The 5 Key Requirements of the Digital Age

In today’s dynamic world, the principles of doing business are rapidly changing. Mobile and cloud technologies are fundamentally transforming today’s markets and forcing companies to find new ways to compete and engage with customers. To succeed in the digital age, businesses must learn to adapt to the unpredictable changes that occur 24/7.

Even the demand for jobs is changing more and more every day, and people have a demand to work remotely rather than sitting in an office, which is what most students are doing nowadays. After all, it’s easier to be a paper writer or help with homework and still get paid for it than to sit in an office from morning till night later and not know what’s next. Today’s world is very inconsistent.

There are a lot of new players popping up all over the world who immediately start working with consumers in new ways. They are taking completely new approaches to developing products, services, and interacting with users. It’s not just about companies like Uber, Facebook, Airbnb, and Alibaba, experts are talking about the “Uberization” of the economy as a whole. Klaus Schwab, founder, and president of the World Economic Forum in Davos put it this way: “Before the big fish ate the small fish, but now the fast fish is eating the slow fish.

New dynamic competitors are not burdened by the burden of outdated processes and infrastructures and pose a real threat to conservative organizations. Those companies that deny this and are unwilling to embrace the new digital business paradigm risk becoming less relevant and leaving the market altogether. The question today is not whether to change. Change is necessary, everyone understands that.

The question is how to change and what to do. The new wave of IT innovations poses new strategic challenges to organizations.

1. Asymmetry in Business

Today is the best time in history to be the first company in the industry to challenge the status quo. Thanks to the ubiquitous mobile-cloud technology, easy-going innovators have quick and easy access to a global network of “shared” online resources, including human resources, capital, and a market of three billion Internet-connected people around the world.

In today’s asymmetric business world, startups have nothing to lose, so they are actively adopting new business models that are completely game-changing. Large and established players must realize that staying on the market for a long time will soon cease to be their competitive advantage. A requirement of today’s world: to innovate like a startup and operate at the level of a large corporation.

Think of Kodak, the maker of film and photographic equipment. The giant company, which was a leader in its industry, went bankrupt in 2013. And it is now that people around the world take more pictures every minute than they ever did in the past. This is an example of how companies that fail to adapt to change risk losing everything.

Along with IT companies, one of the most innovative industries is banks. A prime example of an innovative IT-based business model is banks without physical branches, such as Tinkoff Bank, Touch Bank, and many others. For traditional banks, it is a time of active competition for the consumer, as many companies from other sectors begin to provide banking services.

For example, telecom operators, Internet companies, and gadget manufacturers that offer money transfer services, payment services, and more.

2. The Near Future: The Professional Cloud Era

While the cloud is a key driver of today’s asymmetrical business world, the market for cloud services itself is also changing rapidly. The cloud that the industry has created so far is a lot like an unfinished bridge: it’s two separate towers with almost no connection to each other. On the one hand, we have enterprise private clouds with well-developed management, but excessively slow application delivery. On the other hand, we have external public clouds with fast application delivery but weak management. In the near future, we need to move to connected and interoperable clouds so that enterprises can run applications at the speed they need. The unified hybrid cloud is the future of IT and will be the industry standard for years to come.

IDC predicts that the global public cloud services market will grow by an average of 23% annually over the next four years. The domestic market for cloud services, according to IDC, will grow much faster than the IT market as a whole, and by the end of 2016, its volume will be more than $460 million, the share of cloud services and related services will reach 13% of the IT services market in Russia.

Let’s imagine the infrastructure of companies in a couple of years. Businesses will appreciate the benefits of cloud computing and will be using cloud resources in the IaaS model, and also PaaS and SaaS. But for a large, global company, the question arises:

How do you ensure that all these computing resources are available for all requirements and regional specifics?

The solution is to create a single hybrid cloud space that covers all private cloud computing. Hybrid applications will allow companies to provide employees access to work applications and data from any device, anywhere, anytime.

It’s unified network and application management, as well as an overall level of security. There are already examples of a single hybrid cloud among Western companies. For example, the largest international hotel chain InterContinental Hotels Group, whose transition to cloud infrastructure allows it to provide better service for 750 thousand rooms in 100 countries around the world.

3. information Security: Protecting People, Applications, and Data

There are many different security solutions available to us now, but cyber break-ins and data theft continue to occur with enviable regularity. What are we missing? The answer is a common, universal architecture that allows IT departments to streamline security controls and protect what matters most: people, applications and data. In other words, today’s security systems lack an architectural foundation.

This requires a layer of virtualization that will change the very essence of cybersecurity. For the first time ever, virtualization will become a critical element between the “lower” IT infrastructure and the applications and data above it. Using virtualization as a core architecture is the beginning of a security renaissance. The key is not to miss the moment.

Several massive hacks and leaks occurred during 2015, resulting in multibillion-dollar damages. The affected companies include Anthem, Experian, Carphone Warehouse, Ashley Madison, and TalkTalk. Almost every week the media gets information about new vulnerabilities in mobile platforms and an increase in the number of cyberattacks. According to InfoWatch research, 723 cases of confidential information leaks were registered in the first half of 2015, which is 10% more than the number of leaks registered in the same period of 2014. Russia ranks first in the leak ranking since 2013, and among the companies that compromised users’ personal data were VTB-24, MTS, and Russian Railways.

The traditional hardware approach to security does not allow a modern company to be fully protected, simply because it is impossible to put an iron to every server, user, cell phone, or virtual machine. A simple example is an analog and mobile telephony. In both cases, you can talk on the phone, but the user can write an SMS only from a cell phone. Security technology will be implemented in the form of software that will allow the installation of a firewall to any component of the network, be it a laptop or a server.

4. The New Wave of IT Innovation: Proactive Technologies

Despite the myriad of innovations available to us, all of the technologies we use today are fundamentally “reactive,” that is, expecting us to take commands. We are on the verge of moving to a new “proactive” technological model in which software can make decisions on our behalf, controlling everything from mundane everyday tasks to revolutionary medical procedures performed by nanorobots in the human circulatory system.

Examples of such technologies now include the Internet of Things-based “smart home,” analytical systems in manufacturing facilities, and a variety of wearable and mobile devices. Various fitness bracelets and other “smart” accessories, whose main functions are to measure heart rate, number of steps, physical activity, calories expended, are coming to the forefront to monitor the body’s physical indicators.

In the near future, the technology of fitness bracelets will make it possible to conduct a more complete diagnosis of the body and, in case of deteriorating indicators, automatically send the data to the hospital. Thus, the patient will be able to receive timely medical care in emergency situations. Or the IBM Watson supercomputer, which can analyze gigantic amounts of information, structure the data and logically build parameters, which already now makes it possible to diagnose some types of cancer better than the most experienced specialists do.

This just proves the fact that in the near future “smart” things will help to predict all processes several steps ahead.

5. Technological Change Will Change Industry Leaders

Without a doubt, all of these technological changes will have a huge impact on businesses around the world. Over the next ten years, 40% of publicly-traded companies in the S&P 500 stock index are projected to cease to exist. In other words, 4 out of 10 modern industry leaders will merge with other companies by 2025, change their form of organization or simply leave the market following Kodak.

The radical shift within the technology sector will be even more noticeable. We predict that half of the companies in the current Tech 100 ranking will disappear within 10 years. The last of the most important challenges facing both large and small companies is to make every effort to remain relevant and current. Inaction is the biggest risk today. As IT drives change, they have a chance to become entrepreneurs and innovators at the forefront of that change.

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