No one can dispute that 2020 was a year of reckoning and resilience for IT management professionals. They faced an incredible test – how to best accelerate digital transformation with little notice. In the blink of an eye, they moved workers from office to home, rethought supply chains, and found new, innovative ways to deliver goods and services to customers.
Jeremy D. Rader is the GM of Enterprise Strategy & Solutions in Intel’s Data Platforms Group, Cloud & Enterprise Solutions organization.
Our Enterprise Strategy and Solutions group spends a lot of time thinking about the broader trends shaping enterprise IT and applying them to the solutions Intel develops. Talking to our customers and partners over the last year, the strategic value of a well-designed IT infrastructure continues to grow in importance.
This is based on the digitization of everything, from digital service models that are shaping how we work to how we learn, to how we sustain community connections. This digital surge is increasing demands for more compute, storage and networking. Suddenly an organization’s infrastructure has evolved from a tactical operation to the heart of opening up new strategic business opportunities. We’re seeing a shift where semiconductors are in high demand and more popular than ever.
A few themes and important considerations have emerged as organizations rethink the role an infrastructure plays to achieve digital transformation goals:
Create an infrastructure that flexes with you
We’re seeing the cloudification of everything, the massive movement of data, apps and services to utilize the cloud is now the expectation of how businesses run their operations. Hybrid cloud in particular is taking a leading role for enterprise IT for its flexibility to move workloads based on the needs of an organizations. Edge computing will continue to gain in popularity. Gartner estimates that by 2021, “80% of enterprises will have shut down their traditional data center versus 10% in 2020”and we think this is with a reliance on hybrid cloud; a well-designed infrastructure that can move the data across different environments with speed will only grow in importance. The infrastructure must also flex based on the dramatic growth of apps and digital services. Another Gartner statistic predicts apps will grow by 50% in the next two years. The surge in apps and data can create bottlenecks in performance and availability; creating an infrastructure that balances performance, capacity and flexibility sets an enterprise up to quickly adapt.
Data analytics and AI continues to be at the forefront of IT priorities based on the revolutionary outcomes they’re driving to create more predictive and insightful experiences. Take for example healthcare where data analytics and AI are positively reshaping patient outcomes with new ways to analyze data to facilitate personalized care. We’re also seeing the potential in other sectors like energy to modernize smart grids that create better ways to manage renewable energy while more effectively managing equipment to increase employee safety.
But for all the promise of data analytics and AI, they are often unrealized for enterprises, as data largely remains untapped. The criticality of an infrastructure to move data across a pipeline in a meaningful way is the difference between gaining a competitive advantage or being on the losing end. Optimize for an infrastructure that integrates analytics and AI right into the platform. This is the key to unlocking faster and smarter business decisions.
Open and interoperable
The spike in digital transformation created some challenges in the volume of different technologies being adopted. Integration issues, limited usage and lack of visibility into the different platforms resulted. Particularly as cloud consumption grows in different flavors from hybrid, multi-cloud, private and public cloud environments, the complexity in how you manage these different services is increasing. For transformation goals to be achieved, the collection of technologies can’t be disparate, but must have an underlying infrastructure that can bring those technologies together in an open and interoperable way.
Modernize for a new security standard
The threat landscape is always evolving, not only in the sophistication of threats, but also the architectural considerations. An infrastructure has to accommodate for the shift in how we work with security that is designed in to facilitate encryption that can scale across a distributed work environment that ultimately creates a chain of trust on app and data flow.
An adaptive infrastructure for today and tomorrow
Each business has a unique set of requirements for workloads and workload needs will continue to evolve. An infrastructure that can support business shifts in an organization’s digital transformation journey is vital to driving the right business outcomes to increase growth, decrease costs and creating those tighter connections to customers.
As we embark on the new normal, technology has never been so important to our success. The demand for more compute is insatiable and by creating an infrastructure that is built for digital scale, an organization is well positioned to thrive today and tomorrow.
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Jeremy D. Rader is the General Manager of Enterprise Strategy & Solutions (ESS) in Intel’s Data Platforms Group (DPG), Cloud & Enterprise Solutions (CESG) organization.