Hybrid Foundations: Finding Digital Feet In The Modern Workplace
Hybrid working remains a challenge. Many organisations are trying to find their feet post-pandemic, looking for intelligent ways of blending the old ways of working with the new. In-the-office has shifted from work-from-home to a hybrid model that has implications across technology, employees and customer experiences. Establishing smart ways of working that don’t compromise productivity or security is proving complex but that allows for improved employee well-being and talent recruitment and retention will remain a priority moving forward into 2023. Companies need to find fresh ways of overcoming the expected and unexpected challenges that the hybrid and modern workplace presents.
Technology, of course, has proven to be invaluable. CEOs, CIOs, and CTOs have accelerated their digital transformation roadmaps to keep up with the market and stay ahead of the volatility presented by the pandemic and economic recovery. Leaders have wanted to dramatically reduce risk across disruption, competition, and security. This is reflected in the use of technology that centres simplicity and robust security and on systems that centre people within the process of digital transformation. The latter is being influenced by two other key trends – the skills shortage and the great migration, and the rising threat of cybersecurity. Companies are focusing on building environments that attract and retain the best talent and optimise their spending and productivity.
This is largely what’s driven the move towards developing increasingly robust and agile hybrid workplace solutions that meet many of these needs but, going forward, there will be a concentrated effort to reshape hybrid policies, systems and methodologies to massively reduce the risks that have become increasingly apparent over the past year. Companies need their infrastructure to reduce complexity and increase security because hybrid working and diverse workforces significantly open up the threat landscape.
Influenced by rising cybersecurity, risk, governance and compliance concerns, there has been an increase in the number of companies reviewing their business continuity plans and investing in solutions and partnerships that help them to refine and modernise their networks, infrastructure design and backup solutions. They are more aware of the need to focus on redundancies, backups and solutions that will help them to mitigate disasters while optimising their managed services.
These layers of complexity and uncertainty have had a positive impact. Opportunity and innovation have stepped into the gaps created by the changing shape of work, and this has seen a rise in collaborative partnerships between managed services providers and enterprises as they look for ways to become the disruptors rather than the disrupted. Campus networks, managed SD-WAN, managed connectivity and managed private 5G have proven popular investments for companies looking to innovate internally and embed stability while again, turning the conversations back to the employee.
Perhaps the most positive impact of the past few years has been a refocus on how leaders lead their businesses. Leading with purpose is critical to the environment that leaders give to their employees and to their customers, and this has tied into the sustainability of the business and what this actually means. This refocusing into the deeper areas of the business where people are centred within conversations around stability and sustainability is a positive step in a direction that will potentially redefine the ethos of business going forward.
In 2023, the Kenya market will potentially see increased adoption of artificial intelligence, particularly in manufacturing and agriculture, as technology continues to play a central role in industry and in helping CEOs stay ahead of disruption, cybersecurity and supply chain complexity. There will also be an increased focus on the data centre space to align with the need for more data centres in the region.
Looking ahead, Kenya has come out of a pandemic into an election year that is often disruptive but has gone off extremely well. There is renewed hope around growth alongside consistent public and private sector investment into the business and the region. This has become a solid growth area with a stable economy and relatively stable inflation and currency, which means CEOs can plan more effectively and invest wisely. In 2023, we will see continued positivity around growth alongside continued cloud adoption and an ongoing focus on cybersecurity and resilience.
Richard Hechle is the CEO East & West Africa, Dimension Data