Wiring Up For Byte-sized Innovation
Innovation rules. Old business models and thinking are being carpet bombed by a growing arsenal of innovative ideas and out-of-the-box thinking. New business models are now entering a market that is challenging old views of how business should be done. Some have missed their targets in spectacular fashions while others have dug new craters of business innovation. Think Amazon and how even an idea like Groupon was conceivable shows how traditional thinking is being dismantled.
This innovation is made possible through four seemingly separate trends. All four have changed the way we people think, work and play. And it will continue to do so for decades later.
Trend 1: IT Consumerization
IT consumerization is actually a quiet employee-led revolution. A blurring of personal and business technology use, it impacts every standardized, built-for-cost enterprise infrastructure. More than ever, increasingly IT-savvy employees are happy to invest in their own devices to use a wide range of popular consumer applications. Best of all, most of them put in effort to keep their devices always updated, eliminating a key concern for the IT department.
Social media, another facet of IT consumerization, is already changing the way we conduct research or gather opinions. They have become important listening channels to look into the thoughts of our customers and employees. Crowdsourcing techniques (what used to be brainstorming sessions) are now used by fast-moving businesses to quickly steer product development.
The future really depends on how well we combine IT consumerization’s promise of intuitive interactiveness with the rigor and service level expected in enterprise environments. Admittedly, it can be a rocky marriage, but it is one that is crucial for acceptance of IT consumerization in the enterprise space. For example, people care more about the accuracy and reliability of your order system than the current status of your Facebook page or Skype profile. New standards and innovations are helping this to be realized.
Trends 2 and 3: Clouds and Mobility
Mobility is the direct result of the global uptake of smartphones. After Apple made it “cool” to carry a larger phone in your pocket, people suddenly had more power to do more. Accelerating this uptake is reduction in number of mobile OS platforms, as the world suddenly seems to care about only two: iOS and Android.
According to IDC Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, May 2013, the two OSes represent 92.3% of Smartphone OS shipments in Q1. For a developer, a polarization of the OS market is good, allowing them to concentrate on developing more feature-rich and powerful apps instead of being bogged down by cross platform compatibility issues. That has driven mobility to new heights.
And enterprises are taking notice. In a June 2013 Enterprise Mobility Study by IDC, where the research firm asked regional organizations what components of a mobile strategy they will have in place over the next 12 to 24 months, 58% stated that they will be re-engineering their internal work flows and business processes. Another 43% stated that they will standardize the list of platforms and devices that will be used internally, while 38% said that they will invest more in application life cycle management.
Meanwhile, Clouds have introduced a new service delivery model. In actual fact, they are not new, and we have had Software as a service (SaaS) and infrastructure as a service (IaaS) for some time. Except now the big push towards Clouds comes at C-levels. Promises of better agility and competitiveness have made Clouds the right buzz word in the boardroom.
Recent IDC cloud research shows that worldwide revenue from public IT cloud services exceeded US$21.5 billion in 2010 and will reach US$72.9 billion in 2015, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 27.6%. This rapid growth rate is especially significant when you consider that it is four times over the projected growth for the worldwide IT market as a whole (6.7%). By 2015, one of every seven dollars spent on packaged software, server, and storage offerings will be through the public cloud model.
Put together, Clouds and mobility are really two sides of the same coin. You need a device to access a Cloud, and increasingly that device is becoming one that is mobile. Those mobiles are also becoming increasingly dependent on Clouds to work, no more storing data in the device itself. It is the old client-server paradigm reinvented. And how a cloud service is able to interact with multiple user interfaces will be vital for its acceptance and usability.
Trend 4: Big Data
Big Data technologies will soon become the only way we can analyze the Zettabytes of information we have created. Adding the fact that most of this information is unstructured and you can understand why traditional analysis tools are not cutting it. And powered by Cloud technologies, they can help your business to understand your customers’ needs and shape your services and products to meet them.
So how big is Big Data? According to IDC's Worldwide Big Data technology and Services 2012-2015 Forecast, the market will grow at a 31.7% compound annual growth rate, about seven times the rate of the overall information and communication technology (ICT) market – with revenues reaching US$23.8 billion in 2016.
Some companies are already using Big Data in big ways. Most visible is Amazon. By analyzing your behavior on their website, they can make suggestions and increase their business and loyalty at the same time. Other sites like iTunes Store are using the same suggestive approach. Enterprises are jumping on the bandwagon as well. Car manufacturers can now predict engine fault, tune up your car or even suggest replacements even before you know it, and medical science is crunching huge numbers and filtering pictures to improve predictive diagnosis.
One network to bind them all
The one common factor that links all these four trends together is connectedness, which means a strong network is needed. Whether it is IT Consumerization, Clouds, mobility or Big Data, a well-laid out networking infrastructure for data to flow through quickly and securely is a must. If the network goes down, none of the four trends will be of any use.
This is a key reason why many CIO and senior IT decision makers have to relook at their networks. Most infrastructures are designed for short bursts of information flow. However, the trends above assume a constant and uninterrupted stream of data.
This brings other aspects of networking to the forefront. Take latency for example. Most network infrastructure are not designed for low latency. However, as can be seen from the above, a single delay in real-time information, can adversely impact decision making or even the ability to sidestep potential problems.
Redundancy is another issue that CIOs need to invest in. Businesses cannot afford to have a network down. However, having a second route will offer the measured assurance that today’s and tomorrow’s connected business world is asking for.
Most importantly, one needs to consider IPv6. The successor of IPv4, it brings a whole lot of benefits that directly caters to the needs of a connected world. For example, it has the ability to offer unique IP addresses for every connected device while removing the delays associated with NATs.
But it is not an IPv6 world yet. And it does require expertise and knowledge. Having a networking partner who has the experience and capabilities for you to do the transformation to IPv6 is vital.
We are living through an exciting new world of innovation. Every day new applications, spurred by the four trends stated above, are shaping our productivity and the way we interact with each other.
Networking remains the glue that keeps this innovation together. And as businesses look ahead to adopt these innovations, they are well-advised to relook at their networking infrastructure and ensure that they can able to. The combination of Cloud, Big Data and mobility, further combined with the IT consumerization trend, fundamentally changes the way we look at information. But your pipelines will always be your Achilles heels.
NTT Com Asia
Mr. Takanobu Maeda
Former President and CEO
We are living in an increasingly connected world through IoT. NTT Communications will help you with delivering your business outcomes.
Ad tech star Criteo’s big data relies on NTT Com infrastructure to provide critical services for businesses in the APAC region