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Technology Disrupts Business
Ranga Rajagopalan
CTO-Avi Networks
Thursday, October 13, 2016
More than half of today's companies will either cease to exist or be transformed far beyond recognition in the next 10 years. That's more than half the world's economy. That's billions of people who will be affected either directly or indirectly. It would be incorrect to say that we are facing the worst upheaval ever. As humans, we have faced and survived far worse. But, it would be accurate to say that the largest number of people will be affected in the next few years than ever before. Technology is the vehicle of this transformation.

Technology is transforming every aspect of our lives.

- Virtually limitless computational capacity is available on demand due to the rise of cloud computing.
- Almost everyone on the planet has multiple client devices.
- There is connectivity from client devices to the compute capacity in the cloud from anywhere.
- Enhanced client devices are providing virtual and augmented reality.
- Connected devices and sensors are beginning to monitor every person, property and piece of equipment that needs monitoring.
- Profound changes in transportation are resulting in self driving cars; trucks, drones and helicopters will follow soon.
- Advances in transportation is spawning a new class of "just in time" businesses that deliver everything from food to flowers.
- Space travel and tourism is becoming cheaper and more practical, paving the way for colonizing other planets.
- Advances in energy production are resulting in cleaner energy.
- Artificial Intelligence is improving a variety of things from power consumption to remote assistance.
- Blockchain ledger technology is transforming financial technology, currencies and money movement across the globe.

Every business needs to transform itself or it will perish. What is involved in this transformation? Every aspect of the business needs to constantly re-evaluate itself, how it conducts its business, evaluate its productivity, costs, explore ways to adopt technology to improve productivity. IT teams need to evaluate and adopt automation in their private datacenters and deliver services as a private cloud; adopt a hybrid cloud strategy and use the public cloud for short lived, elastic and/or dev/QA tasks. Sales and marketing teams should evaluate social/digital marketing/advertizing platforms, adopt new analytics/business intelligence and quote to cash products to collect/analyze/market/sell products and services. Support organizations should explore machine learning and AI techniques to augment traditional product and services support. Hiring, retaining and re-training great employees have never been more important. Employees are the lifeblood of the business and implement and adopt the transformation. Most importantly, strategic leaders and teams need to constantly monitor and analyze technology advances, their impact on the core business and set the direction, pace and investment for the digital transformation.

Let us illustrate just a single trend and analyze how organizations can take advantage of the trend. Every large business has sizeable investments in datacenters. All business applications are hosted in their datacenters. Traditionally, datacenters have been configured, managed and monitored manually using ITIL practices. Requesting and obtaining infrastructure resources has been a slow process because it requires manual intervention. The solution for this problem is automation. Automation provides several benefits. It improves productivity by reducing the number of persons needed to manage the infrastructure, reduces the time taken for providing infrastructure, eliminates mistakes and enables the cloud which enables the requestors to obtain infrastructure via self service. Automation is inhibited by disparate types of equipment, since automation works best with homogenous equipment. The rise of commodity x86 based servers actually makes this possible. All aspects of technology from servers to storage to networking to networking services are implemented on commodity x86 based servers as software. This democratizes and makes the datacenter homogenous, thus enabling automation and the rise of the cloud. Thus, IT teams should automate their datacenters, invest in rolling out private clouds, embrace the public cloud, design the application workflow in a multi-cloud world and secure the businesses data wherever it resides.
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