10 Strategic Drivers that will Reshape the Smart Enterprise

Digital Transformation today is recreating business models, disrupting how customers and employees function and altering whole industries. Social and business value surges when people, devices and resources are digitally connected, making knowledge and insights commonly shared assets. As Information and Communications Technology (ICT) leader with 120 years of expertise and experience, NEC shares its views on leading and emerging trends and technologies that help enterprises anchor their strategic investments, simplify their organization, realize workforce efficiencies and gain competitive advantages.

In this blog we briefly explore the Top 10 Strategic Drivers that NEC distinguishes that will shape an organization’s operations the coming year and beyond:


Making staff omnipresent and ‘always on’ is key to smart enterprises to operate efficiently and effectively in today’s fast-paced business environments. Employees expect to be able to work from anywhere, at any given time whether on-site, at home, between appointments or traveling.

Mobile technologies have advanced to ensure they remain fully integrated with their organization, colleagues and customers - irrespective of where they are. Continued innovation will drive new services, extending communications, data and business applications to all mobile devices.


Modular services, pay per use and flexible deployment models allow businesses to invest in just what is needed now, trimming up-front costs and move from CAPEX to OPEX. In 2020 Everything-as-a-Service (XaaS) will gain even more momentum, in even the most hardware-driven industries and sectors of society.

The rapidly evolving trend towards Microservices as the model to build next-generation, cloud-native applications uses Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and cloud to break applications into simple, discrete services, which benefits their scalability and reliability,


Today’s ‘On-Demand’ generation does not expect, want or have to wait for anything. They acquire information, products and entertainment instantly, on demand. Accustomed to immediate accessibility they force businesses to be increasingly agile and responsive, changing business dynamics dramatically.

Cloud computing has revolutionized IT and software systems delivery. New technologies including Edge Computing combined with AI and the Internet of Things (IoT) are reimagining the possibilities of the cloud. This will boost the widespread instant availability of services and insights across businesses and society.


Informed and connected workspaces drive productivity and reduce latency, from development to customer care. Unified Communications and Collaboration tools allow disparate teams to work together in real time and enable individuals to interact efficiently and effectively with co-workers, clients and suppliers. With conferencing and file sharing made easy, collaboration has become the de facto standard for communications, eliminating the need to travel to meet in person.

Users can securely access their working environment with any device, enjoying a consistent and rich-media experience. Smart workspaces create a collaborative and highly interactive environment and become an integrated part of daily life.


The battle among enterprises for tomorrow’s customers is fought and won on customer experience. Every company wants to deliver connected Customer Experiences (CX) across channels, processes and departments. Ensuring swift responses to queries requires seamless interaction between team members, customers and suppliers.

Smart enterprises will reinvent their customer engagement models, reshaping their business approach from revenue to customer driven, in order to deliver customers a unique, personalized experience. One of its keys lies in closely matching human behaviour and creating profiles that match the personality of customers and their intent.


The ubiquity of IT systems and our increasing dependence on them make cyber security a key topic in board rooms and society at large. Cyber security includes all technologies, processes, and practices designed to protect networks, devices, programs and data from attack, damage or unauthorized access.

Blockchain technology will make transactions less riddled with fraud and insecurity. It allows companies to trace a transaction and work with unknown parties, which greatly reduces business friction. Quantum communications takes advantage of the laws of physics to protect against eavesdropping by means of quantum cryptography. Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) sends encrypted data as classical bits over networks, while the keys to decrypt the information are encoded and transmitted in a quantum state using qubits.


Today’s high performance enterprises require a robust communications and IT infrastructure capable of providing always-on availability that can self-heal should potential service disruptions occur. Hardware- and software-based fault tolerance solutions that deliver Five 9s uninterrupted service are instrumental to guard against outages without compromising performance. Virtualized infrastructures improve business continuity and protect mission critical applications through system-level fault tolerance.

With the rapid growth of quantified and digitalized data and increased volumes of data flowing across networks and between devices, the risk of data leaks and breaches makes fail-proof security essential. The Smart Enterprise needs to therefore build security into all organizational processes.


Converting data from real life objects, contexts and people into digital information can make meaningful patterns emerge. Augmented analytics identify hidden patterns while removing personal bias and will increasingly be embedded into applications. While analytics tools are so far mostly focused on descriptive outcomes, their application will move on towards predictive and prescriptive usage – making predictions about future events and behaviour and recommendations on how to react to the predicted outcomes.

The surge in gathered and processed data requires storage solutions to become more flexible and scalable as organizations find it increasingly complex to store, protect and manage all collected information. Storage solutions will increasingly focus on manageability as well as ensured reliability.


Artificial Intelligence will continue to be one of the top strategic drivers in the coming decade and is increasingly applied to enhance processes without the need to involve experts - from recognition, prediction and optimization to reasoning. It combines data from a variety of sensors and includes facial recognition, behaviour analysis, object fingerprint as well as speech and emotion recognition.

While Artificial Intelligence suggests automation is to substitute human involvement, Augmented Intelligence focuses on its assistive role, enhancing human intelligence rather than replacing it. Incorporating this into applications, platforms and services, benefits enterprises in areas widespread as exploration, development, production, transport and customer relationship management.


Important steps are being made towards building smarter societies – where Information and Communications Technologies play a vital role in ensuring energy efficiency, sustainable economic development, enhanced safety and security, along with wise management of natural resources.

New businesses and social habitats are emerging from the organic linkage of people, physical things, and processes, all spurred by IoT and Intelligent Automation. At an individual level, education and healthcare solutions will enhance learning and wellbeing. Digital inclusion will enable intensified participation in society and make people feel more valued, offering more potential and realizing a brighter future for all.

Explore NEC’s Top 10 Strategic Realities reshaping the Smart Enterprise in full and Download your free copy below.

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