Authored by: John Yang, Vice President at Progress Asia Pacific and Japan
As markets reopen and move to recover from the impact of the health crisis, many businesses in the Asia Pacific region are making significant strategic changes to remain resilient and thrive under the new normal. Organisations have implemented remote work and have been conducting most of their business activities - meetings, client interactions and job interviews - online. With the new work nucleus, the use of collaboration and communication tools such as file sharing and document management and editing solutions will be critical for business continuity and pliancy. Companies will focus on improving integration to ensure a reliable and secure digital environment for seamless collaboration.
With a more distributed workforce due to remote and hybrid work arrangements, reliance on cloud technologies will drive sustained growth of cloud services in the region. According to IDC's forecast, the ASEAN region will see a shift of budgets towards cloud-based applications and technologies in the coming years. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), for instance, is projected to see a 21.5 per cent growth for the year 2021.
To help organisations prepare for 2021 and beyond, here are some thoughts about the future of technology in a post-pandemic world:
Acceleration of migration to the cloud
According to a study by Gartner, by the year 2023, 75 percent of organisations will restructure their risk and security governance to address new digital realities. Small and medium-sized businesses are also beginning to ramp up investments in cloud-based technologies and solutions. These investments will grow by 10 per cent by the year 2024, which will surpass both on-premise hardware and software spending.
For businesses, the need to have access to systems and real-time data is more crucial than ever before. Cloud-based Managed File Transfer (MFT) solutions combine the flexibility of a free solution like Dropbox or Google Cloud while providing flexibility and secure access to sensitive company data.
Process integration using Business Operations (BizOps) applications
Organisations today are utilising multiple applications on a day-to-day basis. For instance, to send a large Excel file to an external supplier, a business would need to use a cloud-based file transfer application. To share files and collaborate with colleagues, employees would need to access an online drive. Still, there are other tasks such as filing for vacation leaves or monitoring of leads and sales that also add up to the growing list of business applications.
Leaders need to evaluate whether adopting new tools will help boost productivity or if it will just add to the increasing clutter of business applications. There is a growing list of Software as a Service (SaaS) vendors that provide similar yet integrated applications to help employees to be more productive and streamline processes.
The goal is to improve productivity across the core business to achieve a common goal. BizOps is a framework for optimising software development and delivery and allows teams to work smarter, not harder, to help achieve business objectives. When business processes are aligned with the goals and actual customer lifecycles, half the battle is won. As more tools and best practices emerge, it becomes less daunting to consider transforming business operations with automation, measurement and optimisation.
The growing need for a secure MFT infrastructure
With the increasing number of cybersecurity attacks, organisations across sectors are taking a good hard look at security. Every process within the network can be a potential attack vector, including file transfer activities. A reliable data transfer platform ensures visibility across core business processes and a secure and compliant transfer of sensitive data between partners, customers, users and systems. With security, centralised access controls and encryption provided by managed file transfer solutions, even if there is a network breach, hackers will not be able to utilise the actual data on that system. IT teams are seeing the potential of integrating MFT solutions within the system as an additional layer of security, and this is likely to drive adoption and integration in 2021.
Secure connectivity with growth in mobile MFT
Employees are using their mobile devices more often and accessing company networks using personal devices. Without the same level of security and controls provided by office-based network connections, companies are exposed to higher cybersecurity risks. Organisations, therefore, are looking at ways to provide the same secure file transfer functionality in a mobile app. The demand is not initially going to be high, and it is going to be very cost sensitive. However, as more and more mobile devices access workflows, more organisations will look for an inexpensive way to bring these potentially insecure endpoints under the wing of their MFT solution to monitor and secure activity.
Multiple integrations, migration to cloud and mobile, BizOps, focus on security and encryption – these are just some of the priorities in file sharing and management for 2021. While 2020 has been a challenging year for most enterprises, the year has certainly paved the way for many positive changes and improvements that can better equip businesses for future disruptions.