As the end of 2019 approaches, now is a great time to reflect on the trends in IT from the year behind us and to look ahead to the likely hot topics in 2020.
IT is evolving at a faster pace than ever, and businesses that take advantage of these advances will improve their competitiveness. That doesn’t mean continually changing solutions and systems, but investing in those that will develop and evolve as technology moves on, and that will support the growth and challenges within each individual business.
So, in looking ahead to 2020, here is my list of some of the topics to focus on:
1. The move to a modern workplace.
A modern workplace supports mobile and flexible working, teamwork, and easy communication and collaboration, whilst helping businesses stay secure.
Older technology puts businesses at increased risk - from solutions failing that affect productivity and output, to being compromised by cyberattack, with potentially devastating consequences.
For example, on 14 January 2020, Windows 7 reaches end of support, as does Office 2010 on the 13 October 2020. This end of support means no more bug fixes or security patches, leaving such legacy systems open to an increased risk of attack or failure.
At Cobweb we’re seeing increasing numbers of customers moving to Microsoft’s productivity suite in the cloud, Office 365, or Microsoft 365, the platform that includes Windows 10 and Enterprise Mobility & Security (Microsoft’s identity, device and data protection solution) in addition to Office 365.
2. Security and identity
Security is never far from the top of the IT agenda for any business today.
The NCSC (National Cyber Security Centre) released its 2019 Annual Review in October containing the statistic that the UK has been under threat from 658 different cyberattacks in the past 12 months.
At Cobweb, we take a layered approach to security, bringing together a portfolio of services to ensure users, devices, applications and data are all fully safeguarded.
Our Identity and Access Management service, for example, has been developed to protect customers from unauthorised access. Built on Microsoft’s Azure Active Directory (Azure AD), the service stores identity in the cloud to provide secure access, with advanced security features including multi-factor authentication.
The Cobweb team can advise and support your individual security needs - but in the meantime, why not take our free security assessment, to help understand your strengths and weaknesses. We’ll provide a free report on your security status with personalised recommendations.
3. Microsoft Teams
For those of you who do not know Microsoft Teams, it is the Office 365 hub for teamwork that incorporates chat, files, online meetings, business apps and now calling, and that together enable a new effective team working.
Launched in 2017, its adoption has been unprecedented as Teams is the fastest growing Microsoft app of all time with over 20 million active daily users today.
Teams helps reduce email volume, and with files and data stored and accessible centrally, improves the ability to work collaboratively on documents and increase productivity.
4. Microsoft 365 Business Voice
In November 2019, Microsoft launched their cloud-based phone system, built specifically for SMBs. Having personally been involved with Microsoft telephony solutions since 2012 this was one of the most exciting events of 2019. We are now able to help all customers benefit from a truly unified communication and collaboration experience that was previously only open to enterprise organisations.
Microsoft 365 Business Voice is a feature-rich, competitive, cost-effective phone system, integrated into Microsoft Teams, available with multiple calling plan options and bundles. If contracted into an existing telephony contract, the innovative Call2Teams solution can connect Microsoft Teams to the existing phone system, making it simple to provide a more productive solution for employees. Alternatively, Direct Routing allows the connection to a range of telephony services if the native Microsoft calling plan doesn’t meet needs.
There has been tremendous interest in the product since day one of Business Voice’s launch - and a level of interest we expect only to grow in 2019.
5. Business process improvement
My final focus for 2020, is the ongoing digital transformation of business processes to help improve the productivity of businesses and the enablement of new innovative customer experiences.
To support this customer requirement, we’ve recently launched our Microsoft Power Platform service.
Power Platform combines the power of Microsoft’s PowerApps, Power BI, and Power Automate, to enable the automation of manual business processes - such as to manage holiday requests or the creation of purchase orders. The Microsoft Power Platform has been designed to enable quick and easy development. However, to support businesses without the capacity to do so themselves, Cobweb has launched an app creation service, to join our immensely successful Power BI dashboard creation offering.
For further information download our Business IT for 2020 whitepaper, or if you want to discuss how cloud services can help you achieve your business goals, contact any member of the Cobweb team who will be happy to help.
Wishing everyone, from us all here at Cobweb, a wonderful festive period and a successful and profitable 2020!
Still on Windows 7? Upgrade your systems as soon as possible to stay secure.Read More