If you are like most business leaders, there is a lot going on and you never seem to have enough time to think strategically about your future direction. Technology continues to move at a rapid pace making today’s innovations yesterday’s news. The demands of your business continue to drive the need to optimize and reduce costs. And, while you have plans and programs in place today, how do you know it’s the best approach? Are you absolutely sure there isn’t a better way?
Virtuosity 2015, our annual client symposium, was held this October at two locations – New York City and Scotland. It was a great opportunity for our clients to network, share ideas and gain insights into best practices being used across industries to re-imagine how to accelerate their innovation while optimizing how they run their businesses today. This year’s topics included how best to adopt new technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Robotics. We also explored how best to simplify your IT applications and infrastructure to reduce your costs of operations by using techniques such as Hyperconvergence, Autonomics and Robotic Process Automation (RPA).
During the course of the two Virtuosity conferences we conducted over 21 thought provoking sessions with speakers from the analyst community, our client thought leaders and Virtusa practitioners. Here are several key takeaways from the two events:
Embrace the Internet of Things (IoT)
The Internet of Things (IoT) is certainly grabbing a lot of headlines these days! Over 50 billion devices are expected to be connected to the internet by 2020, and analysts estimate that a $7.1 trillion dollar industry will be created. IoT will be a catalyst for transforming virtually every
industry from healthcare to insurance to financial services to retail to transportation and logistics.
Pervasive connectivity, emerging smart devices and decrease in computing power are allowing new sensors to be developed and incorporated into everyday objects at an alarming pace. Many ordinary objects are being reinvented with built-in digital sensing, computing and communication capabilities. This functionality provides both new and previously passive objects with a new “digital voice”.
IoT promises increased efficiency and lowered costs. Through IoT, many business processes can be empowered, and therefore, various industries can reimagine their business models and redesign their processes to take advantage of the IoT paradigm. IoT creates extreme automation in the home, workplace, and cities – in virtually everything you do. But IoT also unleashes the power of the connected world. Product manufacturers recognize that by simply connecting their products to the internet, beginning to collect data, and providing the right blend of analytics, they can unleash new revenue streams. As an organization, it is critical that you begin to embrace, experiment and deploy products and services based on IoT related technologies.
Become an IoT innovator
Conventional wisdom of large enterprises taking the lead in the growth of IoT no longer applies. There are over 3,100 IoT startups spanning both products and industries. According to Gartner, “By 2017, 50% of IoT solutions will originate in startups that are less than 3 years old”. How do you transform your company culture to support what is needed for migrating your products and services to take advantage of IoT? How do you foster entrepreneurial thinking in your team? In the IoT era, access to devices, computing power and data enables unlikely competitors to appear in your industry. Learn how to transform your organization into an IoT powerhouse. Innovation requires experimentation. You must establish your petri dish, experiment often and fail fast.
Build an enterprise IoT capability
A big part of changing your culture to foster IoT thinking is about changing the way you work. IoT demands new ways of developing and integrating applications. Infrastructure and compute power are no longer competitive weapons. Two guys in Starbucks can have the same computing power as a Fortune 500 company. This requires you to reassess what is core and what should be “rented” or “leased” in an as-a-service model. Becoming highly proficient in cloud, data and analytics, and user experience is critical for launching IoT products and services. By leveraging cloud based platforms you can increase developer productivity and accelerate innovation. Using modern integration techniques allow you to create composable business and delivery models. And, applying cognitive analytics and AI techniques can create digital experiences that your customers will love.
Design applications for a connected world
Computing has changed radically in the past 10-15 years. User experience has moved from the desktop to the web and now to mobile. Many of our daily interactions now take place on mobile phones, tablets, e-readers, and smart TVs. And, it’s common to use one service across multiple devices with different form factors. Now that a growing range of everyday objects are going online in the connected home, personal wearables, medical and wellness devices, connected cars, and connected cities; designing engaging applications is becoming even more complicated. As the physical world becomes more digital, how will you create usable, useful and desirable experiences?Designing for this new breed of IoT applications raises even more challenges as a wider variety of devices and form factors come online. Some objects may have no input or output capabilities at all and are unable to tell us directly what they are doing. Interactions may only be handled by web or smartphone apps. Additionally, IoT systems will span many interconnected devices, services and users. Despite these differences, users need to feel as if they are using a coherent service rather than a set of disjointed interfaces. It’s also important to consider not just the usability of individual interfaces but inter-usability as user experiences are now distributed across multiple devices.
IoT design requires far greater emphasis on understanding the user’s need in a particular context of use. It’s much more than how user needs are translated to UI screens. It’s about connecting workflows between the physical and digital world. This requires an interdisciplinary requirement of service design, interaction design and industrial design. It’s no longer about designing for a device or channel, but rather a context or setting.
Leverage the power of hyperconvergence
Hyperconverged infrastructure has quickly become one of the hottest trends in IT today. There are dozens of companies, from startups to established vendors, now integrating compute, storage, virtualization resources, networking and other software components into a single appliance-like platform. These hyperconverged systems are a natural progression from traditional IT
infrastructure, which are commonly silos of systems and operations.
Web-scale IT will be present in more than 50% of the world’s enterprises within five years.
Hyperconvergence helps IT leaders scale, reduce costs, better align resources, and increase resiliency. Impactful use cases for hyperconvergence exist across traditional infrastructure, OpenStack architectures, as well as DevOps. Hyperconvergence is a scalable building-block approach that allows IT to expand by adding units, just like in a LEGO set. Granular scalability is one of the hallmarks of this infrastructure. Automation is a key component that goes hand in hand with hyperconvergence. With all resources combined with centralized management tools in place, administrative functionality becomes very easy to automate.
Gain efficiencies through Robotic Process Automation (RPA)
Not too long ago, RPA was “a total mystery” to most organizations, but its potential is now grabbing the attention of IT consulting and advisory firms, outsourcing providers, and enterprises alike. Mckinsey predicts that “110-140 million FTE’s could be replaced by automation tools and software by 2020.” At its core, RPA is “robotic” software that aims to reduce costs, improve efficiency and productivity by removing repetitive and manually intensive tasks. RPA consists of advanced software and algorithms that are deployed to complete routine tasks and processes previously performed by humans. RPA delivers accuracy and agility in response to new markets and regulatory demands, helping companies all over the world become more efficient and responsive. Further, applying Autonomics to infrastructure management is driving self-management (self-diagnosis, self-configuring, self-healing, self-optimizing, self-protection etc.). According to the Institute of Robotics Process Automation (IRPA), many IT infrastructure support jobs will be eliminated over the next three years such as automated patch downloads, automated ticket generation, automated account creation for a new application user etc.
To see more on these topics, please visit http://www.virtusa.com/events/virtuosity2015/