.


1. Increasing Number of Employees Embracing Automation

Automation is not a new concept for Enterprise IT leaders and CIOs, but it still seems to be a subject of fear for many employees.

According to a report by ServiceNow, 87% of execs say employees are worried that automation will eliminate jobs, despite 79% of execs believing automation will lead to job creation. Tackling these contrasting mindsets will be on many CIOs agendas in 2018, as well as utilising tools to encourage employees to embrace automation themselves.

The number of tools available for employees to perform simple automation tasks in recent years has skyrocketed. Looking at simple tools on an individual level, you should check out Zapier, IFTTT, RoboTask and Trello- and that’s just the beginning.

Although coming on leaps and bounds in recent years, automation still has a long way to go in Enterprise IT. 91% of executives say skilled employees spend too much time on admin tasks. All signs are pointing to many more employees embracing the technology in 2018 to get rid of repetitive tasks and focus on what really matters in their day-to-day.

The incentive to embrace automation in 2018 is clear for CIOs. Companies that are highly automated are 6 times more likely to hit revenue growth greater than 15% versus companies with low automation. We’re all about to become a whole lot more productive.

Read more: 2018 will be the year of automation in enterprise (From Industry Age)

 87% of execs say employees are worried that automation will eliminate jobs, despite 79% of execs believing automation will lead to job creation.

2. Digital Collaboration is no longer a “nice-to-have” – it’s expected

Before digital collaboration came around, it was perfectly normal for files to go back and forth between employees several times, creating numerous variations along the way and using up a large amount of resource in the process. Now, users expect everything now; securely and simply.

There’s a wide range of solutions out there that allow employees to collaborate flawlessly, and CIOs can no longer afford to ignore the options out there. Employees today are demanding the capacity to work together remotely, on whichever device they choose. Collaborating on documents using a tool like Office365 is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to embracing the digital tools that will push Enterprise IT forward. To read more about Office365 for enterprise, click here.

Social media in the workplace has a large part to play when it comes to digital collaboration. LinkedIn, for example, has turned from a place that was seen as a “digital CV”, to a bustling community filled with ideas, inspiration and opportunities. And Workplace by Facebook can be an incredibly powerful tool- given that you can guarantee the majority of your staff will already know how to use the platform that is identical to Facebook. Communicating with your organisation en masse in a collaborative and responsive manner has never been easier.


3. Voice & Smart Assistants Infiltrating the Workplace

Many of us are already becoming accustomed to having smart assistants in our homes to control appliances, order groceries, play music, answer questions and plenty other clever things. In fact, global smart speaker sales are set to top 20 million in 2017, hitting 40 million units in 2018 and onward to 100 million units sold in 2022 (Strategy Analytics 2017 – via Financial Times.)

2018 though looks to be the year smart assistants will begin to make their presence known in the office. Alexa, the most popular smart speaker in homes by far, has just launched Alexa For Business, helping “all types of workers to be more productive and organized on both personal and shared Echo devices.” Judging by how Amazon has taken over the home smart speaker market, it looks as though they’re the most likely to be successful in the enterprise as well.

The concerns that CIOs are having over smart assistants in the workplace however very much shadow the concerns many have about having an “always on” microphone in your living room. Confidential conversations in meeting rooms may not be as confidential as you might hope, and there are teething problems to work through before adopting tiny listening devices all over the office. All this before addressing the security factor in introducing many IoT devices to your network. Monitoring & device management will be essential to ensure IT infrastructure stability.

Like the idea of talking to an inanimate object or not – Gartner is predicting 30% of web browsing sessions to be done without a screen in 2020 – driven by the growth of “voice-first” interactions. Employees, again, will come to expect the convenience in coming years, even if the adoption doesn’t happen fully in 2018.

Gartner is expecting 30% of web browsing sessions to be done without a screen in 2020 – driven by the growth of “voice-first” interactions.


4. Visual Analytics for All Business Functions

What used to be a futuristic fantasy only actualised by Minority Report and Jack Bauer’s team in 24 is finally making its way to every function in the enterprise.

With the help of powerful visualisation tools such as Microsoft’s PowerBI along with a wide range of others, instantly understanding everything that’s going on in your world right now has never been easier. We’re expecting many companies to adopt powerful BI dashboards across all departments - not just the tech savvy - to bolster information flow and understanding of how the entire business is performing.

This partly goes back to employees embracing automation also. Where in the past employees may spend hours if not days building reports for management teams, customers, suppliers and other stakeholders, powerful BI tools can build reports instantly, letting users take advantage of real-time information. Setting up these dashboards isn’t entirely rocket science now either; many visual dashboards are simple enough to be set up by employees with minimal software training- and what help they do need can be found entirely online.


5. Security Finally Becomes Embedded

It’s taken a seriously embarrassingly long time for us to get there, but the message about cybersecurity now seems to be getting across. 2018 will be the year Security finally takes a front seat for employees at every level.

When MP’s in the House of Commons were found to be sharing passwords for access to accounts late last year, the public reaction wasn’t, “what’s the problem with that?” – it was of shock and disbelief at how irresponsible they had been.

In Enterprise IT, the numbers back this up. A recent analyst report has forecasted that security spending in 2018 will top $96.3 billion – an 8% increase in spending in 2017. Clearly, business leaders are sitting up and taking notice when it comes to the catastrophic ransomware attacks and data breaches that have taken place in 2017, and most C-level execs will be familiar with WannaCry, NotPetya and Locky as well as large breaches at Uber and Yahoo.

Next year will also be a landmark year regarding how organisations protect their data, with the new GDPR regulations coming into force on the 25th of May 2018. For more information on the four letters that are sending shivers down many CEO’s spines at the moment, we simply recommend checking out the official ICO website.


The conversation of technology in business may be dominated by Artificial Intelligence and job losses due to automation, but the trends that will make a difference in 2018 are- sadly- much less newsworthy.

Enterprise IT can often be overcomplicated, but it’s simply about providing users with the tools they need to perform at the highest possible level in a secure environment. It’s up to you to provide the stable and reliable platform for growth and innovation in the workplace.

If you have any thoughts/additions to this post, we’d love to hear from you! Email to get in touch.

Posted by Jordan Maciver on Friday, January 5, 2018



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