2015: The Year of Business Transformation

By Rajesh Janey, President, India & SAARC, EMC Corporation

Rajesh Janey, President, India & SAARC, EMC Corporation

EMC Corporation (NYSE:EMC) is a provider of data storage, information security, virtualization, analytics, cloud computing and other products and services. The company currently has a market cap of $51.15 Billion.

Today, we are living in the Information Generation – driven by four powerful trends—namely, social networking, mobile, Big Data Analytics and cloud computing (SMAC) which have fundamentally changed the expectations of consumers and end-users who increasingly want to interact online, anytime and from anywhere, making IT more strategically important than ever before.

By 2020, more than seven billion people and businesses, and at least 30 billion devices, will be connected to the Internet. With people, businesses and things communicating, transacting, and even negotiating with each other, a new world comes into being – the world of digital business. It promises to usher in an unprecedented convergence of people, business and things that disrupts existing business models – even those born of the Internet and e-business eras.

Digital business is about the creation of new business designs by blurring the physical and digital world. It is about the interaction and negotiations between, business, and things. It is when things starts to negotiate amongst themselves (as well as people and business) that we start to see how we have entered an entirely new and disruptive world which is SOFTWARE driven and the faster adoption of this by businesses will be a huge competitive advantage.

New applications are driving richer, more engaging and more convenient customer experiences, while established, proven back end systems continue to execute core business processes. In most enterprises, IT spend is approximately 67% on Operations and only 33% on Growth and Investments and this will need to change to adapt to the Information Generation. Business transformation requires building new innovative capabilities AND running existing systems more efficiently.
This new way of living has put new demands on businesses, which means enterprises need to innovate faster than ever before and adopt a digital mind set. Some of the key technology trends that enterprises can look for are:
Onwards with the Software-Defined Enterprise: If ever there were any doubts about software being the heart of computing, they are melting away in the heat of movements such as the SDDC (software-defined data centre) and SDN (software-defined networking). This year, the idea of “software-defined” IT will truly gather momentum and federated solutions that combine expertise from well-aligned technology partners will find favour with more and more organisations.

Converged Infrastructure gains ground: As virtualisation continues to tie servers and networking closer together and silos within enterprise IT begin to dissolve, there will be a higher adoption of converged infrastructure—systems that integrate server, storage and networking functions for better performance, modularity and ease-of-deployment.

The cloud casts its most visible spell in hybrid cloud computing: While the past couple of years got CIOs as well as decision makers excited about what cloud computing can do (reduce capex and help with faster go-to-market, for instance), 2015 will most likely see the emergence of the biggest flavour of cloud: hybrid. Combining the best of both worlds, public and private clouds, the hybrid cloud environment will see growing traction from companies. A hybrid cloud will allow them to switch cost-effectively between public and private clouds in addition to providing better security, more control, higher performance and greater flexibility (and hence agility). All buying decisions should include a mandatory check on if the products are cloud / hybrid cloud ready.

Flash will be the most disruptive technology: Flash is rapidly and violently disrupting the disk status quo. IDC estimates the all-flash array market will grow to $1.2 billion in revenue by 2015 and is being embraced by Indian companies across sectors. As flash becomes more pervasive, optimized, and affordable, new applications and new storage software stacks are also emerging that are built “ground-up” for solid-state. Thus today, flash storage has value in a number of implementations within and across the storage infrastructure—be that in storage systems themselves, in servers, or in the network. Even the small percentage of flash in almost any location in the storage hierarchy, and using it in combination with some intelligent management software to yield both performance and financial improvements will be a definite trend in 2015.
Data lake takes the centre stage: Companies increasingly rely on data for intelligence-based decisions, This, combined with the fact that data is growing exponentially, makes storage the most critical part of their IT infrastructure. Such a high level of data growth and its growing importance as a business asset is making organisations look at the aggregate cost and complexity of storage while ensuring there is no compromise on scaling of capacity or the performance demanded by applications that call on that storage.

In 2015 and beyond, this will lead to a transition from traditional, silo-based storage to consolidated “data lakes”—storage that is managed using intelligent software and that can scale to meet massive data growth and performance demands. With the support of open-source technology platform Hadoop, data lakes will enable enterprises to obtain value from the vast volumes of data stored across their organisations.

IoT adoption picks up speed: In 2014, the Internet of Things generated much interest in the industry and companies across sectors began looking forward to the multiple ways IoT can impact their business. This year will take IoT to the next level. Gartner estimates there will be 4.9 billion connected “things” in use in 2015—which is forecast to reach 25 billion by 2020. The biggest growth driver is, of course, connected mobile devices, but a host of applications are emerging in segments such as automobiles, healthcare, telecom, utilities, and many others. Government efforts such as smart cities and Digital India are expected to give IoT a major impetus in India.

Business intelligence gets more predictive: Among the new technologies that have captured the imagination of the C-suite is the emergence of big data analytics. The ability to derive insights from humongous amounts and variety of structured as well as unstructured data in an increasingly mobile, socially active world will get further refined this year. With advanced tools and solution capabilities, enterprises will get further nudged towards predictive analytics—pre-empting what customers may want, addressing failures before they cause much damage, and doing sundry other things that contribute to their success and the delight of their customers.

Security approach becomes more holistic, multi-layered: Developments such as high mobile penetration, growing social and other media usage, and machine-to-machine connections are making the threat landscape ever-more complex and difficult to deal with. Increasingly, in 2015, devising and implementing a multi-layered, holistic security strategy will become critical for organisations in order to mitigate risks and build more trust within the whole IT ecosystem.
As we move further into 2015, the above trends and developments will become more pronounced in experimentation, adoption and business impact. What’s more, companies will increasingly look for integrated or federated solutions rather than acquire IT tools piecemeal. And forward-thinking enterprises will spare no effort to make their organisations more secure, more efficient, more agile.

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