Ideas & Debate

THUO: Enterprise IT technology trends to watch out for


More and more Kenyan organisations are awakening to the reality that cybersecurity is paramount to their operations. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Every day we are confronted by emerging technologies that enchant us with the promise of increased productivity, more efficiency and less overhead costs. The advancement of digital technologies at the workplace has inadvertently put pressure on Kenyan enterprises to align themselves with emerging technologies to reap the benefits of digital transformation.

To participate in the digital economy, enterprises must commit to digital transformation by embracing key enterprise IT technologies. We will continue to witness the advancement of enterprise digital technologies. Let’s look at some of the trending digital technologies that rocked the Kenyan workplace in 2018.

Rise of Artificial Intelligence

The advent of cognitive technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI), at the workplace gave rise to endless possibilities of automation, increased efficiency, enhanced customer experience and data driven business strategies. Data is the lifeblood of AI and Kenyan businesses are now generating vast amounts than ever adding an element of cognition to the plethora of user data results in business intelligence gained through predictive data mining. Enterprise technology architectures are evolving accordingly resulting in new agile business models that are driven largely by intelligence and not just information.

Not only is AI being used in advertising algorithms, it is also driving efficiency and insights in virtually every part of the Kenyan enterprise, including strategic business issues. Enterprises that harness their data can use it to identify new opportunities which, in turn, lead to smarter business decision, more efficient operations, higher revenues and happier customers.

AI workloads require a complete paradigm shift in the underlying hardware and software infrastructure. For instance, the processing power required to maintain high performance analytics is of monumental proportions. Therefore, Kenyan businesses must embark on a holistic digital transformation journey and consider emerging enterprise technologies, such as Cloud Computing, to garner the entire benefits of artificial intelligence.

A Journey to the Cloud

Not too long ago ‘Cloud’ was the hottest buzz word blustering headlines in the ICT industry. Today cloud computing is a concrete reality for the modern Kenyan enterprise. According to a report by World Wide Worx and F5 Networks, 98 percent of companies in Kenya said they would increase their spending on cloud computing this year, while another 69 percent said they have seen an impact from cloud computing on market share. Kenyan businesses continue to benefit from two major cloud consumption models, IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service) and SaaS (Software-as-a-Service).

With IaaS, organisations are achieving significant cost saving by cutting capital expenditures and adopting OPEX (pay-as-you-go) models by creating virtual instances of their entire ICT infrastructure on public and private cloud platforms. IaaS has also allowed organisations to achieve rapid scale and efficiency thus giving cloud adopters a faster time to market. A great deal of time, energy and resources are spent on managing on-premises technology infrastructures but with an infrastructure as a service model, organisation can focus their time, energy and resources on their core business. With SaaS business software is delivered on-demand and on a subscription basis thus allowing organisations to run more efficiently while focused on delivering value to its customers. SaaS provides value creation using resource sharing, standardisation of processes and centralised data.

High speed broadband access, affordable data, reliable connectivity and cyber security are some of the obstacles to mass cloud adoption in Kenya, but they are fast been eliminated by innovative offerings like the Internet Solutions Open Network (ISON).

Cyber Security

More and more Kenyan organisations are awakening to the reality that cybersecurity is paramount to their operations. Businesses are operating in an increasingly hazardous cyber landscape as cyberattacks in the form of viruses, malware and ransomware become the norm. According to the National Kenya Computer Incident Response Team — Coordination Centre (National KE-CIRT/CC), out of the 4,589 cyber threats detected in Kenya between October-December last year 539 were critical and required immediate response. Furthermore, businesses continue to generate vast amounts of valuable user data which is the subject of many data breaches being executed in the cyber world.

Nixon Thuo, Consulting Services Solutions Architect at Internet Solutions.