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Three technologies that can uplift Australian business resilience
Mon, 11th Dec 2023

While businesses recognise the crucial role that technology and innovation plays in boosting resiliency, they may not be across all of the technologies that have the greatest potential.

In Australia, it’s no surprise to find businesses are resiliency-focused, with multiple surveys this year pointing to the existence of operating challenges but also opportunities. Opportunities, in particular, arise for businesses that have set up foundations that enable faster adaptation to a dynamic macroenvironment that is home to rapidly changing operating conditions.

Those able to develop business resilience are better placed to remain agile and to take constant change in their stride.

A recent survey by HSBC found that 63% of Australian businesses are building resiliency and preparing for future uncertainty “by adopting technology or investing in innovation”. About a quarter are prioritising tools “that enable digitised production processes” in response, which could be considered as coming under the umbrella of workflow automation.

This is reflective of what we’re seeing in the market, albeit that it is one of three foundational technologies that can benefit businesses striving for greater resiliency. Other technologies that can also be supportive of a business resilience uplift include cloud observability and artificial intelligence. 

Observability, AI, and workflow automation together can boost business resilience by providing insight into complex IT systems in real time. Adopting these capabilities can eliminate manual work and identify cyber threats that pose risks to data and applications.

Together, these technologies also support business resilience by enabling operational efficiency, cost reduction, and product innovation - all critical business benefits in the wake of abrupt change and disruption.

Companies that learn to harness these technologies effectively can discover risks early, remediate problems, and to innovate and operate more efficiently are likely to achieve competitive advantage sooner.

It is worth exploring each of these technologies in more detail to understand how each contributes to an improved resiliency posture.

Modern observability
Today’s businesses operate in complex cloud environments, comprising multiple cloud-based systems to handle various functions of the business, from core systems like finance and HR to customer relationship management and accepting payments. Given the complexity, businesses often lack visibility into activity in these environments and how problems arise.

Observability is the ability to measure a system’s current state based on the data it generates, such as logs, metrics, and traces. The goal of observability is to provide a comprehensive view of cloud applications, services, and other cloud-based entities so teams can detect and resolve issues. 

With this kind of comprehensive observability, teams can ensure business resilience with systems that operate efficiently and reliably and keep customers satisfied.

Workflow automation
Businesses can reduce errors generated by manual workflows and boost team productivity with workflow automation. 

Manual processes are error-prone, given the reliance on human input. They also require substantive effort, which can consume significant staff resources that could be better spent on higher-level, strategic projects.

Workflow automation not only ensures business resilience but also helps boost productivity and innovative thinking. There are many real-world uses for process automation, including the ability to automatically provision infrastructure - critical for organisations that use cloud architecture - as well as closed-loop remediation capability and the ability to enable teams to collaborate and address problems through targeted notification.

Data indicates that 73% of leaders in the IT industry attribute some 10% to 50% of time savings by shifting manual tasks to automated ones. and increased efficiency enables teams to become more efficient, strategic, and innovative.

Integrated security and vulnerability management
Even businesses that have a multi-layered security approach worry about the potential for an application vulnerability to impact their environment. A zero-day vulnerability - which becomes apparent only as it is being used in active attacks - can easily penetrate an organisation’s defences. 

Automatic, continuous runtime vulnerability management integrated with observability is key to filling the gap in the capabilities of existing security solutions. However, most organisations lack this real-time visibility. 

A platform that can identify vulnerabilities in production and prioritise actions for remediation is thus critical for business resilience as cyber threats mount and companies risk losing hundreds of thousands of dollars in the days and weeks that follow an attack.

Explainable and transparent AI
AI promises to boost business resilience in multiple ways, including by looking across an organisation’s data and trends to find key insights or by being able to discern broader trends in the market and synthesise possible commercial responses. Used correctly, it could be an ideas engine that keeps business leaders more informed and on top of key trends and changing expectations than ever.

But as the AI models evolve, many organisations are concerned the algorithms aren’t transparent in how they reach certain conclusions. For organisations to trust AI-enabled results, the algorithms cannot be based on data that is an impenetrable black box they can’t verify.

Platforms built on “explainable AI” principles not only deliver answers using AI but also enable teams to understand how the platform arrived at those answers, conclusions, and recommendations. Cloud observability that uses fault-tree analysis, for example, can graphically display and map the precise source of error.

As a result, organisations can see exactly how the system arrived at a certain result because the fault tree displays the logic leading to certain conclusions clearly, which boosts business resilience.