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Collaboration will drive the digital future



By JIM HOLLAND, country head of Lenovo DCG South Africa

Hyper-connectivity, information overload, electric cars and technology reshaping healthcare may sound like topics you’d read about over your tea and toast tomorrow morning. But they were, in fact, the most pertinent points of an article predicting life in 2020 published 11 years ago by British newspaper The Independent.

And the paper wasn’t alone in such Nostradamus-esque predictions. Back in 1994, BT’s futurology unit’s predictions of life in 2020 included the rise of cybercrime, digital money,  and 1TB memory chips – which Samsung just launched for mobile phones.

As 2020 looms, we’re now accustomed to these exciting technologies in our daily lives, but in truth, they’re emerging at such a pace that we struggle to maximise their potential. For example, data is exploding to exponential levels largely caused by the rise of the Internet of Things. This offers great potential yet technology and information remain siloed, preventing businesses from using their ever-increasing mass of data to its fullest effect. This digital gap, between the technology we have and our ability to use it to its fullest, restricts our ability to connect the unconnected.

For instance, the increasingly valuable industry of health trackers and wearables is doing wonders for our personal health monitoring. But the wealth of data it creates could be put to use for the greater good if technology vendors and regulators collaborated to create open standards that enable information to be shared with doctors and medical researchers.

Therefore, while adopting new technology remains vital to staying ahead of the competition, businesses must also ensure they gain maximum value from the tools they have at their fingertips. To do that, they need to embrace intelligent transformation, which will fundamentally change the nature of business and customer relationships and reinvent business processes. Every revolution has its leaders, visionaries and innovators, and intelligent transformation is no different.

This digital revolution will be reliant on establishing an open ecosystem that enables us to bridge digital gaps and empower local communities. This is an industry-wide concern that can only be solved by vendors and partners collaborating to provide a series of open standards. By building alliances, partnering with other providers and working together they can ensure end users are able to start using technology to its fullest.

Partnering for success

The benefits of open source partnerships have been proven by the Apache Hadoop ecosystem, which has fundamentally changed the way that enterprises store, process and analyse data. Applying a similar theory of open standards to the latest emerging technologies will help people and businesses alike get the most out of their devices, systems and networks.

This vision is part of the inspiration behind Lenovo’s launch of Lenovo TruScale, a new consumption-based, subscription model for IT hardware. The solution will help organisations change the way they do business and how they think about IT, and foster stronger relationships between partners and customers. This is the first step to moving businesses away from how they’ve traditional worked towards a more open ‘as a service’ approach to technology.

Technology partnerships will be crucial to solving issues that threaten business performance. Our partnership with Scale Computing has seen us launch an edge computing solution that simplifies enterprises’ management of their IT infrastructure. This has, for example, solved Dutch retailer Ahold Delhaize’s concerns over its future IT demands by replacing its complex traditional infrastructure with a ‘datacenter in a box’ solution. This reduced the time it spends deploying and managing its infrastructure, eliminated downtime, and enhanced the performance of its traditional and IoT applications.

Similarly, we’re working with Pivot 3 to enable the next generation of edge computing and, in particular, enable mission-critical smart city security. Smart city market growth is reliant on solutions that use an array of sensors and databases combined with facial and license plate recognition, behavioural analysis and more. Our partnership helps cities optimise these solutions through machine learning and advanced edge device management – which ensures they better protect their citizens.

Alliances between vendors can also result in solutions that tackle humanity’s greatest challenges. For example, our work with hyperconverged leader Nutanix has helped Tengzhou Maternal and Child Health Hospital implement an IT infrastructure that significantly improved the performance, availability and reliability of its most critical existing applications. It also provided staff with around-the-clock access to data, which means they can deliver the best possible care services 24/7.

These examples show how technology partnerships can be crucial in helping businesses gain the full potential, value and performance from their existing systems and workloads. The onus is now on vendors and their partners to create an open ecosystem that will help us solve issues such as the need for connectivity, understanding and solving data overload, powering the next generation of transport, and advanced healthcare technology that improves our understanding of diseases.

They say many hands make light work. Let’s work together to make light work of utilising our technology to its fullest.