As we say farewell to 2021, Cobweb MD Michael Frisby shares his cloud predictions for the new year.
Cybercriminals have thrived during the last 2 years with COVID, and businesses more than ever realise the dangers posed by malware, driven in large part by the massive growth in ransomware. We expect continued growth in the need for IT security solutions with businesses looking to extend their protection, encompassing identities, apps, devices and data. For businesses whose operations depend on IT to survive, we believe a truly layered approach to security is best, with additional levels of redundancy and fail-safes for each layer of defence.
2. Inclusive workplaces
As the world settles on a new world of hybrid working, creating working environments where connection and collaboration are as easy across the office and remote locations is becoming the new normal. Microsoft Teams has already surpassed 250m monthly active users and I expect this to continue to dramatically increase. I believe that Teams remains the best foundation on which to build inclusive work environments, where no matter the location, team members can contribute, feel valued and part of the team.
3. Managed Services
Driven by the ever-growing complexity and capability of cloud solutions, the seemingly endless increase in cybercrime threats, and the ongoing skills shortage and competition for talent, I see a significant need for managed services, particularly in the area of security for customers. If we have a problem with the brakes on our cars we don’t try and fix them ourselves, we turn to experts to help. Protecting the key data and IT assets of a business (user identities, applications, data and devices) is not a job for the IT hobbyist and requires a depth of expertise and knowledge which is great than ever.
4. Customer Experience
Expectations for high quality, responsiveness service continues to rise, driven by the digitisation of all of the services we interact with both personally and professionally. Ensuring the journey for customers is smooth, and support is fast and accurate in diagnosis and remediation of issues is a key factor in optimising customer experiences. Digitally transforming the way services are delivered to customers is key to improving the customer experience, and the implementation of automated processes using capabilities in Azure, Power Platform and Microsoft Dynamics, will become a differentiator in the way businesses serve their customers.
As the adoption of digital solutions and software grows, businesses want to get the maximum value from their investments. To do that, we have seen an increase in demand for training to upskill employees to understand the full functionality of the tools available to them. Combined with the growing cyber-threats and the need to educate staff in best security practices, 2022 will be a big year for training.
6. Employee Wellbeing
None of the above is possible without an engaged and motivated team. Our expectations as employees have also changed massively in the last couple of years, and as a business leader I believe it is imperative to ensure the wellbeing of our teams and to create an environment where each individual can deliver their best work, both individually and across both physical and virtual teams. Companies that create the best culture and work environments will have greater staff retention and motivation, which will in turn lead to better experiences for customers.