The pandemic has reshaped our world, causing companies in every industry to reinvent, or at least rethink how they do business, how they meet customer requirements for more personalized experiences, and even how they optimize their supply chain and 3rd party partnerships.
At the same time, climate change is also forcing these companies to look at how their actions are impacting the environment. As a growing number of companies shift more of their business processes, products, and services online, they are looking to advanced technologies like edge computing, IoT, 5G, and composable application development to improve efficiencies and unlock new revenue streams, while simultaneously sharpening their focus on sustainability to help minimize the likelihood of catastrophic events and ultimately reduce their carbon footprint.
In addition, these next-generation technologies are giving rise to new opportunities for individuals, with “business technologists” becoming an increasingly important role within organizations that are embarking on a digital transformation journey.
Without question, we are in the midst of unprecedented changes. Companies continue to find ways to digitally transform their businesses by simplifying and hastening the development of innovative solutions that deliver real business value, both today and in the future.
Here are the top 5 trends impacting digital business innovation today:
- Edge-Native Applications:
Edge computing is a distributed IT architecture in which client data is processed at the periphery of the network, as close to the originating source as possible, via a distributed network of IoT devices, AI systems, cameras, and anything else that connects the physical and digital world. And while once considered nothing more than a hypothetical concept, this is no longer the case. It’s here now and is bringing data storage and analysis closer to the actual source of that data, enabling faster response times for accessing, analyzing, and acting on real-time events. This evolution is giving rise to a new category of “edge-native” systems and applications purpose-built to take advantage of the low latency, scalability, and real-time responsiveness made possible when processing occurs nearer to the action. These applications are able to unlock the full potential of AI and enable companies to rapidly sense, analyze, and act on events that take place in real time – ultimately helping them become more connected, efficient, and sustainable.
- Mission-Critical Deployment of IoT:
The edge is a dynamic environment consisting of a network of sensors, devices, and enterprise systems. The latest advances in edge computing and event-driven architectures that support these distributed environments are now optimizing IoT scalability to support mission-critical IoT applications. By providing real-time visibility into events, these applications are giving companies the ability to avoid or respond immediately to negative situations.
From better managing operational processes, resources, and materials to preventing and mitigating accidents before they cause substantial damage, the ability to see when problems arise and immediately respond to these critical events is a game changer.
- Composability: The amount of software in the world is growing exponentially each year. A composable approach to software development allows companies to create readily shareable modules of applications that enable mix-and-match integration without starting from scratch. This makes it significantly faster to take proof-of-concept work from testing labs to real-world use cases. As a result, business value is realized in a shorter time frame.
By moving away from what Gartner has described as “inflexible, monolithic applications” and taking a more modular approach, companies can rely upon the assembly and combination of existing – proven – business capabilities to accelerate application development, and subsequently innovate and satisfy new business needs faster than ever before.
- Real-Time Sustainability: Edge computing and the ability to move data and processing power to the periphery of the network, as close to the originating source as possible, offers many benefits such as lower latency and greater reliability. However, a less obvious impact of edge computing is the ability to address climate change by creating new digital intelligence on the edge that can optimize our energy consumption and reduce our environmental impact.
Innovative technologies such as sensors, AI, IoT, and next-gen data analysis on the edge can help companies address sustainability challenges by helping them track and manage carbon emissions. Additionally, these next-generation technologies can also be leveraged for faster, more efficient responses to natural disasters such as wildfires, earthquakes, hurricanes, and chemical leaks and spills, in order to reduce the environmental impact of such catastrophic events.
When a situation can be analyzed and responded to in real-time through automation or human-machine collaboration, organizations can respond to avoid adverse outcomes and address concerns around sustainability by optimizing energy use, utilizing fewer resources, and reducing their carbon footprint.
- Rise of the Business Technologist: As more companies use digital technologies to create new business processes, cultures, and customer experiences, a new role is appearing: the business technologist. This is someone who bridges the gap between technology and business strategy, and is focused on using technology to solve a company’s biggest business challenges. Business technologists work across multiple functions – marketing, operations, product design and engineering teams – to identify critical business problems and then build creative solutions. They often head up digital transformation efforts within an organization, imbuing new strategies and thinking into how technology can create business value. As these technologists are often closer to customers, they are typically more aware of the necessary digital capabilities to keep them engaged and therefore are best positioned to reimagine a business and how it can succeed in its digital transformation.
The future of computing lies at the edge, with software running everywhere and applications built to take advantage of the proliferation of real-time data. As our digital and physical worlds become more connected, the ability for data and events to be processed and responded to in milliseconds will become even more critical – and advanced technologies such as IoT, 5G, and composable application development, implemented as digital strategies (driven in part by business technologists) will make it all possible.
Written by Marty Sprinzen.
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