For companies in the technology, media and telecommunications (TMT) sector, digitalisation is both an opportunity and a challenge.
The last decade has seen rapid growth in both the way businesses use connected and digital tools in their operations, and in the number of businesses built entirely in the digital realm.
Digital access to and consumption of content and services is now commonplace. Disruptors are applying the same technologies to retail, travel and hospitality. And the “sharing” economy is built almost entirely on digital foundations.
Yet, in Willis Towers Watson’s TMT Risk Index, digitalisation and technological advances ranks second rather than first. Is that a surprise? Perhaps not. As the sector depends so much on digital technology, many firms have already embraced this new reality and have largely built it into their plans.
It’s not just digital business models that are now at the core of how firms in the sector operate. The Risk Index shows that bring your own device (BYOD) and the internet of things (IoT) together rank ninth, well behind risk factors such as outdated IT or technological disruption.
Rather than suggesting that TMT firms are blasé about the dangers they face, it is likely that they’ve embraced – or will be embracing – the opportunities that technology presents.
Looking first at BYOD, it is safe to say that had we carried out this research two or three years ago, using personal devices at work would have been higher on executives’ lists of concerns. But with improved mobile solutions and connectivity, the experience of using tablets, smartphones and laptops in TMT-sector businesses has proved largely positive.
A business culture that relies heavily on freelancers and contractors is also one where the use of personal technology is not only tolerated but also encouraged and expected.
IT departments play their role too. The tools available to businesses today to protect personal devices and sensitive data are more effective, and IT teams are better able to deploy them.
The IoT, however, is a less well-known quantity. Recent industry research suggests that almost two in three businesses use the IoT in at least part of their operations or are looking to do so. But, while IoT use is picking up strongly in areas such as transport and logistics, it is still fairly new for TMT firms to use in their own operations. This could explain its relatively low risk for TMT firms today.
As IoT use increases in the sector, so will the risks this phenomenon represents. But those risks can be mitigated in much the same way as firms have moved to tackle the risks posed by BYOD. Once you determine the increased vulnerabilities created in the value proposition, secure the systems and drive security awareness in the firm, then adapting IoT solutions need not be as dangerous as many fear.