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#BizTrends2020: Digital ecosystems will drive digital businesses

Digital ecosystems will drive digital businesses in 2020 - so what can we expect?
Grant Bennett, Country Manager for South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa, SUSE
Grant Bennett, Country Manager for South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa, SUSE

Businesses are changing. A massive shift is taking place around technology adoption that offers a stronger competitive advantage in today’s digital economy – all in an effort to ensure companies are more digitally savvy.

In fact, according to WEF, by 2022, over 60% of global GDP will be digitised, and an estimated 70% of new value created in the economy, over the next decade, will be based on digitally-enabled platforms.

I have no doubt that the estimated figures will be achieved if we consider just how many organisations are moving towards fully embracing the digital economy, especially in an attempt to improve productivity, eliminate human errors/risk and become more cost-effective across the board.

However, with a strong digital transformation strategy, it will mean that the IT infrastructure will also need be ready to meet these changing demands.

So, what can we expect from the IT environment in 2020?

Remain competitive in a digital ecosystem

Gone are the days when organisations only cared about having a private or public cloud solution.

Today, we know that that organisations are making moves to hybrid cloud solutions and utilising various vendors to avoid the ‘single cloud’ approach specifically in a cluttered eco-system.

In 2020, organisations will no longer focus on none-core applications, but are likely to examine their core applications and move these into the cloud. And to my mind, this is an indication of how market is maturing towards the acceptance of cloud.

Open Source, critical for business innovation

As digitalisation become the norm for all businesses – it brings with it its own challenges as companies respond to changing market conditions.

As a result, no matter the size of the company, all will need to understand how to adapt and quickly respond to new customer demands and unexpected shifts in the competitive landscape.
While each organisation’s IT transformation strategy will be unique, open-source solutions will be a core part of the plan. In the past, the attraction might have had more to do with lowering costs or avoiding the dangers of vendor lock-in, now, it’s all about innovation. Open source is leading the way, with almost all the top technology trends at the centre of IT transformation efforts.

It’s difficult to see how open source could be ignored in 2020 as a component of any IT strategy, especially if we consider the impact of projects such as Kubernetes and Cloud Foundry, Ceph for software-defined storage, among others.

CTO/CIO become critical in organisations

The role of the CTO/CIO will become more important going into 2020. Given that digital disruption and digital economies are becoming more prevalent, CIOs and CTOs are therefore a critical participant in the strategic decisions within an organisation – and its future direction.

Focus will need to be placed on making the business scalable, easier, more convenient - and obviously more manageable - so that the CTO and CIO can see where the business is, what needs to be deployed or used, and where resources are being used.

Skills development

With digital transformation being widely embraced, organisations want to ensure they have the right skills set in-house to meet the market demands.

As a result, going forward, companies will need to focus on retraining their staff and getting their current workforce to a ‘different’ level of knowledge.

In fact, we have started seeing this in the market specifically from an open-source perspective. There is a much higher adoption of open source and we expect this will continue to grow in 2020 as the hyperscalers have already adopted open source in their strategies and are pushing for further adoption and exclusive training.

So, as organisations continue to operate in a digital eco-system, the need to upscale and upskill will also grow.

In 2020, businesses need to prioritise their digital strategies or risk getting left behind. We all understand that keeping up with technological advances is crucial for business growth and continuity – however, today this sentiment is more pressing than ever before.

In business, change is a constant – but today, the challenge is understanding how fast things change and how quickly you are able to adapt. For this reason, we need to understand that digital transformation is a continuous factor for business – and sooner, rather than later.

About Grant Bennett

Country Manager for South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa at SUSE
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