Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) firms are in a unique position in the world of business. They merge artistic creativity with technical proficiency, and their projects touch millions of lives. As such, the IT needs for these firms are unlike any other. Enter IronOrbit GPU-accelerated INFINITY Workspaces – a platform that directly addresses and resolves these specialized requirements.
1. What are IronOrbit INFINITY Workspaces?
IronOrbit INFINITY Workspaces, for those unfamiliar, is a turn-key Managed Desktop as a service (DaaS) solution designed to facilitate seamless collaboration, ensure data security, and enable scalable IT infrastructure. At its core, it offers a platform that centralizes the myriad of software applications, data sources, and collaboration tools that AEC professionals rely on.
2. Scalable Infrastructure
AEC projects can range from small home renovations to grand-scale infrastructures like airports. Accordingly, IT demand can surge or decline rapidly. IronOrbit offers scalability that ensures firms only pay for the resources they use, allowing them to expand or contract based on project needs. This flexibility is essential to keep costs in check while ensuring that the IT infrastructure can handle the demands of large-scale projects.
3. Seamless Collaboration
Collaboration is a cornerstone for AEC projects. Various professionals – architects, civil engineers, structural engineers, and more – need to share their insights and expertise. With INFINITY Workspaces, real-time collaboration is facilitated, whether team members are in the same office or spread across the globe. The shared workspace offers a cohesive environment where 3D models, blueprints, and documents can be viewed and edited collectively, ensuring everyone is on the same page.
4. Data Security and Compliance
Protecting sensitive data is of paramount importance. INFINITY Workspaces provides state-of-the-art encryption and security protocols, ensuring that project data, client information, and proprietary designs remain confidential. Furthermore, for AEC firms that operate internationally, the platform assures compliance with various regional data protection regulations, alleviating potential legal concerns.
5. Streamlined Software Integration
AEC professionals use various graphic-intensive applications, from Revit and AutoCAD software to project management applications. INFINITY Workspaces enable integration of these tools, ensuring that users don’t have to hop between different platforms to get their work done. This integration increases efficiency, reduces the potential for errors, and ensures a more cohesive workflow.
6. Remote Accessibility
Modern AEC firms often operate in a decentralized manner. Whether it’s architects who need to visit sites, engineers who are on the move, or consultants from different regions, remote access to the workspace is crucial. IronOrbit ensures that the digital environment is centralized and accessible from any device, anywhere, at any time. This ensures continuity of work, regardless of physical location.
7. IT Maintenance and Support
One of the most significant challenges faced by AEC firms, especially smaller ones, is the need for regular IT maintenance and support. IronOrbit provides 24/7 support, ensuring that any technical issues are swiftly addressed. We partner with your IT teams to manage your infrastructure and day-to-day operations allowing you to focus on the big picture.
8. Environmental Sustainability
In an era where sustainability is more than just a buzzword, AEC firms are often at the forefront of sustainable design and construction. IronOrbit echoes this sentiment by offering a cloud-based solution. This reduces the carbon footprint associated with maintaining in-house servers and hardware. By choosing Infinity Workspaces, AEC firms can further their commitment to environmental responsibility.
The AEC industry is in a constant state of evolution, driven by technology, sustainability, and shifting client needs. To stay competitive and effective, firms must ensure their IT solutions are top-notch. IronOrbit INFINITY Workspaces address the unique challenges faced by the AEC sector, offering a solution that is flexible, secure, collaborative, and sustainable. In an industry that builds the future, it’s only fitting that their digital tools are equally futuristic.
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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 Reviewby 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.
Uses digital technology to fundamentally change how a business operates and delivers new value propositions to its customers. Digital transformation involves the integration of digital technologies into all areas of a business. The changes can be so significant that they are no less than a revolutionary to the business model.
A recent Gartner study indicates 89% of Board Directors say digital is part of all business growth strategies. 35% of them have already achieved, or are on track to achieve, digital transformation goals.
The long journey to becoming a digital company is a tricky business. Success depends on many factors, including reasonable objectives that are clear and measurable. There needs to be organization-wide involvement. Sufficient investment in building capabilities needs to be allocated to sustain the change and use the right technology. That technology fits where the company is now and aligns with intermediate and long-term goals.
What to Look for in the “Right” Technologies
One of the critical factors in successful digital transformation is the use of the right technology. Your team has to use the new technology; therefore, it must be easy to use so employees can start using it quickly and see the benefits. Choosing the right technology to support a digital transformation strategy can make all the difference between your workforce adopting it or not.
Organization-wide engagement and discussion are vital in understanding the business’s specific needs and what challenges will be solved by the new technology. Ask yourself, what are the specific goals that need to be achieved? Once these questions have been answered, only then will it be possible to start looking at the available technologies and identify the best fit to meet the specific needs of your operation. Therefore, it’s essential to involve everyone in the discussion. C-level executives must talk with the IT department, and IT should be familiar with the challenges and goals of other aspects of the business.
Scalability is another essential quality to consider. As your business grows and evolves, your technology must grow and evolve with it. Choose technologies that are easily scalable and adaptable to the changing needs of your business. Finally, when choosing the “right” technology, be sure it’s secure and reliable. Businesses rely on its technology to operate. Security and reliability must be part of the design.
The Cloud as a Building Block to Transformation
As businesses evolve in the digital age, many realize the importance of moving to the cloud as a foundational building block to digital transformation. Cloud technology is becoming increasingly essential for companies that want to stay competitive and adapt to the changing business landscape.
One of the key benefits of moving to the cloud is its flexibility. By utilizing cloud-based solutions, companies can quickly and easily scale their operations to meet changing business needs. Scalability is particularly valuable in today’s fast-paced business environment, where companies must respond to unexpected changes and opportunities.
Another significant benefit of cloud technology is the ability to access data anywhere on demand. Remote access allows for more efficient collaboration and decision-making, which is crucial for any business looking to stay ahead in the digital age. With cloud-based solutions, companies can share information with stakeholders without worrying about information infiltration.
As data breaches continue to be a significant concern, companies must ensure that they have the proper security measures to protect sensitive information. By moving to the cloud, companies can take advantage of the latest security technologies and best practices to keep their data safe and secure. In addition, the cloud enables companies to implement advanced and secure system infrastructures.
Cloud Computing is Foundational
Moving to the cloud is a foundational transition for businesses to undertake. 2023 marks a time when companies have already migrated to some type of cloud (public, private, or hybrid) or are about to start the process.
Cloud computing forms two core components of a company’s transformational journey.
The Operational Backbone
First, cloud computing configures processes to support stable operations and helps prepare the infrastructure for further digitalization. Doing what you’ve always done, only better.
The Digital Platform
Second, cloud computing configures processes and enables additional technologies to configure new digital value propositions. Doing things you’ve never been able to do before.
Cloud implementation is the enabler we need to reach digital goals and facilitate digital transformation. And it is easy to see why. Moving to the cloud creates the flexibility company needs to respond to the unexpected. Moving to the cloud is the first step. Businesses with a strategy will ultimately reach digital maturity and be able to reap the rewards that the digital transformation journey promises. Building a plan will help you navigate from where you start today to where you want the business to be at various points in the future.
2023: The Year of Cloud-Driven Technology
As we move deeper into 2023, it’s clear that moving to the cloud is a crucial transition for businesses. Cloud implementation is vital for reaching digital goals and facilitating digital transformation. It creates the flexibility needed to respond to unexpected changes and is the first step toward digital maturity.
Companies are increasing their competitiveness by embracing digital technologies such as cloud computing, AI, IoT, virtual and augmented reality, blockchain, and 5G. The Fourth Industrial Revolution, or Industry 4.0, has disrupted nearly every sector and aspect of our lives, forcing industries to change how they do business.
Physical stores are shifting towards online shopping carts.
Telehealth offers more efficient access to the best medical care available.
Industry 4.0 promises a smart warehouse where connected equipment tracks inventory and sends alerts when it’s time for maintenance.
Digital editions are increasingly the preference over more traditional forms of publishing, such as books, magazines, and newspapers.
Connectivity and being constantly on and available are essential for industries to stay relevant.
An important thing to remember about digital technologies is that they are interconnected. More and more, the boundaries between them are blurring. Cloud-based solutions for hybrid and remote working and automation combine in ways that enable them to enhance each other.
Digital transformation is no longer an option for businesses that want to remain relevant. Thanks to the pandemic, the world is digital, and there is no going back.
Many project investments in digital transformation to reach $2.3 trillion by 2023, and industries as diverse as manufacturing, agriculture, health, energy, and mobility will be a part of this transformation.
Even the best in-house IT departments are too busy to stay on top of the new ways technologies can help businesses grow and work more efficiently. But there are fundamental steps every company must take to be on a level playing field with their competitors. One is having at least part of their environment on the cloud. Another is identifying essential business objectives that could only be achieved through leveraging digital technology. There is a crucial difference between those companies that follow trends to jump on the bandwagon and those that envision how technology can help them achieve far-reaching business objectives.
Have a Vision
Sometimes creativity and innovation kick in when our backs are against the wall. Best Buy is an excellent example of using technology to turn a crisis into an opportunity. For years, Best Buy has been confronted with visitors checking out products in their physical store and ordering them at a discount through Amazon. It’s a practice called “showrooming,” It has been a thorn in the side of many retail companies, not just Best Buy. Target, Walmart, and Macy’s have all been struggling with “showrooming” to one degree or another.
By reconfiguring its supply chain and leveraging its retail footprint, Best Buy began offering order online and curbside pickup options to its customers. Best Buy started doing that over 12 years ago. When the pandemic hit, they quickly transformed each physical store into a hub for customer pickup.
Halfway through 2020, Best Buy made the most of the situation to experiment with different value propositions, including opening new stores for one-on-one in-store consultation. The company knows that its customers still crave a shopping experience. They like the convenience of going into a store, looking around, checking out products, and being able to ask questions about it. They’re trying different things based on this assumption, which seems to be working for them.
Best Buy just opened a couple of experimental concept stores. One is a small foot boutique in North Carolina. The store is a showroom where customers use their phones to scan what they want, and an employee brings the item out for purchase. The other “experiment” is a larger “virtual store” inside an existing warehouse. Customers get the same excellent Best Buy service through live video product demonstrations.
The aim of digital business design is to make companies agile enough to create a steady stream of innovative and evolving portfolios of digitally born offerings. One benefit of becoming a digital company is the ability to experiment with different value propositions. Leadership can respond rapidly to changing technologies and consumer behavior.
The digitization of nearly every sector is leading us into uncharted territory. With new technologies come new opportunities and challenges for businesses across all industries. To stay competitive in this rapidly changing landscape, companies must embrace digital transformation or risk being left behind.
Undergoing digital transformation is not easy; it requires a fundamental change to the way businesses operate on every level. But for companies that can successfully make the transition, the rewards are numerous and significant. From improving customer experiences to generating new revenue streams, there are many reasons why businesses should embark on the journey toward digital transformation.
When done correctly, digital transformation can majorly impact businesses by driving growth, improving efficiency, and creating competitive advantages. However, it’s important to remember that successful digital transformation requires careful planning and execution. There is no one-size-fits-all solution.
Digital business design aims to make companies agile enough to create a steady stream of innovative and evolving portfolios of digitally born offerings. Embracing digital technologies and aligning them with business goals will be crucial for companies to stay competitive in the 21st century.
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” -Evolutionary Theory, Charles Darwin
When Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella took the stage in Seattle at the last Ignite Conference, the theme was “Do More with Less.” He talked about the importance of companies remaining agile and resilient. These skills are essential for success moving forward.
There are five challenges that will follow us into 2023. They are the following:
1. Staff Shortages
2. Supply Chain Issues
3. Economic Downturns
4. Energy Crisis
5. Cyber Attacks
1. Staff Shortages
About seven months ago, Microsoft published a study showing that43% of the workforce is contemplating leaving their jobs in 2023 because they’re simply burned out. The following statistics represent 31,000 people across 31 different countries over two years between February 2020 to February 2022.
Increase of Weekly Teams Meetings by 252%
6 Billion more Emails Sent
32% Increase in online Chatting
Increase in After-Hours Work by 28%
The pandemic lockdown took its toll on all of us in one way or another. Half of every adult reported symptoms of anxiety or depression. For many, the days were full of staying alive and healthy and keeping our family safe. A study by Ernst & Young showed that 54% of workers left previous employment because their supervisors weren’t empathetic to their struggles. These same managers didn’t care about anything that happened in their personal lives. Experts are now attributing much of the Great Resignation as a by-product of this “business-as-usual” mentality.
The question of hybrid work has yet to be decided, far from it. As companies determine how they can be most attractive to the best candidates, many are flexible with their work environments. The most popular long-term strategy seems to be a compromise, a variation of the hybrid work model. Either two days at home, three days in the office, or three days at home and two days in the office.
Hewlett-Packard is a good indicator of what the future enterprise office might be. HP is a huge multinational enterprise company with approximately 60,400 employees. The company wants to hire the best candidates and keep them as long as possible. HP did an internal investigation and found that almost two-thirds of all the employees wanted to spend only 20% or less working at the office. Alan May, HP’s Chief People Officer, said, “We know that when team members feel they have a balance, they are more productive and more likely to build a career at HPE.”
People who work at HPE choose when and if they want to come into the office. The setting at the office now reflects smaller spaces designed for close collaboration and socializing. Gone are the large conference-style rooms. People in the office will still sit on a Zoom call or a Microsoft Teams meeting.
The article points out how major climate threats confront supply chains everywhere. Companies must take a proactive stance on anticipating weather-related problems and how to respond to them. The article also pointed out that most companies are not prepared to handle the crisis if it should occur. There are no business continuity plans and no alternative sites identified as replacements. Becoming more resilient goes beyond ensuring short-term operational continuity during crises. Supply chain resilience comes down to your ability to work around supply chain disruptions with whatever existing capabilities you have in-house. Work to build protective measures into existing supply chains to better deal with shortages and rising logistical costs. You can also improve your company’s resilience by not counting on commodities with wildly escalating market prices.
Leverage digital technology to solve issues and problems before they happen. You already know supply chain problems will continue into 2023. Machine learning and big data tools can help identify the main problem areas and help source alternatives. Custom cloud services and solutions can accelerate innovation and value across supply chain networks.
Our blog from earlier this year explored how digital manufacturing can be a game changer. Digital manufacturing is the application of cloud computing systems to manufacture services, supply chains, data collection, warehousing, and processes. Digital manufacturing technologies link systems and processes across the production environment to create an integrated approach to manufacturing. This strategy encompasses everything from design and development to producing and servicing the final products. Traditional factories were analog environments where everything was built by hand and have become Smart Factories.
The window of opportunity is open but will only remain for a while. Remember, things move fast, and the stakes couldn’t be higher for manufacturing to get innovation right. Writing about transforming businesses through technology and innovation, Ethan Karp is the President and CEO of a non-profit manufacturing consulting group called Magnet.In his Forbes article, 4 Reasons 2022 Can Be A Game Changer for American Manufacturing, Karp recognizes the opportunity for American manufacturing.
Supply chain disruptions, like a cancerous cell, have significantly contributed to the following two challenges, the economic downturn and the energy crisis
3. Economic Downturns
Supply chain constraints have done their share of stunting economic growth. Supply chain disruptions lead to things that weaken a country’s economy. Things like shortages of critical goods, price inflation, factory closures, and unloaded shipping containers. Economic experts cast gloomy predictions for 2023. The forecast calls for ongoing inflation, higher interest rates, and depressed economic growth. As counterintuitive as it might sound to invest money while the global economy becomes increasingly unpredictable, companies should bolster their position by adopting digital technologies. Embracing digital technology to optimize processes and improve efficiencies on multiple levels enables organizations to be lean, more resilient, and adaptable.
Digital technology solutions can optimize your workflow by significantly improving productivity, streamlining, and advancing processes to benefit your entire team and your customers. Relevant data can be accessed in real-time by those who need it when they need it. The boost in efficiency will save precious while creating a more fluid workflow between departments. Employees perform better and accomplish more in less time.
Take a Clue from Recent History
During the Recession of 2007-2009, the companies that prioritized early cost restrictions, starting with implementing emerging digital technologies, were able to increase profitability and, in some cases, continue growing. Having business-critical data in a cloud computing environment provides a reliable and secure infrastructure. Cloud applications ensure business continuity and increase the ability to pivot.
4. Energy Crisis
Cyclic demands for energy combined with slow supply recovery after the pandemic contributes to an unpredictable global energy situation. As uncertainty and volatility in the energy market continue to mount, Europe faces complete depletion of natural gases by the Spring of 2023. The European energy crisis will restrain industrial production and push Germany deeper into a recession as we move into 2023. Using digital technologies, utility companies can use the enormous amount of data from distributed energy resources in situational intelligence.
Doing More with Less
Digital twins are available to allow utilities to detect current problems and wasteful energy drains, prevent escalations, predict future situations and optimize the flow of electricity. Digital twin models can be used to solve the demand for more electricity with less carbon output and a more affordable cost. Leveraging data, analytics, and software solutions, digital technology can help global energy companies meet the challenge of providing reliable power and strengthening the future of energy.
5. Cyber Attacks
If you travel to Northern California, there’s a roadhouse biker bar called the Alpine Inn, a few miles from Stanford University. Just inside, there is a plaque that reads:
BEGINNING OF THE INTERNET AGE
On August 27, 1976, scientists from SRI International celebrated the successful completion of tests by sending an electronic message from a computer set up at a picnic table behind the Alpine Inn. The message was sent via a radio network to SRI and through a second network, the ARPANET, to Boston. This event marked the beginning of the Internet Age.
None of the scientist present that day had any security concerns about what they were building. They were trying to get the thing to work. What they made would soon become the digital backbone for our modern banking, commerce, infrastructure, health care, energy, and weapons systems. There was no consideration given to the idea that this would become an interconnected system one day.
In her foreboding book,THIS IS HOW THEY TELL ME THE WORLD ENDS, Nicole Perlroth tracked down one of the men at the picnic table on August 27, 1976. His name is Dave Retz, and he shares an ominous foreshadowing of things to come.
Two years before they pulled up to Zott’s (now the Alpine Inn), air-traffic controllers at San Francisco airport started complaining that beams of “unknown origin” were interfering with their radars. As it turned out, SRI’s radio frequencies had infiltrated the airport’s traffic control. But even then, the idea this invention might one day threaten to bring down airplanes, disrupt water supplies, or rig an election hardly fazed the men and women building its basic blocks. Some four decades later, in 2020, San Francisco International Airport officials had just discovered that the same stealth Russian hackers probing our nuclear plants, grid, and states had hijacked an internet portal used by airport travelers and employees.
I asked Retz what, if anything, he would take back. His reply was immediate and unequivocal. “Everything can be intercepted,” he told me. “Everything can be captured. People have no way of verifying the integrity of these systems. We weren’t thinking about this back then. But the fact is,” he added ruefully, “everything is vulnerable.”
Cyber-attacks threaten more than business-critical data. When you consider Frost & Sullivan’s reporting on accelerated growth over the next eight years, you realize the enormity of the challenges ahead. The research firm projects that the earth will have a complex network of 200 billion devices, averaging 20 connected devices for every human being on the planet. As IoT-connected devices become more sophisticated in their capabilities, vulnerabilities to attack will rise too.
Cybercriminals continually poke and prod for vulnerabilities and broader attack surfaces.
In an article for CSO Online, Apurva Venkat writes, “There is a significant shift underway from on-premises to cloud-based services. Crucial elements of many business processes are on the cloud now, easing file sharing and workforce collaboration. We continue to see increasing efforts by adversaries to target cloud-based assets.”
She quotes Nick Lowe, director for Falcon OverWatch [CrowdStrike’s managed threat hunting service that provides deep and continuous human analysis, 24/7, to identify novel attacker tradecraft designed to evade standard security technologies] at CrowdStrike,“So now, more than ever, it’s critical for organizations to deploy that mix of technology-based controls and human-led hunting to be best positioned to combat these evolving cloud threats.”
By next year, Gartner predicts, 60% of enterprises will phase out most of their VPNs for Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) which provides secure remote access to business-critical data based on clearly defined access control policies. As we pointed out in an earlier blog, robust and holistic cybersecurity protocols must be considered a cost of doing business. Security is vital at all times, particularly during the economic upheaval.
Just as the critical challenges are interconnected with each other, so are the tools we’ll use to ease some of these challenges. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and other digital technologies continue to impact our business and personal lives, and they will continue to do so. In many cases, we need to be fully aware of how much AI influences what we do at work or what we purchase online. We’ve grown accustomed to having things suggested to us. Ready-to-use technologies are increasingly becoming available to us via the cloud.
Boundaries separating transformational digital technology tools are blurring together. As we move into 2023, AI, the Internet of Things, virtual and augmented reality, and cloud computing will move in tangent. The availability of one will mean the availability of another. All forms of hybrid working environments, business decisions, and automation of routine tasks will continue to converge in ways that will enhance each other. Consider how modern smartphones make many applications available to us from one device.
Investment in technology will position your company for stronger resilience and out-term growth, especially during periods of volatility and uncertainty.
Modernizing your company’s IT environment has never been more critical for future survival. No industry is off the hook regarding the need to transform digitally. Modernization is necessary to keep pace with your competitors. Legacy systems could suddenly break down or no longer be serviceable. There are several urgent reasons for you to modernize your IT infrastructure.
Modernization delivers fantastic benefits to a company, including:
· Better User Experience
· Improved Efficiencies
· Enhanced Operational Visibility
· Great Accountability
Modernizing your IT infrastructure also increases your company’s resiliency and scalability and provides a solid foundation for digital transformation.
Customers today expect a fast, seamless digital experience from banking to retail, transportation to hospitality. A seamless cross-channel experience is expected by today’s customers, regardless of their demographic. One example: Over 50% of U.S. Adults, 18+ now do banking on their mobile devices, according to a recent Prosper Insights & Analytics survey. That includes a surprisingly high 42% of the Boomer segment.
For financial institutions, it’s become table stakes. But other industries have some catching up to do. Finding the sweet spot for integrating new technology can be a challenge. Implementing new technology can be an adjustment for employees to learn and use productively. IronOrbit has the tools and strategy to help get your company on the golden path to modernization.
IT is no longer a Back-End Role.
Modernization is about technology, and it’s also about cultivating a new mindset regarding how the business operates and how it can deliver unique value propositions to its customers. An example of an outdated attitude is to think of the CIO as being restricted to all things IT. A modern approach would include the CIO to drive recovery and future growth.
Most business leaders believe IT plays a significant role in supporting business outcomes. Seventy percent of C-level executives still view IT as confined to saving money, keeping the lights on, and ensuring an internet connection.
Modernizing means unifying business and technology to future-proof organizations, including scalability and agility, and developing growth strategies.
A recent IDG survey of 200 IT leaders revealed positive modernization results, even before the completion of the process. The report found that although one in four organizations completed less than one-quarter of their initial IT modernization goals, all achieved improved quality of service, better customer satisfaction, cost savings, increases in uptime, and the creation of new streams of revenue.
The Digital Mindset
A mindset is a way of thinking and orienting to the world that shapes how we perceive, feel, and act. Having a digital mindset means conditioning ourselves to see how connectivity, data, algorithms, and AI create new possibilities for delivering value. Business leaders who cultivate a digital attitude can position their organization for optimal success and resiliency.
Finding the Sweet Spot
Developing new ways of thinking and new ways of working takes time.
Here are three good places to start:
1. Assess the readiness of your IT for future business and growth priorities. 2. Review the business strategy based on tech-driven outcomes. 3. Align a technology strategy to achieve business impact and enablement.
The last thing you want to do is skip steps. Take the time needed to assess where your IT infrastructure is now and how it impacts your business to where you want it to be a few years from now.
IronOrbit can help you decide which workloads should migrate to a cloud environment. Additionally, we offer
· Minimize disruption as your organization transitions to new technology
· Availability 24/7 365 Days a Year
· Automated Operations and Self-Service options
· Full Back up and Disaster Recovery Availability
· Over 30 years of Business Technology Experience
IT modernization is challenging because it involves change management. Modernizing is also an ongoing process because technology constantly evolves at an ever-accelerating rate. The engineers and IT innovators at IronOrbit pride themselves on staying ahead of the curve and continuously developing improvements and better ways to contribute to the success of our clients.
Reasons Why Remote Work Benefits Employees & Companies
Remote work benefits employees and companies is the resiliency of having the technology in place to mobilize workforces overnight. The remote work environment is here to stay. It is true; we were all sent home to work remotely under duress. Employees and companies discovered unexpected benefits from a work-from-home (WFH) environment. Remote work has its pros and cons, but mostly, people like being able to work remotely.
16% of Companies Worldwide are 100% Remote in 2022
41% of US Workers are Fully Remote.
2022 is almost over, and companies are still trying to decide whether to continue having a remote workforce, head back to the office, or devise a solution combining the two. Employees and many job seekers want the flexibility to work from home.
85% of IT Leaders Who Have Deployed Remote Desktops in Their Firms Would Recommend It
(Source: The State of Remote Work in 2021)
80% of US Workers Would Reject a Job Offer That Didn’t Include a Flexible Work Environment
(PR Newswire Study 2021)
As the CEO of the research firm Ladders says,
“This change in a working arrangement is impossible to overhype. As big as it is, it’s even bigger than people think.”
Gartner reports that remote work is a cornerstone of the post-pandemic future of work. A Gallup poll from the beginning of the year showed that half of the remote-capable employees prefer a hybrid work environment. The popularity of the flexible work phenomenon is as beneficial for the company as it is for employees. There’s a more extensive selection of qualified candidates for the growing digital economy opportunities. Having the technological capacity for a productive virtual environment could help define who gets to work in a digital economy and which companies will thrive.
Benefits to Companies Offering Flexible Work Environments
Employee mobility is part of the digital economy. In the digital era, a modern IT infrastructure means having to untether workforces from having to work in a specific location. Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) is a cloud-based technology that enables work to happen from anywhere on any device. Working from anywhere on any device eliminates the costs of leasing office space, buying furniture, paying for utilities, and other overhead expenses. The elimination of overhead costs is significant. By allowing remote work, IBM eliminated 58 million square feet of office space and saved $50 million in real estate expenses. The cost savings are significant for small businesses as well. The JCA insurance agency no longer pays for a 4,000-square-foot office and the overhead that goes with that. Watch Video. Being a remote employer helps JCA’s bottom line.
Increases in Focus and Engagement Produces Higher Productivity
The experiment on mass WFH orders showed that people got more work done. They no longer had to commute and didn’t have the distractions of working in an office environment. Many studies show that remote work leads to increased productivity and better performance. Hiring new employees is an expensive process for companies. The average expense is around $4,000 and usually takes weeks, sometimes months, to fill. A recent Stanford University study showed a 13% increase in productivity; workers took fewer breaks, were more satisfied with their jobs, and reduced attrition rates by half.
The disadvantages of not setting up the capabilities to work remotely cut deeper than being less attractive to job seekers or losing existing employees who want more flexibility. Establishing a remote-ready IT infrastructure means leadership is being proactive; they’re at once forward-leaning and remembering the lessons of the pandemic.
The Virtual Workspace
A recent Gartner study predicts that 70% of Infrastructure and Operations (I&O) leaders deploying DaaS will exceed their budgets due to a lack of proactive cost management. The configuration of each virtual machine impacts the amount of money spent on DaaS. IronOrbit prevents clients from spending on services they don’t need by having multiple options for its INFINITY Workspaces. There is an INFINITY Workspaces solution to fit each use case. For example, power workers need more run more GPU-enabled applications like Autodesk’s Revit. Process workers need basic applications such as Microsoft Office.
Aside from the obvious benefits to an organization workforce mobility can bring, having the IT infrastructure to shift from office to home at a moment’s notice fortifies a company from future volatility and unexpected disruptions. Having a cloud-based IT environment makes a company more resilient. Cloud computing has become a proactive measure that safeguards business continuity. Companies can scale up or down quickly, and the process is effortless. Sharing information becomes more efficient when you combine cloud technology and managed services. Things like product development and decision-making happen faster. Connectivity boost productivity because your workforce, including your IT department, can focus on more value-to-the-customer tasks.
Technology There When You Need It
When the pandemic lockdown occurred, businesses on the cloud could adapt to the new remote working norms quicker and more efficiently than those that weren’t.
Be Prepared for the Unexpected
Leveraging IronOrbit’s technology allows companies to provision desktops quickly. A workspace can become accessible to users from anywhere while maintaining the required security protections to meet the highest compliance standards.
It was the day the lockdown began in Washington.
One of our clients, Mark Gallant of the Truss Company View Case Study, sat in an emergency meeting. Everybody was under a great deal of stress, except for him. Company leaders asked, “How are our employees going to work? How can we continue to serve our customers?” Mark smiled because he knew they already had a ready-made solution to the problem. Months prior, they had moved to IronOrbit’s cloud environment. Now, they had to have everyone grab their computers, go home, and log on.
Your company might be one of those organizations still making decisions on the question of your work environment. Whether it’s back to the office, completely remote, or a combination of the two, one thing is clear. Business continuity in the digital economy demands a flexible and elastic IT environment. One that moves when you move. The longer you wait to migrate to the cloud, the more you risk losing your competitive advantage.
IronOrbit can ensure your company has the resiliency it needs to future-proof against almost any scenario.
The terms digitization and digitalization are often mistaken for one another. They mean different things, and it’s important not to confuse them.
Digitization is not digital transformation.
Why is it Important to Know the Difference?
Understanding what the two words mean is not just about semantics. To confuse the two sets up unreasonable expectations and shortchanges the importance of digital transformation. Bewilderment could put your company in jeopardy. You think you’re accomplishing one thing when you’re doing something else. These two things have to go in sequence. To skip steps or jump ahead for expediency creates problems down the road.
Digital Technologies Are Raising the Bar Every Day
Let’s begin with the fundamental building block known as digitization. Digitizing is a primary building block. You must digitize operations if you’re going to remain competitive. But keep in mind that digitizing is only half the story.
What is Digitization?
Digitization, or digitizing, is the conversion of analog to digital technology. Digitization improves what we’ve always done in companies. Digitization minimizes using paper because you’re no longer using paper and pen. You’re inputting data into a desktop or mobile device using keyboard strokes. Sometimes, you’re simply scanning a bar code or QR Code (QR codes store far more information and responsiveness is ten times faster than bar codes).
Digitizing existing processes has the following benefits:
Better Customer Experience
Lower Operational Costs
Improved Decision Making
Secure & Accessible-Anywhere Information
Once you replace analog with digital processes, you’ll notice significant reductions in print volume and costs. Digital files transfer quickly, update instantly, and are much easier to track. A standard KPI of digitizing would be a cost-cutting metric. Using digital technologies and digitizing data improves productivity and can create new revenue streams.
Enhanced Productivity & Outcomes
A digitized company has the distinct advantage of having faster, more agile, and more scalable workflows. Adopting new tools happens more quickly and efficiently than with legacy systems. The entire information infrastructure becomes connected to quarterly goals and business outcome targets. Digitizing offers significant operational improvements such as boosting efficiencies and enhancements with customer experience. Plus, digitizing opens the door to innovations impossible in an analog environment.
What is Digitalization?
Digitalization indicates a company is in the process of moving to the second half of the story. You know you’re a digital company when you begin delivering new customer value propositions that are digitally delivered. That is becoming digital.
Gartner defines digitalization as going beyond digitization. Its use of digital tech changes a business model and provides new revenue and other value-producing opportunities.
Brand New Value Propositions
What problem can you solve for your customers that you never considered part of your mandate? Move beyond traditional products and services to solve your customer’s problems.
Digitalization involves a paradigm shift in the culture and changes the business model. That is why digitalization could lead to a complete digital transformation of your business. The journey involves creating strategies that leverage digital capabilities to innovate new value propositions.
Digitization vs. Digitalization
Digitization involves a one-time implementation. On the other hand, digitalization demands developing new processes and strategies over time. The best-case scenarios would be accumulative, with a tiny success building upon another.
Digitization is about operational excellence. As an improvement of existing processes, you do the same things you’ve always done, only better.
Digitalization is about rapid business innovation to deliver new customer value propositions.
The Importance of Using the Right Technology
Because not everyone in your company is tech-friendly, investing in technology that is easy to use and accessible is crucial. Everyone from C-level executives to managers and frontline employees must work together to drive digital innovation and business outcomes. Companies that make digital tools accessible throughout their organization achieve higher proficiency levels. With these gains in place, it’s easier to reimagine every aspect of business operations.
More About People Than About Technology
While digitalization is still mainly about using digital technology, the processes and strategies that arise require new skills and the adoption of new ways of doing business. Realizing the full benefits of digitalization means investing in new skills training and developing process agility. Transformational benefits arise from creating a company culture that inspires widespread frequent experimentation.
Most business leaders still rely on outdated organizational structures to implement strategies. They are unaware of how structure inhibits agility. Business strategy must, at all times, be fluid. People, processes, data, and technology synchronize continuously to identify and deliver innovative customer solutions. Another handicap of traditionally structured corporations is that it is too slow.
The journey requires organizational changes that are customer-centric. The journey leverages technology and needs leadership support. Digitalization empowers and enables employees and customers by leveraging technology and opening all company levels to experimentation and exploration. That’s why the IT Director needs to be a part of the business planning discussions.
Digital Business Design
People refer to the business design as business architecture. Most people think of architecture as the purview of the IT department. If you have a business architecture function, it’s usually part of your IT division. By contrast, digital business design is the responsibility of senior executives and IT leaders.
Ultimately, all businesses must become digital to thrive in a digital economy. The ones that will be most successful at this will be those that design themselves for it. Digital design, not strategy, will separate the winners from the losers.
Just to Recap
Digitization converts information from a physical format to digital. Digitizing is a prerequisite building block of digitalization. Digitalization is the more advanced stage that can lead to digital transformation. Digital transformation is about futureproofing and resiliency.
Modernizing operations means digitizing as a fundamental first step. Digitizing can lead to digitalization. A company can implement a series of digitalization projects like automating processes, developing employee skills, and innovating new ways to leverage digital technology, but digital transformation is more than implementing various projects.
Digital transformation is a long slow journey that requires company-wide involvement and participation. Few companies are designed for digital. Becoming a digital company is a challenge. The path to successful transformation is not straight nor easy to navigate. Much effort goes into deliberately synchronizing people, processes, and technology.
Digitization can lead to digitalization which can lead to digital transformation. Only companies going through the process of digitalization can choose to become digital. While digitizing and digitalization are about leveraging technology, digital transformation is a revolution that changes the design of the business. While none of these are sufficient to guarantee the next level, any step forward is an investment in your company’s future well-being.
The transformational aspect empowers entire organizations and delivers new service levels to your clients.
IronOrbit enables organizations to modernize their information infrastructure, link workflows, and scale productivity. More than a technology service provider, IronOrbit can help you understand where your infrastructure is today and where you want it to be tomorrow.
Focus on targeted objectives and tap into the power of cloud-based transformations.
Wherever you are on your digital transformation journey, IronOrbit can help. The most important thing you can do for your company is to take the initiative to advance the infrastructure of your business. What change could you make today to help streamline operations and become more resilient?
Sometimes it helps to have a knowledgeable sounding board on your side. Whether your business still has an on-premises server or has already moved to the cloud, we can help you identify valuable opportunities for future innovation and growth.
Understand How Technology Can Grow & Protect Your Company Then Take Incremental Steps to Meet Prioritized Objectives.
New technology can benefit companies in all industries. Reading about the possibilities is exciting. Business leaders are eager to get on the bandwagon. Leaders can become impatient when they learn the competition has implemented something like cognitive technologies to solve a problem and gain a significant advantage.
Ultimately, companies recognize that digitizing operations and developing a digital strategy is necessary. The fear is that the longer they wait, the more at risk they put the future of their company. Jumping all in for transformation becomes an irresistible temptation. Too many business leaders want to make fast decisions for fear of missing out. They start the process before they’re ready. Transforming processes before you are ready leads to frustrations and unrealized benefits.
Use Managed Services as an Intermediary Step
Part of the challenge for many companies has legacy systems, and they’re not in a position to retire them overnight. Leaders will realize when the next natural progression is to switch to modern applications. Partnering with a forward-leaning technology company like IronOrbit can enable baby steps towards modernizing your operations. This approach affords the time to determine which tools are critical for sustainable growth and which are not.
You build incremental confidence in the technology, while IronOrbit can make recommendations based on your immediate, mid-range, and long-term strategy. And it’s okay if there is no long-term strategy other than fortifying and growing your business. IronOrbit, as your managed service provider, can help supply the missing pieces of the puzzle. You will begin to approach digital more like the business decision it is. An incremental approach enables digitization and adoption of new technologies when it makes sense. Digital and business strategies must align and integrate throughout the organization.
Corporations have silos of group activity. They’ve been that way for over a century. Anything to do with IT would be the purview of a secluded department or an enclave of tech-focused professionals. When you talk about digital transformation or adopting new technologies, you’re talking about a change of one kind or another. Certain company cultures can adapt more quickly than others. Still, change can be complicated. As your Smart Managed Service Provider, IronOrbit helps to simplify the process and make it substantially more manageable.
Begin with the End in Mind
A digital transformation can mean different things to different people. It might mean software to increase operational efficiencies for one, or develop an omnichannel retail strategy for new product offerings for another. Start by clarifying why undertake the transformation and what business opportunities will arise from the changes. The more you know about what challenges you want technology to solve, the easier it will be to build the proper foundation.
Adopting new technologies should be seen as a marathon and not a sprint. Take the time to understand which technologies perform what kinds of tasks. Identify a prioritized portfolio of projects based on business needs. The close collaboration of in-house technology leaders and C-level executives will become increasingly crucial as acceleration (technology and change) continues. CIOs and CTOs have the expertise to help navigate a straightforward integration of digital and business strategies.
IronOrbit ensures you’ll have a map to successfully evaluate and integrate new technology while balancing the upgrade and management of existing systems.
Learn more about how to adopt new technologies for your company here.
IronOrbit Voted One of Orange County’s Top Work Places 2022!
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IronOrbit Team Members are highly motivated, highly intelligent individuals who are passionate about what they do. It’s only logical to provide the same in benefits.
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Take Their Word for IT
We’ll let the team members speak for themselves.
Joining the IronOrbit Team is a great move both personally & professionally.
IT Support Specialist
“I enjoy the opportunity to help our customers have a pleasant experience with technology and ease their frustration when needed.”
Business Analysis & Planning
“I love working at IronOrbit because each day is unique & challenging. The technology’s fascinating and our team’s fantastic. It’s refreshing to be part of an evolving organization that enables and invests in its clients, employees, products, and services.”
“Working at IronOrbit is like family, working as a team to complete a specific goal.”
We deliver on our promises – and in the occasional times that we fall short, we admit it, take responsibility, make it right, and take all the necessary steps to prevent it from happening again.
Synergetic Greater Than the Sum of Our Parts
Our differences, rather than hold us back, make us stronger and more versatile as a whole. We collaborate effectively across groups and departments, working as one to demolish our goals and deliver consistent and ever-improving value to our clients.
Proactive Seek-And-Act, Not Wait-And-See
We always try to anticipate and resolve potential problems before they can affect our clients. We practice this in every area of our business – from development and operations to support and billing.
Innovative Always Improving & Evolving
We’re always looking for ways to serve our clients better, whether it’s becoming more efficient or developing new products or features altogether.
Reliable Results You Can Depend On
If you’re in need of service, we are never more than a phone call or email away. We’re here to help 24/7/365.
Empowering Helping Others Reach Their Full Potential
We believe in helping others to reach their full potential, whether they’re colleagues or clients. We do this through advice, training, technologies, services, or through delegation of authority – no cookie-cutter solutions here.
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