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Hybrid work, ubiquitous computing, cybersecurity, will shape the future of businesses, says Satya Nadella

Hybrid work, ubiquitous computing, cybersecurity, will shape the future of businesses, says Satya Nadella
Satya Nadella, CEO and chairman of Microsoft  |  Photo Credit: Reuters
11 Jan, 2022

How businesses sell, support customers, manufacture and connect with their employees is undergoing a sea change said Satya Nadella, CEO and chairman of Microsoft at the two-day Microsoft Future Ready virtual conference beginning January 11.  

Nadella pointed out that the world is moving from a mobile and cloud era to an era of ubiquitous computing and ambient intelligence, and it will see more digitisation in the next 10 years than the last 40 years.  

“Computing is becoming distributed and embedded in the real world. And the application models are transforming rapidly to run on the edge with new ambient intelligent capabilities,” he added.  

According to Nadella, hybrid work and flexibility will play a key role in keeping employees happy and preventing egress. “More and more people are also asking that very fundamental question, why we work. This leads to two challenges that what we call the hybrid paradox and the great reshuffle. More people are changing jobs than ever before. When it comes to hybrid work, there is no standard and flexibility will be key,” he added.  

According to a 2021 survey by Microsoft, 73% of workers wanted flexible remote work to continue. Microsoft is one of the companies that have indefinitely delayed their employees’ return to the office. 

Also read: Xbox Gaming will be a key focus in Microsoft’s Metaverse, Nadella

To support hybrid work, Nadella also emphasised the importance of building the digital infrastructure that “brings together both digital and physical spaces.”  

Nadella feels, going forward, every business process will be collaborative, powered by data and artificial intelligence (AI) to bridge the digital and physical worlds.  

Last November, Microsoft had unveiled its plans to leverage Metaverse and offer some collaborative experiences for professionals through Mesh for Teams.  

Building a hyper-connected business will play a key role, pointed out Nadella. “We need that next level of real-time hyperconnectivity between businesses and between consumers and businesses where data and intelligence flow freely to tackle the challenges of supply and demand,” he said.  

Nadella has a point. According to a 2021 report by Gartner, by 2025, 80% of customer service organisations will move away from native mobile apps to messaging for a better customer experience. According to him, every business is becoming a digital business and building digital capability will be of paramount importance. “It requires that you have the best multi-cloud and multi-edge infrastructure. And it requires that you have the best tooling to support fusion teams across the organisation,” he added. 

The success of all these key trends will hinge to large extent on how secure they are against the growing cyber threats, warned Nadella. “Cybersecurity is the biggest threat to digital transformation today and it’s the number one risk facing every business going forward. If you think about the amount of change during the pandemic that our IT and cyber operations had to go through, as every business process became remote, this complexity will only increase,” he added.  

Cyberattacks on enterprises have increased considerably and have cost them trillions of dollars in ransom payments, business disruption and penalties for failing to secure customer data. According to a 2021 report by Cybersecurity Ventures, the cost of cybercrime is growing 15% annually and is estimated to reach $10.5 trillion per year by 2025.  

“Every organisation needs comprehensive tools across identity security, compliance, privacy, as well as management, and they need a cross-platform multi-cloud zero trust architecture,” added Nadella.