While many AI companies have been around for years, this will be the year that many of them make a significant play into enterprises in Asia Pacific. This comes at a time when many organisations are attempting to reduce tech debt and simplify their tech architecture.
For these AI startups to succeed, they will need to create watertight business cases, and do a lot of the hard work in pre-integrating their solutions with the larger platforms to reduce the time to value and simplify the systems integration work.
To respond to these emerging threats, existing tech providers will need to not only accelerate their own use of AI in their platforms, but also ramp up the education and promotion of these capabilities.
#2 Lead With Data, Not AI Capabilities
Organisations recognise the need for AI to enhance their workforce, improve customer experience, and automate processes. However, the initial challenge lies in improving data quality, as trust in early AI models hinges on high-quality training data for long-term success.
Tech vendors that can help with data source discovery, metadata analysis, and seamless data pipeline creation will emerge as trusted AI partners. Transformation tools that automate deduplication and quality assurance tasks empower data scientists to focus on high-value work. Automation models like Segment Anything enhance unstructured data labeling, particularly for images. Finally synthetic data will gain importance as quality sources become scarce.
Tech vendors will be tempted to capitalise on the Generative AI hype but for sake of positive early experiences, they should begin with data quality.
#3 Prepare Thoroughly for AI-driven Business Demand
Besides pureplay AI opportunities, AI will drive a renewed and increased interest in data and data management. Tech and service providers can capitalise on this by understanding the larger picture around their clients’ data maturity and governance. Initial conversations around AI can be door openers to bigger, transformational engagements.
Tech vendors should avoid the pitfall of downplaying AI risks. Instead, they should make all efforts to own and drive the conversation with their clients. They need to be forthcoming about their in-house responsible AI guidelines and understand what is happening in AI legislation world-wide (hint: a lot!)
Tech providers must establish strong client partnerships for AI initiatives to succeed. They must address risk and benefit equally to reap the benefits of larger AI-driven transformation engagements.
#4 Converge Network & Security Capabilities
Networking and security vendors will need to develop converged offerings as these two technologies increasingly overlap in the hybrid working era. Organisations are now entering a new phase of maturity as they evolve their remote working policies and invest in tools to regain control. They will require simplified management, increased visibility, and to provide a consistent user experience, wherever employees are located.
There has already been a widespread adoption of SD-WAN and now organisations are starting to explore next generation SSE technologies. Procuring these capabilities from a single provider will help to remove complexity from networks as the number of endpoints continue to grow.
Tech providers should take a land and expand approach, getting a foothold with SASE modules that offer rapid ROI. They should focus on SWG and ZTNA deals with an eye to expanding in CASB and FWaaS, as customers gain experience.
#5 Double Down on Your Partner Ecosystem
The IT services market, particularly in Asia Pacific, is poised for significant growth. Factors, including the imperative to cut IT operational costs, the growing complexity of cloud migrations and transformations, change management for Generative AI capabilities, and rising security and data governance needs, will drive increased spending on IT services.
Tech services providers – consultants, SIs, managed services providers, and VARs – will help drive organisations’ tech spend and strategy. This is a good time to review partners, evaluating whether they can take the business forward, or whether there is a need to expand or change the partner mix.
Partner reviews should start with an evaluation of processes and incentives to ensure they foster desired behaviour from customers and partners. Tech vendors should develop a 21st century partner program to improve chances of success.
Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Juniper Networks for USD 40 per share, totaling an equity value of about USD 14 Billion. This strategic move is aimed to enhance HPE’s portfolio by focusing on higher-growth solutions and reinforcing their high-margin networking business. HPE expects to double their networking business, positioning the combined entity as a leader in networking solutions. With the growing demand for secure, unified technology driven by AI and hybrid cloud trends, HPE aims to offer comprehensive, disruptive solutions that connect, protect, and analyse data from edge to cloud.
This would also be the organisation’s largest deal since becoming an independent company in 2015. The acquisition is expected to be completed by late 2024 or early 2025.
Ecosystm analysts Darian Bird and Richard Wilkins provide their insights on the HPE acquisition and its implications for the tech market.
Converging Networking and Security
One of the big drawcards for HPE is Juniper’s Mist AI. The networking vendors have been racing to catch up – both in capabilities and in marketing. The acquisition though will give HPE a leadership position in network visibility and manageability. With GreenLake and soon Mist AI, HPE will have a solid AIOps story across the entire infrastructure.
HPE has been working steadily towards becoming a player in the converged networking-security space. They integrated Silver Peak well to make a name for themselves in SD-WAN and last year acquiring Axis Security gave them the Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA), Secure Web Gateway (SWG), and Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) modules in the Secure Service Edge (SSE) stack. Bringing all of this to the market with Juniper’s networking prowess positions HPE as a formidable player, especially as the Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) market gains momentum.
As the market shifts towards converged SASE, there will only be more interest in the SD-WAN and SSE vendors. In just over one year, Cato Networks and Netskope have raised funds, Check Point acquired Perimeter 81, and Versa Networks has made noises about an IPO. The networking and security players are all figuring out how they can deliver a single-vendor SASE.
Although HPE’s strategic initiatives signal a robust market position, potential challenges arise from the overlap between Aruba and Juniper. However, the distinct focus on the edge and data center, respectively, may help alleviate these concerns. The acquisition also marks HPE’s foray into the telecom space, leveraging its earlier acquisition of Athonet and establishing a significant presence among service providers. This expansion enhances HPE’s overall market influence, posing a challenge to the long-standing dominance of Cisco.
The strategic acquisition of Juniper Networks by HPE can make a transformative leap in AIOps and Software-Defined Networking (SDN). There is a potential for this to establish a new benchmark in IT management.
AI in IT Operations Transformation
The integration of Mist’s AI-driven wireless solutions and HPE’s SDN is a paradigm shift in IT operations management and will help organisations transition from a reactive to a predictive and proactive model. Mist’s predictive analytics, coupled with HPE’s SDN capabilities, empower networks to dynamically adjust to user demands and environmental changes, ensuring optimal performance and user experience. Marvis, Mist’s Virtual Network Assistant (VNA), adds conversational troubleshooting capabilities, enhancing HPE’s network solutions. The integration envisions an IT ecosystem where Juniper’s AI augments HPE’s InfoSight, providing deeper insights into network behaviour, preemptive security measures, and more autonomous IT operations.
Transforming Cloud and Edge Computing
The incorporation of Juniper’s AI into HPE’s cloud and edge computing solutions promises a significant improvement in data processing and management. AI-driven load balancing and resource allocation mechanisms will significantly enhance multi-cloud environment efficiency, ensuring robust and seamless cloud services, particularly vital in IoT applications where real-time data processing is critical. This integration not only optimises cloud operations but also has the potential to align with HPE’s commitment to sustainability, showcasing how AI advancements can contribute to energy conservation.
In summary, HPE’s acquisition of Juniper Networks, and specifically the integration of the Mist AI platform, is a pivotal step towards an AI-driven, efficient, and predictive IT infrastructure. This can redefine the standards in AIOps and SDN, creating a future where IT systems are not only reactive but also intuitively adaptive to the evolving demands of the digital landscape.
#1 Gen AI Will See Spike in Infrastructure Innovation
Enterprises considering the adoption of Generative AI are evaluating cloud-based solutions versus on-premises solutions. Cloud-based options present an advantage in terms of simplified integration, but raise concerns over the management of training data, potentially resulting in AI-generated hallucinations. On-premises alternatives offer enhanced control and data security but encounter obstacles due to the unexpectedly high demands of GPU computing needed for inferencing, impeding widespread implementation. To overcome this, there’s a need for hardware innovation to meet Generative AI demands, ensuring scalable on-premises deployments.
The collaboration between hardware development and AI innovation is crucial to unleash the full potential of Generative AI and drive enterprise adoption in the AI ecosystem.
Striking the right balance between cloud-based flexibility and on-premises control is pivotal, with considerations like data control, privacy, scalability, compliance, and operational requirements.
#2 Cloud Migrations Will Make Way for Cloud Transformations
The steady move to the public cloud has slowed down. Organisations – particularly those in mature economies – now prioritise cloud efficiencies, having largely completed most of their application migration. The “easy” workloads have moved to the cloud – either through lift-and-shift, SaaS, or simple replatforming.
New skills will be needed as organisations adopt public and hybrid cloud for their entire application and workload portfolio.
Cloud-native development frameworks like Spring Boot and ASP.NET Core make it easier to develop cloud-native applications
Cloud-native databases like MongoDB and Cassandra are designed for the cloud and offer scalability, performance, and reliability
Cloud-native storage like Snowflake, Amazon S3 and Google Cloud Storage provides secure and scalable storage
Cloud-native messaging like Amazon SNS and Google Cloud Pub/Sub provide reliable and scalable communication between different parts of the cloud-native application
#3 2024 Will be a Good Year for Technology Services Providers
Several changes are set to fuel the growth of tech services providers (systems integrators, consultants, and managed services providers).
There will be a return of “big apps” projects in 2024.
Companies are embarking on significant updates for their SAP, Oracle, and other large ERP, CRM, SCM, and HRM platforms. Whether moving to the cloud or staying on-premises, these upgrades will generate substantial activity for tech services providers.
The migration of complex apps to the cloud involves significant refactoring and rearchitecting, presenting substantial opportunities for managed services providers to transform and modernise these applications beyond traditional “lift-and-shift” activities.
The dynamic tech landscape, marked by AI growth, evolving security threats, and constant releases of new cloud services, has led to a shortage of modern tech skills. Despite a more relaxed job market, organisations will increasingly turn to their tech services partners, whether onshore or offshore, to fill crucial skill gaps.
#4 Gen AI and Maturing Deepfakes Will Democratise Phishing
As with any emerging technology, malicious actors will be among the fastest to exploit Generative AI for their own purposes. The most immediate application will be employing widely available LLMs to generate convincing text and images for their phishing schemes. For many potential victims, misspellings and strangely worded appeals are the only hints that an email from their bank, courier, or colleague is not what it seems. The ability to create professional-sounding prose in any language and a variety of tones will unfortunately democratise phishing.
The emergence of Generative AI combined with the maturing of deepfake technology will make it possible for malicious agents to create personalised voice and video attacks. Digital channels for communication and entertainment will be stretched to differentiate between real and fake.
Security training that underscores the threat of more polished and personalised phishing is a must.
#5 A Holistic Approach to Risk and Operational Resilience Will Drive Adoption of VMaaS
Vulnerability management is a continuous, proactive approach to managing system security. It not only involves vulnerability assessments but also includes developing and implementing strategies to address these vulnerabilities. This is where Vulnerability Management Platforms (VMPs) become table stakes for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) as they are often perceived as “easier targets” by cybercriminals due to potentially lesser investments in security measures.
Vulnerability Management as a Service (VMaaS) – a third-party service that manages and controls threats to automate vulnerability response to remediate faster – can improve the asset cybersecurity management and let SMEs focus on their core activities.
In-house security teams will particularly value the flexibility and customisation of dashboards and reports that give them enhanced visibility over all assets and vulnerabilities.