Unlocking the value of digital transformation, from the infrastructure upwards
Articles in the business technology press are fond of the phrase ‘digital transformation’, but the phrase is as broad and nebulous today as ‘digital technology’.
Transforming your organization or company by use of technology sums up the process of digital transformation, but the means by which that’s achieved – the products or strategies deployed, too – varies widely from industry vertical to vertical.
The use of IIoT (industrial internet of things) is having a considerable impact on manufacturing, building management, logistics and the broad church that covers the whole concept of ‘smart cities’. But that technology might have little effect on a service-based organization, like financial concerns, pure-play e-commerce, or online publishing.
Likewise, the digital transformation possibilities offered by a financial platform that powers next-gen online B2C stores (complete with multi-currency and multi-governance capabilities) isn’t a platform that will be the first choice in digital transformation for a utility supplier.
But, some products and services are out there that do have a significant and positive impact on industries of all types. Products that, for instance, make the scaling and management of cloud infrastructures more easily attained, will have positive effects for any cloud user, or at an enterprise level, the company operating its own data centers.
It’s at the level of digital infrastructure that companies and organizations of any creed build their digital transformation initiatives. Creating a secure and scalable platform on which the organization can scale confidently is the initial step taken – wherever an organization’s journey may need to take it.
And even the service industry will find that IoT deployments bring positive results – from secure building systems, to intelligently configured and managed working spaces – despite our idea of IoT being the devices that are best used on the factory floor. Therefore, infrastructure on which even the simplest of IoT rollouts is based becomes a primary concern.
The provision of scalability and business agility via infrastructure is an overarching product area that pulls in both of these two examples, and many more besides. Hyperconvergence and convergence in infrastructures, software-defined networking and new platforms that enable data storage, mining and archiving – these are areas that will drive any organization’s capabilities.
The biggest challenge which all industries will be facing as they deploy individual versions of their digital transformation strategies will be how to begin to cope with the massive accumulation of data. Infrastructure is, therefore, the underpinning foundation on which this growth is, and will be based, for many years to come.
Consider a few of the following:
- Artificial intelligence’s ability to mine and correlate big data depends on data integrity, management and the ability to cope with silo-ed data.
- IoT and IIoT deployments produce enormous quantities of information. Moving this data around, storing and drawing meaningful business intelligence at the edge, poses a challenge that technologies can help solve.
- Increasing data movements and worries about data security mean that local computing will become increasingly important as companies look to manage, process and/or compress information before passing it on for further value derivation elsewhere.
Here at Tech Wire Asia, we present four companies which we feel have significant roles to play in the next 12 to 18 months.
Their products and services are not niche-industry, but rather, their solutions and understanding can create the infrastructure that underpins business agility, the method by which to scale, and the empowerment platforms that businesses need to differentiate themselves from the competition.
Even the most disruptive of organizations relies on the digital infrastructure that underpins it. Without a credible foundation, businesses cannot scale and adapt – and that’s what’s required to steal a march on the competition.
Tripwire provides non-disruptive foundational controls for industrial and IT environments. Tripwire’s platform assures protection over the entire industrial environment — from the network to all endpoints and controllers – thus creating effective protection for both IT & OT (Information Technology & Operations Technology).
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Hirschmann, on the other hand, is a global leading industrial Ethernet switch manufacturer that provides extended cyber security functions through its state-of-the-art HiOS (Hirschmann Operating System), which complies with most industrial cyber security standards such as IEC62443, enabling your networks to send large amounts of data to Security SCADA for overall monitoring.
Eagle and Tofino industrial firewalls help perform deep package inspection over industrial protocols through a whitelist mechanism, providing protection to industrial assets at control and field levels.
Belden, who own several brands including Tripwire and Hirschmann offers a rounded portfolio of secure connectivity and networking products.
With offices all over the globe, Belden’s infrastructure products help make digital transformation a reality. It’s one of the few companies that has realized that the challenges created by a massive increase in data throughputs and storage requirements will have a dampening effect on digital initiatives unless the correct steps are taken.
From its position as the de facto supplier of high-end networking switches and infrastructure components, Cisco is in the process of reinventing itself an enabler of data center technologies
As companies move their computing, storage and even platforms into the cloud, the underpinning data center technologies need the ability to scale rapidly.
It’s in the software definition of networking elements that Cisco is able now to offer the next generation of software-defined networking topologies. By abstracting the network’s attributes, companies can rapidly scale their infrastructure provisions, allocating and altering according to demand.
Hyperconvergence is the process by which the whole data center stack can be united into one place and therefore managed and deployed centrally. This enables the enterprise to be able to allocate resources at will. For instance, moving from one archive type to another (HDD to SSD), or drawing on distributed storage elements as if geographically identical can be achieved quickly and easily, without physical intervention.
Today’s Cisco solutions offer simple scalability, with monitoring and control of various systems not limited to its own brands, via APIs, or with tools like HyperFlex Connect.
Once abstracted, network structures can deploy features such as built-in data replication, de-duplication on-the-fly, in-line compression, cloning, and snapshots.
Allied Telesis is a Japanese company which, since the days of the Tiger Economy in the 1980s, has spread its interests out over the world until achieving its current position: providing infrastructure components and technologies for a wide variety of media & data exchange.
Via a single dashboard that’s used for management, oversight and the drawing of business intelligence, Allied Telesis covers the whole gamut of network infrastructure devices: switches, firewalls, gateways, aggregators, wireless access points and secure VPN traffic handlers. By abstracting most layers in the network model, massive savings for IT departments can be made, both in terms of hardware but also in human labor costs.
For instance, the bane of many systems administrator’s life, ACL propagation, is now achievable with single rulesets permeating out to multiple network hardware instances– irrelevant of provider or brand.
In real HR terms, IT departments do not have to train staff to become expert in multiple protocols and programming platforms for each hardware manufacturer. The company’s adoption of OpenFlow means that its autonomous management framework (AMF) is effectively platform-agnostic.
At the single-user level, new endpoint instances are managed as they arrive on the network, rather than staff having to be reactive to SCM alerts as new MACs appear.
Once network engineers have to perform fewer tasks manually, they can concentrate on more business-oriented activities such as automation and scripting. Through Allied Telesis’s capabilities and extensive platform offerings, IT becomes a strategic player, rather than a reactive firefighting department.
North Carolina’s CommScope’s hardware is in daily use by the majority of the US’s Fortune 500 companies. Its networking infrastructure products link and interface the largest of enterprises, enabling secure communications between disparate offices, installations, branch deployments and the most remote of networked ‘edges’
In the modern data center, CommScope’s products are the building blocks for single or multiple party tenancy installations– from server rackmount units to microwave and fiber distribution nodes.
The company’s products are also to be found as the go-to choice in many ISPs’ networking infrastructures, powering the hubs that connect millions of domiciles and places of business.
End-to-end connectivity for communication is what drives the company– from a single outlying edge deployment for IIoT, through to the technology used to link whole city blocks’ infrastructure, it’s CommScope that drives in the foundations of digital transformation.
If you need advice on widescale copper or fiber deployments or need the security capability to provide wi-fi to a whole housing development, CommScope’s hardware and consultancy services should be the first place you turn.
*Some of the companies featured on this editorial are commercial partners of Tech Wire Asia
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