Global enterprise customers are facing massive challenges caused by a multitude of new technologies.
Let’s take a quick look at the recent cloud and IoT innovation history:
10 years ago, global enterprise customers were mostly busy selecting an ERP solution and rolling it out to various geographical regions. Once this, sometimes seemingly epic, task was completed, they frequently discovered that their system landscape had become too big and expensive for long-term usage and maintenance. So, we saw a huge flood of consolidation projects that still hasn’t ended. More recently, IT departments have become challenged with new technologies like cloud solutions, mobile applications and IoT (Internet of Things) devices. Simultaneously, they are facing a new generation of users that want to have access to everything on any device at all times.
Trying to keep up with demand, global enterprise customers are finding themselves entering the digital transformation age. Some technology evangelists are excited and hope that digital transformation will elevate us to a new age of a fully networked world bringing technology and users closer together. Others are concerned and warn us that we don't fully understand these new technologies yet and that a rushed implementation might spell disaster if security and privacy concerns are ignored.
Let's take a closer look at the new technologies global enterprise customers are facing.
Cloud Data Provisioning & Security
New cloud solutions are hungry for data and many enter the market in form of frameworks that don't include any real out of the box integration options. Even worse, many solutions are making big promises, but fall short on delivering them. As a result, most solutions aren't easily approachable and require a high level of technical understanding that seems to contradict the promise to make things easier.
Furthermore, key components, like security appear to be a mere afterthought. This ignorance sometimes allows solutions with hidden security flaws to enter the market. As a result, data theft from improperly secured devices and software with access to cloud data is on the rise.
Integration accelerators are meant to simplify difficult integration tasks, but don’t always deliver as advertised. Not surprisingly, customers have become wary towards solutions that sound too good to be true.
Mobile Applications & Security
Without a doubt mobile applications are the most common and hyped new technology. If properly designed and built, they can result in an accelerated business process providing useful functionality to the user on the move. Sadly, we also see a lot of global enterprise customers creating solutions that distract the user from work without adding much benefits. This seems to be the result of misunderstood technology. Mobile applications shouldn't be seen as a technology that is suitable for each and every business process, but rather as an addition to support an existing process.
Since mobile applications are typically used by a wider audience than cloud applications, it seems obvious that security is essential. Surprisingly, mobile devices are still lacking when it comes to security. This is especially true when users lose their devices or when they connect them to unsafe networks (coffee shops, hotels, airports, stores, etc.) As a result, we are observing huge data breaches caused by careless usage in combination with unsecured devices. This risk has increased further with the recent trend of allowing employees to use their own devices (BYOD = Bring Your Own Device).
It should also be noted that many security policies (e.g. remote delete) require a device to be connected to the network. Of course, this is well known to data thieves who typically turn off devices immediately.
Most recently, we also see an increased demand for simple reporting. Apparently, SAP ERP has done a great job with providing complex, interactive reports, but it somewhat falls short when it comes to small, on-demand reports to meet a sudden business need (Ad Hoc Reporting). As such, these reports are frequently created in products like Microsoft Excel and others. While the reports are typically simple, the task of getting the data out of SAP ERP can be difficult and time consuming.
It is somewhat puzzling that with all this innovation taking place, test data can still be a big issue for many global enterprise customers. Challenges are typically caused by the need to have a smaller subset or scenario specific data.
IoT Data Provisioning, Security & Privacy
This is still a pioneer area which many global enterprise customers haven’t reached yet. However, this technology is already enjoying a lot of hype and attention. It makes huge promises on usability and results, but it also comes with even bigger challenges. For example, many IoT solutions require much more data than normal mobile applications to become smart. This data need typically results in data duplication and increased hardware demands.
Since many companies are still working on resolving cloud and mobile security issues, it doesn’t come as a surprise that IoT is an even bigger challenge when it comes to security. It adds additional points of failure that hold copied data (e.g. data clouds) and it mostly operates without industry standards.
Depending on the application, IoT also faces privacy concerns caused by collecting large amounts of user data, a process frequently governed by widely different local laws. As such, it can be a challenge to create an IoT application that can legally operate in different countries or even states. It seems that technology has started to outpace the law making process. This can result in a dangerous boomerang effect if companies invest too much money, time and effort in a solution that is later in conflict with local laws.
While many companies are working on improving the technologies listed above, Straten Consulting is focusing on accelerating a crucial step: Data Provisioning from SAP ERP.
Please click Learn More to understand how Straten Consulting's Hyper Data Suite can help you create interfaces to accelerate your cloud and IoT projects.