The enterprise IoT revolution: staying functional
Often, change isn’t a linear process. A perfect example of this lies with the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT).
After a gradual build, with the predominant focus being on consumer technology such as smart-watches and fitness trackers, the IoT is now driving a rapid evolution in the business world.
The network’s edge is set to expand exponentially within enterprises, as IT departments seek to collect data to gain efficiencies in energy usage, workplace safety and collaboration tools. This undoubtedly represents progress for businesses — in fact 88% of IT decision makers state that IoT devices will make their workplaces more effective.
However, advancement comes with challenges. With such a large quantity of IoT devices being added to internal networks, regularly delivering essential updates could prove an almost insurmountable obstacle for IT teams. Especially given that these devices come complete with a wide range of update schedules and operating systems.
Indeed, Kollective’s research has revealed that over half of IT departments think it will be impossible to keep enterprise IoT devices up-to-date all the time. If this prediction proves accurate, the repercussions could be alarming for organizations of any size —from small and medium enterprises to global conglomerates.
If businesses are unable to overcome this problem, they risk having devices that lack the latest functionality and that pose a security threat to their networks.
Only 5% of businesses believe that there are no obstacles to enterprise-wide IoT adoption, showing that there are clearly many difficulties ahead.
Perhaps the sheer scale of the hurdle that IT organizations have to jump is best illustrated by a simple fact: they already struggle to distribute Windows 10 and line-of-business application updates to the desktops, mobile phones and laptops currently connected to their networks.
And, telecommunications company Ericsson reports that there will be as many as 18 billion IoT devices by 2022. Admittedly, some of these devices will be for consumers and used in the home — however many will be added to enterprise networks.
This represents a sea-change in the way IT departments will need to operate. The IoT offers a vast variety of benefits — from automating processes to enhancing asset utilization and even reducing maintenance costs; But, only if the devices are able to function effectively.
Additionally, the security liabilities of devices that are left without regular updates cannot be overstated. Kollective’s research shows that 55% of IT leaders believe that security risks are the primary barrier in IoT adoption for enterprises.
Lagging behind could have serious consequences for late-adopters, with rival companies benefitting from first-mover advantage and racing ahead in terms of digital transformation.
Organizations will have to contend with the security challenges that come with this huge increase in edge devices on their networks, provided they don’t want to be left trailing in the wake of the IoT revolution.
Future-proofing your network
Large-scale IoT networks are the future. Distributing updates quickly and securely to the to all endpoints within the organization sometimes in remote regions across the globe, will be a vital component of business operations moving forward. Enterprises that want to stay competitive must invest in endpoint management.
So, what is the solution to this looming issue? When Kollective asked IT leaders what could be done to help them reach the edge of their networks more effectively, almost half (47%) said increased investment in software-defined networking infrastructure.
Without putting any additional strain on their networks, a Software-Defined Enterprise Content Delivery Network (SD -ECDN) can keep thousands — if not hundreds of thousands — of devices up-to-date, right to the very edge of the network. This architectural approach allows networks to be controlled centrally and intuitively through the use of software alone.
Replacing existing hardware, or dramatically increasing the amount of bandwidth available, are both costly and time consuming endeavours. Being able to distribute updates to the network edge using their existing architecture is already critical for businesses looking to update laptops, mobiles and PCs. As such, there’s no reason why — in the future — the same technology couldn’t apply to the IoT.
By Kirk Wolfe, VP of Corporate Development, Kollective
How changing your company's software code can prevent bias
Two-third of tech professionals believe organizations aren’t doing enough to address racial inequality. After all, many companies will just hire a DEI consultant, have a few training sessions and call it a day.
Wanting to take a unique yet impactful approach to DEI, Deltek, the leading global provider of software and solutions for project-based businesses, took a look at and removed all exclusive terminology in their software code. By removing terms such as ‘master’ and ‘blacklist’ from company coding, Deltek is working to ensure that diversity and inclusion are woven into every aspect of their organization.
Business Chief North America talks to Lisa Roberts, Senior Director of HR and Leader of Diversity & Inclusion at Deltek to find out more.
Why should businesses today care about removing company bias within their software code?
We know that words can have a profound impact on people and leave a lasting impression. Many of the words that have been used in a technology environment were created many years ago, and today those words can be harmful to our customers and employees. Businesses should use words that will leave a positive impact and help create a more inclusive culture in their organization
What impact can exclusive terms have on employees?
Exclusive terms can have a significant impact on employees. It starts with the words we use in our job postings to describe the responsibilities in the position and of course, we also see this in our software code and other areas of the business. Exclusive terminology can be hurtful, and even make employees feel unwelcome. That can impact a person’s desire to join the team, stay at a company, or ultimately decide to leave. All of these critical actions impact the bottom line to the organization.
Please explain how Deltek has removed bias terminology from its software code
Deltek’s engineering team has removed biased terminology from our products, as well as from our documentation. The terms we focused on first that were easy to identify include blacklist, whitelist, and master/slave relationships in data architecture. We have also made some progress in removing gendered language, such as changing he and she to they in some documentation, as well as heteronormative language. We see this most commonly in pick lists that ask to identify someone as your husband or wife. The work is not done, but we are proud of how far we’ve come with this exercise!
What steps is Deltek taking to ensure biased terminology doesn’t end up in its code in the future?
What we are doing at Deltek, and what other organizations can do, is to put accountability on employees to recognize when this is happening – if you see something, say something! We also listen to feedback our customers give us and have heard their feedback on this topic. Those are both very reactive things of course, but we are also proactive. We have created guidance that identifies words that are more inclusive and also just good practice for communicating in a way that includes and respects others.
What advice would you give to other HR leaders who are looking to enhance DEI efforts within company technology?
My simple advice is to start with what makes sense to your organization and culture. Doing nothing is worse than doing something. And one of the best places to start is by acknowledging this is not just an HR initiative. Every employee owns the success of D&I efforts, and employees want to help the organization be better. For example, removing bias terminology was an action initiated by our Engineering and Product Strategy teams at Deltek, not HR. You can solicit the voices of employees by asking for feedback in engagement surveys, focus groups, and town halls. We hear great recommendations from employees and take those opportunities to improve.