Business leaders are making cloud migration a top priority. They realize there are many benefits to having at least part of the IT infrastructure on the cloud. Those who have already adopted cloud technology are busy working to bring the investments in technology to maturity so they can reap maximum benefits.
As we move into the middle of 2023, the advancements in cloud technology continue to transform the way we live, work, and interact with each other. Companies constantly innovate and improve their offerings with the growing demand for more efficient and secure cloud solutions.
Businesses are rethinking their computing approach and expanding beyond the traditional models of everything from security to how they route and access data. Even during this economic and market uncertainty period, business leaders realize they can’t afford to neglect technology to fortify their positions against disruptions or unforeseen events. They’re under immense pressure to drive business growth while, at the same time, doing more with less. Doing more with less is one of the great promises of digital transformation. Cloud technologies can enable companies to do more with less by providing access to powerful computing resources and services on demand. The excellent news for companies is that they can tap into a growing portfolio of capabilities without investing in and maintaining expensive hardware and infrastructure.
In a recent Gartner presentation [Watch Video], distinguished VP Analyst David Groombridge mentions how Cloud computing is nothing new. Still, increasingly businesses want to move the cloud conversation away from technology and focus more on business value by seeking cloud platforms specific to their industry vertical. An industry cloud platform provides services spanning software, medium, and infrastructure-as-a-service. Industry cloud platforms deliver composable modules of the industry-specific capability to deliver against defined vertical use cases.
Business technologists can rapidly use composable components to create differentiated value offerings in their verticals. These things increase innovation and agility and reduce time to market. Our earlier blog about digital transformation looked at how reconfiguring LEGO components to solve problems is like using digital technologies to build new solutions and systems. The design of LEGOs is modular. The individual pieces can be added, removed, and rearranged to create new structures. Similarly, digital technologies are modular. You integrate or replace various software components and services as needed.
An Industrial Metaverse
The Industrial Metaverse project, a collaboration between Siemens and NVIDIA, is a prime example of using digital tech to create something new. The Industrial Metaverse creates a virtual replica of the physical world, using advanced technologies such as AI, 5G, and high-performance computing. This virtual replica allows manufacturers to simulate and optimize entire factories and supply chains, from product design to production and logistics. Similar to building with LEGOs, the Industrial Metaverse project uses digital building blocks to create a virtual world. Innovators explore and optimize this virtual world to pave the way for more efficient and sustainable manufacturing processes. Clients can collaborate on significant engineering projects involving IoT, Digital Twins, and real-time analytics.
Technology Can’t Do it Alone.
Delivering technology alone will not be enough. We must plan for the impact of that technology on our brand, our customers, and society as a whole. And that requires sustainable technology. Some organizations define sustainability as that which is good for the environment. Others consider sustainability is about taking care of the people inside the organization and outside. Still, others believe safeguarding the core of the business is the critical definition behind sustainability.
The resounding message at the Gartner IT Symposium was that sustainable technology offers a two-for-one win delivering both societal and financial benefits. Sustainable technology is ultimately about reducing material and energy use in IT services. To enable enterprise sustainability outcomes through technology such as emission management software and traceability, delivering digital solutions allowing clients to reach their sustainability objectives.
In a recent article in the Harvard Business Review by Aamer Baig, Jan Shelly Brown, William Forrest, Vinayak HV, Klemens Hjartar, and Lareina Yee, McKinsey’s technology practice leaders have offered some new year’s tech resolutions for executives in 2023. The leaders suggest that combinatorial trends will become essential to consider. Instead of betting on individual trends, they advise thinking about how different technologies can create new possibilities when used together. They call these technologies combinatorial trends. The article gives examples of these trends, such as electric cars and blood type-based treatments powered by applied AI, machine learning, cloud and edge computing, and immersive reality technologies. When used together, the impact of these technologies is not just additive but multiplicative.
The leaders expect some combinatorial approaches to start scaling in 2023, such as applying the process that led to mRNA vaccines to other diseases. The article also suggests that companies must prepare for tipping-point technologies such as 5G, AI, and cloud, which are hitting mass adoption. Boards need to prioritize the budget for upgrading IT foundations that enable speed, security, resiliency, and reusability, which require investments in automation, data foundations, cleaning up tech debt, and continually renewing the IT architecture. The article also highlights that tech leaders must master the art of doing more with less and free up engineers from admin, bureaucratic, and manual work to focus on development.
Older Technologies That Are Still New
Two technologies are trending in 2023 that have been around for a while. They have only recently started to gain traction and become widely adopted due to technological advancements, changing business needs, and the increasing demand for faster, more efficient, and cost-effective computing solutions.
Edge computing dates back to the 1990s when the first content delivery network would make some content, like images and video clips, closer to the end users via geographically closer data collecting nodes. Technological advancements such as 5G networks, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things (IoT) have made edge computing more practical and accessible. Edge computing is gaining momentum in 2023. The technology involves processing data closer to where it is generated instead of transmitting it to a central data center or cloud for processing. By bringing computation and storage closer to the point of data generation, edge computing offers several benefits, including reduced latency, improved data security, and real-time decision-making capabilities.
Businesses can leverage edge computing in a variety of applications. In the manufacturing industry, for example, edge computing can collect data from sensors on the factory floor and analyze it in real-time, optimizing production processes and improving product quality. Similarly, in the retail sector, edge computing can power smart shelves that monitor inventory levels and track customer behavior, providing valuable insights that can help retailers improve sales and customer satisfaction. In the healthcare industry, edge computing can collect and analyze data from medical devices and wearables, allowing healthcare providers to monitor patient health in real time and provide more personalized care. Using edge computing can help organizations become more efficient, reduce costs, and provide better customer service.
The trend toward edge computing will revolutionize how businesses operate in the cloud. By leveraging the power of edge computing, organizations can benefit from improved performance, enhanced security, and real-time decision-making capabilities. As more businesses adopt edge computing in 2023 and beyond, it will become increasingly important for companies to keep up with the latest trends and innovations in cloud technology.
A cloud computing model that allows developers to build and run applications without server management is called a Serverless Architecture. Although this technology has been around for years, this type of architecture is gaining popularity because of its numerous benefits for businesses, including reduced costs, increased scalability, improved agility, and faster time to market. Kubeless and Fission are open-source computer programs allowing you to run small code without worrying about the underlying infrastructure. They work with a tool called Kubernetes which makes it easy to manage large groups of computers.
Google App Engine, introduced in 2008, was the first tool that could let you write code without worrying about the computers it ran on. With App Engine, you could write code that runs when someone visits a website, and you could store data that your code uses. There were limits on how long the code could run and how long it could take to get data from the storage system. One of the key business benefits of serverless architecture is cost reduction. With serverless computing, businesses only pay for the exact amount of computing resources they use instead of maintaining and paying for a fixed server infrastructure, eliminating costly hardware investments, maintenance, and upgrades, resulting in significant cost savings over time.
Serverless architecture also offers increased scalability, as the infrastructure automatically scales up or down based on the workload, ensuring optimal performance at all times. Auto-scaling is significant for businesses that experience fluctuations in traffic and demand, as it eliminates the need to over-provision resources and allows the application to handle sudden spikes in traffic without downtime or performance issues. Another advantage of serverless architecture is improved agility. Developers can quickly deploy and update applications, no longer having to manage the underlying infrastructure. Being freed from existing infrastructure reduces the time and effort required to launch new features or make changes, allowing businesses to respond faster to changing market conditions and customer needs.
Finally, the serverless architecture enables faster time to market. Developers can focus on building and improving the application instead of worrying about the underlying infrastructure. Not having to worry about having the infrastructure to support development reduces the time and resources required to bring a product to market, allowing businesses to innovate and iterate quickly in response to customer feedback.
Companies Should Focus on Building Strong Cloud Foundations
The technology side of digital transformation is fundamentally changing how businesses approach cybersecurity, and moving to the cloud is an essential building block in this process. Companies need to focus on building strong cloud foundations to fully leverage the benefits of the cloud, such as scaling applications and automatically adding capacity to meet surges in demand. This foundation involves developing application patterns suitable for multiple use cases and implementing robust cloud economics capabilities, or FinOps.
FinOps capabilities enable companies to monitor and track cloud spending, determine the unit economics for different cloud usage scenarios, and optimize cloud offerings and pricing arrangements to meet the business’ consumption needs. However, many companies tend not to focus on cloud costs until they reach the $100 million mark (McKinsey Research), which is a waste and a missed opportunity to generate value.
The potential power you’ll gain through moving to the cloud will drive business innovation in the years ahead. By embracing the cloud as an initial core component of their digital transformation strategy, companies can achieve significant cost savings and operational efficiencies while enhancing their cybersecurity posture. But more importantly, having a solid cloud foundation is vital to unlocking access to new and emerging tech.
The technology trends emerging his year are awe-inspiring. The implications of how impactful they’ll be on shaping our work and our life are compelling. The biggest challenge to business leaders is what to make of these technological advancements and how they will create new possibilities when combined with the right strategy.
Every business is different. There are different needs and different goals. Maybe your main objective is to save costs. Perhaps it is to widen the profit margin or be ready to pivot the business model immediately. Insofar as technology priorities go, the usual suspects for IT leaders are optimization, increased scalability, and support for any pioneering efforts. And it all has to be achieved through responsible investments in technology. Be ready to invest in technology with an eye toward the company’s future development, not just addressing immediate challenges.
The Cloud, AI, and 5G are major C-change technological shifts because they are becoming prevalent. A McKinsey study shows that companies will have 60 percent of their environment in the cloud by 2025. Another survey reports that half the companies have adopted AI in at least one business area. CIOs and CTOs must prioritize spending to upgrade IT foundations for speed, security, and resiliency. Budgets may become tighter over the last few years. Organizations can no longer afford to have IT priorities shaped by individual business units. Tech spending will benefit from a more holistic approach involving top leadership.