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2022 demands accelerated digital transformation, flexibility, agility

By , Aruba country manager: South Africa
Africa , South Africa , 20 Jan 2022
Mandy Duncan, Aruba country manager: South Africa.
Mandy Duncan, Aruba country manager: South Africa.

It is no surprise that we have seen a surge of investment in tech over the past year. Much of their investment has been driven by the pandemic, and the move to digitalise almost every aspect of the way that we work and interact.

To prepare for the unexpected and adapt to whatever 2022 holds, enterprises must further accelerate their digital transformation initiatives and capitalise specific technology trends.

So, as we embark on a new year, we have highlighted some of the trends and predictions that may help IT leaders looking for new ways to support accelerated digital transformation and achieve greater flexibility.

Prediction 1: Devices will continue to increase as businesses realise the benefits of innovation

Within South Africa, IoT and the number of devices is reaching a transition point, with businesses realising the benefits of innovations and accelerating further investments in these digital transformational technologies. Over the next three years, there will be 10x more connected devices as compared to people, making automated secure connectivity of IoT of paramount importance. Without an automated way to onboard, provision, and secure these devices, organisations will be left vulnerable to security breaches, which are continually growing in sophistication.

Prediction 2: Two approaches to SASE emerge

With Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) deployments increasing in uptake within the South African market and around the world, organisations will begin to take two main approaches to adoption. While small and medium size enterprises are likely to be attracted to the all-in-one SASE offerings, larger enterprises continue to look for offerings that ensure security, reliability, or the quality of user experience. This will lead large enterprises to a dual-vendor approach, pairing an SD-WAN partner for on-prem security and WAN facing capabilities and a cloud-delivered security partner delivering secure web gateway (SWG), cloud access security broker (CASB), and zero trust network access (ZTNA) services.

Prediction 3: The need for connectivity will lead to greater adoption of Wi-Fi 6E in 2022

While rollout of 5G is a noteworthy answer to connectivity challenges within South Africa – WiFi 6E provides an alternative solution for enterprises. Many organisations have already witnessed the compelling results of this connectivity, creating more opportunities for them to transform their businesses and deliver compelling end user experiences. The digital transformation that has been rolled-out is here to stay – and we will continue to rely heavily on the connections we’ve made over the course of the pandemic whether at home, school, the office, or public spaces. WiFi 6E presents a much-needed solution to burgeoning network problems and as momentum grows, the extra band should serve to alleviate much needed pressure.

Prediction 4: The increased value on “services” will drive an increase in demand for infrastructure consumption models like Network-as-a-Service (NaaS)

The increased value consumers are placing on “experiences” over “things” and the decline in needing to “own something” has impacted the way businesses operate.

These shifts are playing out in the enterprise this year, with organisations being less focused on devices and capex and more focused on the business outcomes of their technology investments. Organisations want greater financial flexibility and cost predictability, while being able to increase IT efficiency and keep pace with innovation.

A flexible infrastructure consumption model allows for all of this, and for those organisations that aren’t fully ready to take the plunge, flexible consumption models provide the option to “try before buying,” so that enterprises can adopt the new model – or not – at their own pace. This will drive a big increase in demand for consumption-based services like NaaS in 2022.

Networking professionals and business leaders have learned to navigate extreme unpredictability. The demand for technology talent will maintain its pace with a growing emphasis on data and analytics, information security, architecture, cloud and engineering.

With the further deployment of 5G, investment is likely to continue at pace as organisations harness the value of their data and exploit the benefits of emerging tech to meet the challenges of tomorrow.

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