Nixon Thuo
Nixon Thuo Consulting Services Solutions Architect

Every day we are confronted by new emerging technologies that enchant us with the promise of increased productivity, more efficiency and less overhead costs.

The advancement of digital technologies at the work place has inadvertently put pressure on Kenyan enterprises to align themselves with emerging technologies in order 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. As the new year dawns, we will continue to witness the advancement of enterprise digital technologies. Let’s take a look at some of the trending digital technologies that rocked the Kenyan work place in 2018.

The Rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI)

The advent of cognitive technologies, such as artificial intelligence, at the work place give rise to endless possibilities of automation, increased efficiency, enhanced customer experience and data driven business strategies. Data is the lifeblood of artificial intelligence and Kenyan businesses are now generating vast amounts of data more than ever before. 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, in order 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% of companies in Kenya said they would increase their spending on cloud computing this year, while another 69% of the respondents said that 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, organizations 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 organizations 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, organization can focus their time, energy and resources on their core business. With SaaS business software (e.g ERP / HRM) is delivered on-demand and on a subscription basis thus allowing organizations to run more efficiently while focused on delivering value to its customers. SaaS provides value creation through the use of resource sharing, standardization of processes and centralized 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 organizations are awakening to the reality that cyber security is paramount to their operations. Businesses are operating in an increasingly hazardous cyber landscape as cyber-attacks in the form of viruses, malware and ransomware become the norm of the day. 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. A case in point is the widely publicized data breach of Sony Pictures which resulted in losses amounting to millions of dollars in damages.

Cyber Security continues to be a cardinal subject for Kenyan businesses as the resultant losses could be momentous. As reported in the 2017 Kenya Cybersecurity Report, Kenyan businesses lost a colossal Sh21.1 billion as a result of cybercrime in the year 2017. Many organizations are increasing their ICT spend on cyber security in a move to bolster their cyber security posture. With cyber attackers growing increasingly sophisticated, no longer is a perimeter firewall the answer to every cyber threat on the internet. With more emerging digital technologies that allow IT resource consolidation and decentralization, the cyber-attack surface is larger than ever before. It is now more critical for organizations to have the right cyber security infrastructure, personnel and road map. Continuous vulnerability checks on the entire enterprise network infrastructure and organizational resources could significantly reduce the cyber-attack surface while mitigating different attack vectors.

In the journey to Cyber Resilience, many organizations are now outsourcing their cyber security requirements as opposed to building in house security teams. This allows organizations to focus solely on their core business as a third party tightens their security posture.

Conclusion

There is no denying it, business strategies are inextricably linked to technology. What was once a “nice to have” is now a “must have”.  No longer is IT just another cost center, but it is now a strategic driver of business imperatives.

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