The Covid-19 pandemic has completely transformed how we conduct everything from school examinations to work conferences in the past two years. According to Marilyn Moodley, country leader for South Africa and West, East and Central Africa at SoftwareONE, Covid-19 has accelerated digital transformation by seven years.
“This has changed, and will continue to shape, the world as we know it. Though the information technology sector creates digital transformation, these trends are informed by consumer demands,” said Moodley.
According to SoftwareONE, here are seven ways in which these demands will influence the sector in the near future:
“Virtualisation is not only confined to artificial intelligence and robotics. When someone talks to Alexa, they’re interacting with the virtual world. When you switch on your washing machine from your smartphone, that’s virtualisation. Such everyday applications are in demand and will continue to flourish,” she said.
Moodley said hyper-automation will become more prevalent; this refers not only to robotics and tech automation, but also commercial automation for the everyday consumer. “The process of buying technology, the tech and digital supply chain, is becoming more democratised. Consumers around the world want to digitally buy services from any vendor in any country, quickly and easily – and as this demand grows, so does automation of the process.”
Balancing the cloud
Commenting on the rate at which consumers have adopted this, Moodley said the proverbial cloud floodgates have opened. Moodley said big corporates are creating fin-ops departments tasked with looking after their cloud spend, as widening choice, complexity of procurement as well as complexity of migration increases.
Software subscription models
Subscription-based services are increasing in every sphere – streaming services are outpacing traditional television. “Consumers are now used to this flexibility and expect subscription-based models in IT too. Licensed models are making way for subscription models where users only pay for what they consume.”
Moodley said ransomware (a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid) has become big business. Moodley warned that smaller companies are being targeted and that they suffer the most. While large corporations can often absorb the losses, a ransomware attack on a small and medium enterprise can result in them closing their doors permanently.
SoftwareONE said when Google announced that it had offset all its previous carbon emissions last year, other tech companies sat upright and took notice, and transparency around environmental sustainability will become essential in the sector. “Consumers are more knowledgeable about sustainability and are actively engaging with green brands over their competitors. SoftwareONE’s future growth strategy is supported by the enablers of innovation, people, culture and sustainability, and we expect many suppliers in the sector will follow suit,” said Moodley.
Moodley said: “Consumers are now aiming for that sweet spot between technological and commercial transformation, so that both are sustainable. There’s no sense in buying the best technological upgrades around if they’ll only start reaping dividends five years down the line. Consumers are aiming to get more value for their money, investing in tech that can make a truly measurable difference in their business.”