Interview: Darren Hnatiw, Frontier Software
In our annual Leaders in Technology series, we ask the experts what the year ahead holds. Today we talk 5G and automation with Frontier Software’s Darren Hnatiw.
Which technologies do you think will be game changers in 2020?
Once upon a time, the humble browser was only used for serving up HTML documents or swathes of information. These days, more and more applications are available online, including development environments. For coders, this supports a ‘develop anywhere’ mentality and creates great opportunities for sourcing and employing coding resources. Businesses will exploit the reduced costs of much lower-spec machines for in-house coders. Browser-based solutions will also extend the life of machines as hardware upgrades will be less frequent.
How are AI, IoT and cyber threats changing your industry sector?
The IoT has always presented increased attack vectors which need to be minimised and properly segregated from core business. An increasing and emerging threat comes from the rollout of 5G networks. 5G offers high bandwidth and incredibly low latency which will encourage an increase in the number of IoT devices accessing enterprise networks. If you were exercising caution prior to 5G, you will need to redouble your efforts now. AI can assist here by helping to reduce the time between intrusion detection and its subsequent containment.
Which innovations or disruptions are your customers most concerned about in the year ahead?
There was once a time when payroll and HCM solutions were designed as transactional tools. They operated as electronic forms and filing cabinets with the ability to extract raw data in a reporting format. Over time they evolved to become sources of truth that provided business insights to inform strategic planning. Now, HR is starting to consider the entire HR offering as an experience and is looking for ways to incorporate many best-of-breed platforms into a single, intuitive user or team-centric offering that is device agnostic. This presents significant challenge and opportunity to vendors in this space.
What will be the biggest growth opportunities for your company in 2020?
The short term offers exciting opportunities for robotic automation. Automation will operate at the user interface level and will result in faster processing and lower levels of error than manual processing. It will also enable deeper integration with other business processes. RPA robots can complete many tasks once done by humans. They can log into applications, access files, copy and paste data, fill in forms etc and can do so continuously. In a global market, this offers opportunities for 24/7 operations. Costs savings can also be invested in re-skilling employees whose roles are affected by automation.
What’s on your tech wish list for 2020?
The creation of agreed standards for employees and company data would enable portability for clients, enabling them to switch vendors easily. Using blockchain as a method to store and protect employee data would aid this process. In the event that an individual changes employers, having agreed data standards would streamline the process. By providing a security token to their blockchain entry, new employers could quickly access important employee data, such as Tax File Numbers, banking details and super fund membership data. The flow-on effect for applications such as onboarding would be less time spent on administration and more on cultural and team indoctrination.
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