Emerging digital technologies such as automation, containerization, artificial intelligence, IoT, edge and ambient computing are the triggers for innovation and new business models. Expect an even more dramatic shift as 5G adoption grows, making networks more reliable and secure.
When deployed in the right combinations, these technologies have the power to enhance capacity and reduce maintenance and operating costs. The underlying implication of this goes beyond enabling people and processes with technology. IT infrastructure has a new role to play in improving user experience, supporting organizational goals, meeting regulatory requirements, and extracting value from investments that can go straight to the bottom line.
Technologies such as hybrid cloud, IoT and edge computing will change IT infrastructure provisioning and management. The collection and analysis of real-time data using IoT, for example, will ensure that just the right maintenance is undertaken at the right time and organizations have constant insight into the remain value of their assets.
Over the next two or three years, a vast amount of enterprise infrastructure will be deployed at the edge. By some estimates, about 50% of new infrastructure will be at the edge. Much of this will have processing capability. Disasters like COVID-19 have helped to hasten the cycles of adoption for edge infrastructure. Sensors at the edge—say in automobiles, oil rig equipment, farm equipment, manufacturing equipment, utility meters, cobots, scanners, headsets, wearables—will drive the rise of next-generation IT assets. However, the truth is that most organizations are unprepared—or cannot fully leverage these digital technologies. To prepare, modernization of the underlying infrastructure is an urgent need.
There are two emerging challenges this shift in IT will bring:
- Integration with existing enterprise investments will become difficult. Organizations won’t be able to leverage their edge to the full without immaculate integration.
- The demand for support will grow. Systems will not be able to handle the volumes and organizations will need to put in place self-healing and self-service systems that can scale without adding to costs.
While the benefits of a digital-ready infrastructure are understood, many organizations cannot keep pace with the change. We wanted to know what impedes progress despite the availability of technology and the demands placed by a digital-native workforce. For this, we conducted a global cross-industry survey. Our survey revealed that the lack of an overall digital strategy (64%) and the cost of transformation (64%) were the biggest barriers. Organizational structures and legacy partners (58%) were also hindrances but these will probably reduce rapidly as the promise of digitalization turns into visible reality across industry ecosystems.