Despite the global disruption caused by the pandemic, Enterprises’ CIOs and IT teams will be put under more pressure from the CEO to digitally transform themselves, whilst controlling costs as quick as possible. This pressure will be intensified as other competitors pivot or offer new services and solutions digitally, all driving exponential digital growth.
As a key player in the IT industry, we see these five predictions which will impact Enterprises in 2021
Prediction 1: As Enterprises continue to move to hybrid cloud environments, colocation connectivity services will continue to play a critical economic role in Ireland
The data centre is evolving to support hybrid IT infrastructure and will play an essential economic role as the connectivity hub to Ireland’s transforming digital economy.
- Recent research from ESRI shows that ICT services and software, of which data centres and connectivity services are the critical backbone, account for 26% of all of Ireland’s export activity in 2020. In fact, according to a recent report by Host In Ireland, 96% of data centre ecosystem companies are optimistic about business for the upcoming 12 months.
- Our very own Digital Capitals Index for Dublin showed new technologies like AI, IoT, Blockchain and 5G already added approximately €1.23 billion to Dublin's economy in 2019, with IoT contributing the most at €630 million. More importantly, by 2029, these new technologies are primed to contribute even more growth, with an estimated €6.37 billion contribution to Ireland's economy.
Prediction 2 : Exponential data growth continues, with major opportunities for Ireland as a data centre hub. This growth will lead to new challenges for Enterprises
IDC predicts that in 2025, 175 zettabytes (175 trillion gigabytes) of new data will be created around the world. Gartner also predicts we will see global colocation connectivity investment grow by 6% in 2021 alone.
- Our recent Data Gravity Index report revealed that Dublin will be the amongst the top five European cities that will contribute to Europe’s growth, following London, Paris, Frankfurt and Amsterdam. On a global level, Dublin will also outpace cities and data centre hubs like Mexico City, San Paulo and even Shanghai to be amongst the top 20 cities to experience annual data growth by 2024.
- Enterprises will need to adapt and plan for managing this explosive data growth on a near real time basis, putting pressure on existing IT and accelerating hybrid and multi-cloud transitions.
Prediction 3: Cyber security: Hackers become more sophisticated as data value grows
As Enterprises pivot to cloud computing and hybrid working, cyber security has and will remain a key issue
- With the recent attacks in the US, as well as the European Medical Agency, we predict that bad cyber actors will continue to launch increasingly sophisticated attacks in 2021 targeting cloud computing and remote workers, exploiting weaknesses in lack of training or gaps in business processes.
- These attacks show that cyber criminals have moved beyond just disruption, they are focused on stealing or siphoning off valuable data from Enterprises over a long period of time, with severe consequences from a regulatory, and reputational front.
- Recent research from Microsoft in Ireland revealed over a third of enterprise employers said they had pivoted rapidly to a remote setting earlier this year and are only retrofitting security, privacy and workplace procedures now. We predict that ransomware and identity-based attacks will increase in 2021.
Prediction 4: Regulatory shifts will impact data management
With the ongoing data transfer and privacy challenges, the European Data Protection Board (EDPB) guidelines will put the onus on Enterprises to do their own due diligence on data transfers. This will be a critical issue for sectors that share data across the EU and US, for example, pharmaceuticals, financial services, business services and digital media.
- The EPDB also issued a document describing the “essential guarantees” that must be respected in order to ensure that interference with data subjects’ privacy and data protection rights through surveillance of transferred data does not “go beyond what is necessary and proportionate in a democratic society.” This will challenge many Enterprises to manage their data protection and processes in compliance.
- An additional challenge is the Digital Markets Act. This Act will closely monitor how Enterprises are sharing or allowing data to be commercially accessed which is due to come into effect by 2024.
- Brexit is also set to create opportunities for the Irish economy as evolving data protection regulations in the UK may see Enterprises relocate their operations here to ensure they comply with the broader GDPR regulatory framework. This could see Ireland further become a central data hub within Europe.
Prediction 5: Transformation disruption due to skills shortages
As Enterprises race to digitally transform their operations and processes to capitalise on the opportunities presented by cloud computing, IT teams and CIOs are ever more challenged and stretched to keep pace and minimise any disruption.
- This is creating gaps within the skills of IT teams with McKinsey Global predicting that 87% of enterprise leaders are experiencing or expecting skill gaps in their workforce in the next few years. Also, not even 50% of executives are clear on how to deal with the skill gap crisis.
- Longer term this could impact on the ability of Enterprises to plan, map and optimise their transformation efforts while keeping costs in line and critical data protected in line with compliance demands.
- In Ireland however, the large network of technology service providers can and will continue to deliver the best of breed expertise, technology solutions and facilities to enable Enterprises to fully transform and compensate for internal skill gaps. Working with partners will become essential as the pressure to digitally transform services intensifies within the next few years.