With the evolution of immersive technologies, we can expect it to impact all aspects of our lives and society. We now have an unlimited amount of knowledge available at our fingertips and this technological advancement is now accelerating faster than ever before, thereby blurring lines between physical, digital, and biological domains. To understand this acceleration better, Ankita KS, senior technology journalist from EFY group had an interaction with Saurabh Saxena, Country Director, Micro Focus India. Excerpts Follow..
Q. What in your opinion, which are the top three technologies that are shaping the future?
A. The top three most disruptive technologies paving the way for the world of tomorrow are Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML) and Internet of Things (IoT).
AI has been around for decades now. It is now evolving faster than ever through numerous applications that help improve the lives of individuals and streamline business operations. AI collects data from search histories, products purchased, or even overheard conversations, to discover your preferences and this is what is changing our lifestyle. One of our solutions, IDOL uses AI to learn from customer data and to identify key concepts and their relationships with other concepts within the dataset to deliver contextually relevant search results.
ML has become a top tech trend recently, despite having been relevant for many years. The technology is now required to handle vast quantities of information, and to ascertain trends from vast data sets. For any corporate, data is an asset and their ability to monetize data, while optimising for both cost and performance at scale, is already a fundamental differentiator in every industry.
There has been a lot of hype recently about the “Internet of Things (IoT).” There may be as many as 50 billion connected devices by 2020, as per global reports. It has penetrated all our lives, wherever we work and live. There’s a drastic increase in customer expectations, we can see an increase in the importance of software in IoT products, exponential growth in connected devices and applications, etc. This brings with its dramatic changes in the software development process and testing. Micro Focus provides tools to determine which individuals and devices have permission to perform which things, how they get these permissions, and what kind of interactions make sense. As the IoT grows, this kind of robust understanding of identity will help address privacy and security concerns. This will also help bridge the gap between physical and digital spheres.
Q. How is the adoption of IoT, AI, and ML in Indian Enterprises today?
A. AI and ML have made us all advanced yet dependent. Enterprises nowadays look forward to the adoption of these technologies to streamline their internal processes. AI in combination with IoT, too, plays shifting roles in digitisation journey of an enterprise, depending upon the digital maturity and its innovation quotient.
There is an increase in IT teams embracing a more pragmatic and thoughtful approach to industrial-scale IT delivery. Undoubtedly, the adoption of AI in the field of BFSI, Healthcare, etc. have escalated at a very fast rate. With our solutions, corporates can leverage ML to transform big data into accurate, actionable and automated insights. We use AI as well in AIOps so, it’s extremely critical for us today. This leads to predictive analytics and I feel that customers are looking for it and we have a huge play there.
Q. How are you racing towards Digital Transformation at Micro Focus? What are the areas that you focus on?
A. At Micro Focus, we believe that organisations need not eliminate the past to make way for the future. We perform our tasks with a simple idea: the quickest, safest way to get results is to build on what you already have. Our software does just that, it helps bridge the gap between existing and emerging technologies, so you can innovate faster, with less risk, in the race to digital transformation. We have built solutions that target the four areas most critical to lasting Digital Transformation success, that includes Enterprise DevOps, Hybrid IT Management, Security, Risk & Governance, and Predictive Analytics.
We don’t believe in rip and replace; we believe in running and transforming, which means bridging the old and the new. Today, what customers want is business insights, we need big data and predictive analytics. Trillions of information of data lakes are churning out at an alarming rate and if we don’t give actionable insights, automate and take accurate decisions basis this data, if we are not able to mind this data intelligently, it is of no use again. So, we look at ML, AIOps, Analytics – user behavior.
Q. How do you feel India is adopting DevOps and what is different in Enterprise DevOps?
A. Digitisation of businesses demands a more agile way of operating the applications and processes to meet the constantly changing market demands. DevOps is what will give agility and competitive advantage to enterprises. India is adopting DevOps at a very fast pace but as compared to the western geographies, adoption in India is still at its nascent stage.
Customers today, look at more agile processes than waterfall processes. The focus is always to integrate with anything they have, this may include open source like Jenkins. In Enterprise DevOps, often known as Secure DevOps, we look at the application ecosystem. To win the race of innovation, it requires a high-speed approach, and this unleashes the power of DevOps across the Hybrid IT landscape, quickly bringing innovative ideas to life at the pace of business to securely deliver high-quality software and services faster and smoother.
Q. Please throw some light on Hybrid IT Management and its impact on our day-to-day lives?
A. For us (as customers or consumers of technology or application services), what matters to us is the access of service, security, the performance and the fact that the application is functioning once the question functions. For example, if you log in to any banking app and enter your username and password, it should go to the home screen and not transfer money screen. If the functionality is not proper, you would like to switch banks. But again, all that has a very complex Hybrid IT ecosystem that is not visible to us. You would probably not know if this is being accessed through a public cloud or a private cloud.
For instance, you go to any e-commerce site, you may get authenticated through a Google or a Facebook that may go to somewhere that is public, it might also go to private, which you never know. But what’s important for any organisation (who is the provider) is the fact that they need to manage this complex Hybrid IT ecosystem. It can be public, on-premise, private cloud, how you seamlessly move from one to the other if required is the question here. If you look at the backend, foundationally, Hybrid IT becomes extremely important for these customers in the organizations. You may also need to migrate the workload. For example, if your customers are in the journey of digital transformation, they may have legacy applications running on legacy infrastructure, and they need to migrate with the latest infrastructure.
Q. What are the main challenges that originations usually face while transforming themselves to a digital platform?
A. A recent study by IDC reported that about USD 7.1 billion was spent digitally in India in the year 2018 and is expected to grow to almost USD 9.9 billion plus. This means that digital transformation investments that customers are doing today are almost increasing by 30 per cent year on year. Another report from IDC mentioned that in India, almost 68.5 per cent of customers are still at its nascent stage of digital transformation only 33 per cent have reached the scale of maturity. In the next 4-5 years, more than half of the organizations will be purely dependent on digital. Whether you talk about a smart home or a smart city, smart technologies have touched every sector like banking, telecom, IT & ITes, manufacturing, government, etc.
Organisations are complex in its own state of affairs of the IT ecosystem and transforming themselves into a digital platform is not easy. They have a lot of projects to deliver and each project comes with their own technology, on-premise, legacy, private cloud, public cloud, virtualized ecosystem, containerized, which is complex in nature.
With IoT in the picture, we see that sensors can capture unstructured data and leverage it for business insights. Ensuring a smooth run in digital transformation journey for any corporate is really important and hence innovation needs to be faster than your competition and the risk should be minimal. So, in this complex IT ecosystem, while the IT, digital challenges remain, what’s unique and important is the fact that which organizations can partner with these customers to help them run and transform and innovate faster with lower risk, this is what the customers would look forward to.
Q. What have been your key business strategies for success at Micro Focus?
A. Micro Focus has got business go-to-market perspective with direct sales, pre-sales the consulting team, professional services, support organizations and much more. We work with partners globally and at present, we have over 4000 partners. We believe in partnerships and hence ensure that our work is done with the right team in order to fetch better deliverables. With direct presence in 43+ countries globally, we have worked with various segments like banking, telecom, IT/ITes, manufacturing, retail/e-commerce, and government public sectors.
We aim at strategising ourselves so that we can provide our customers with customised solutions in order to give them a better experience. We serve some of the largest companies in the world, with a broad and deep portfolio of software products that are targeted to help customers run and transform their business efficiently. We believe that driving large-scale transformations is the driving core of Micro Focus’s strategy of customer-centered innovation that underpins long term, sustainable success and hence we make sure that we can value our customer needs and help them grow.
Q. Any key tech predictions for the Indian Market in 2019?
A. 2018 has been a fast-moving year in enterprise technology. Modern data management has been a primary objective for most enterprise companies last year, evidenced by the dramatic increase in cloud adoption, strategic mergers, and acquisitions, the rise of AI and other emerging technologies.
In 2019, we expect the current industry disruptors and smart traditional companies to bring machine learning to all its data, instead of moving its data to the ML platforms. These companies will be able to accurately predict and influence outcomes, including predictive maintenance on medical devices, predictive revenue based on personalized customer behavior analytics, and proactive fraud detection and prevention.
Also, platforms will take on a “dynamic corpus” where data outside the predefined corpus will be discovered in real-time – effectively mining “seams” of data from virtually any data source including the dark web. It will significantly enhance the quality and quantity of relevant intelligence. CIOs and senior IT executives will be forced to support and standardize on Enterprise DevOps practices to avoid being disrupted due to the rough market situation.
Given human nature and the complexity of repository/hub systems, 2019 will be the year that someone will post private code to a public repository or hub. Many organizations recently placed components and or products into repositories or hubs for easier automatic distribution.