Digital technology has changed the way businesses work. Consumers today are more connected than ever before – in Asia Pacific, GSMA expects smartphone adoption in Asia Pacific to rise 28 percent between 2018 and 2025, with over eight in 10 residents in the region on average possessing a smartphone. Of the predicted 710 million new mobile subscribers by 2025 globally, half are expected to come from Asia Pacific. Even social media itself, which has become deeply embedded in our daily lives, has seen adoption cycles shorten dramatically. Facebook, which launched in 2004, took four years to reach 100 million users, before growing to 500 million users in July 2010. In contrast, TikTok, a much newer entrant to the space, launched in September 2016 and swelled to half a billion by mid-2018, adding 20 million new users per month on average.
With the pace of change continuing to get faster, enterprises can no longer rely heavily on long-term strategic planning and execution. Instead, the key to business growth today lies in an organization’s ability to pivot quickly. In essence, businesses need to be able to configure their businesses for change, without actually knowing what that change will be.
While the accelerating rate of change is caused in part by digital technology, the same technology also offers part of the solution. To succeed in an age where disruption has become the norm, businesses need to ensure that their IT infrastructure is not slowing innovation, but enabling it.
To ensure that they can remain competitive, businesses should adopt IT infrastructures that allow them to develop and deliver an ongoing stream of differentiated services, scale as needed and facilitate business agility, while being inherently secure and capable of maintaining trust in the organization.
Delivering customer satisfaction quicker and better
In today’s markets, speed matters. Across the world, businesses are trying to speed up time-to-market to deliver products and services that are closely aligned to their customers’ current needs. One way they can do so is by running on a hybrid cloud that is able support DevOps.
With DevOps, developers can work closely with IT operations to accelerate software builds, tests, and releases, without sacrificing reliability. Organizations can achieve this by automating routine operational tasks and including containers as part of their hybrid cloud toolkit. Since containers can offer standardized environments across an application’s lifecycle, they allow organizations to build applications independent of where they will live and can easily move across environments as needed, which helps reduce the time-to-market for new services.
One organization that has done this to good effect is ZTE Corporation, which leveraged containers as part of its strategy to ready itself for an industry shift to 5G. By using technology to enhance its DevOps approach, development and operational teams could better collaborate to solve business challenges faster. This in turn allowed it to achieve significant savings by reducing R&D resource investment requirements with shorter cycles.
IT infrastructure that grows as quickly as you need it to
At home, residents are generally able to power any device via any electrical socket. It would be hard to imagine having to differentiate specific power sockets or types for your washing machine or laptop. Today, with cloud becoming a business commodity in a similar way that electricity has for the home, it would be difficult to imagine having to select different cloud providers for each specific need.
To scale as needed, enterprises will need a hybrid cloud powered by an operating system that provides a consistent foundation for innovation. It should offer the latest stable tools for the development, deployment, and maintenance of applications. Organizations that are armed with such a platform will be empowered to design and build applications based on business needs, independent of the underlying hardware or cloud architectures.
This is evident in the case of Cathay United Bank. Facing fierce competition from the growing fintech sector, it leveraged a hybrid cloud platform to ensure it was ready to compete. The digital overhaul saw the bank reduce product development and testing time by 50-60 percent, while it gained a stronger competitive edge with digital, customer-centric services.
Maintaining trust in the digital age starts with security
Many organizations are selecting hybrid cloud models to enable the agility they need. Red Hat’s Global Customer Tech Outlook 2019 found 45 percent of respondents using two or more cloud platforms already, and 65 percent planning to use two or more within the next 12 to 24 months.
As hybrid cloud consists of a mixture of environments, it may add complexity to an organization’s IT environment and widen the attack surface. To overcome those challenges and protect themselves against an ever-changing threat environment, businesses will need to operationalize security throughout their software delivery pipeline, and across their entire IT infrastructure. Organizations can do so by ensuring their hybrid cloud provides them with insights into and control over their IT environments. Their hybrid cloud should enable them to standardize on repeatable, flexible, scalable, and automated images, patch management, and backup processes. It should also help to quickly detect security vulnerabilities and automatically resolve those issues before they affect the business. Having these capabilities will enable organizations to innovate at speed while minimizing potential business risks.
As the business environment continues to evolve rapidly, organizations will need to adapt just as quickly to remain relevant, and even lead the way forward. While technology alone will not be the answer to this challenge, businesses must be able to tap onto digital services effectively to deliver the ingredients they need for success.