Covering Disruptive Technology Powering Business in The Digital Age

Greater Impact on Businesses Will Drive the Growth of It Infrastructure Solutions in 2022
January 21, 2022 Blog

Authored By: Sumir Bhatia, President – Lenovo Infrastructure Solutions Group (ISG), Asia Pacific

Over the last two years, we witnessed a dramatic shift in the way consumers interact with businesses. This change spurred organisations to evolve the way they manage operations and deliver value in the continuing remote working environment, particularly increasing prioritisation towards streamlined operations, better speed to market and seamless digital experiences for customers.

Businesses are increasingly tapping digital technologies to accelerate their transformation in new and improved ways. Gartner estimates worldwide IT spending is projected to grow to $4.5 Trillion in 2022, a 5.5% increase from 2021, which is also said to be the highest year-on-year growth in the last decade.

Moving forward in 2022, we will continue to see an accelerated digitisation and virtualisation of business and society; and as digital continues to gain momentum, we expect to see the following trends take hold.

Hybrid Will Lead in 2022 — Rise in Hybrid Cloud Adoption Enabling a Hybrid Workplace

According to a survey conducted by HSBC in late 2021, 53% of over 200 companies polled in Singapore believe hybrid work will promote innovation. Furthermore, 36% of businesses place a high priority on creating an environment that fosters and enables innovation.

Professionals in Singapore also support the hybrid work model as they believe it allows them to strike the perfect balance between their professional and personal lives. Such flexibility in working, innovating and collaborating from anywhere and on your own appropriate time is on the horizon of digital transformation. A unified experience in the hybrid work model demands a sound infrastructure that seamlessly manages data, applications and workloads between connected computing environments.

I believe the hybrid cloud will provide businesses with this opportunity. A hybrid cloud approach enables enterprises to combine several strengths and reduce complexities such as legacy system modernisation, limited IT management support and capital expenditure implications to further deliver an optimum experience.

Here’s how the hybrid cloud will help businesses in 2022 and beyond:

Hybrid cloud deployment will accelerate workflows, strengthen workforce collaboration and improve budget flexibility for further infrastructural investments. Such flexibility improves efficiency, lowers costs and enhances business agility.

Having a robust hybrid cloud strategy offers interoperability across on-site and cloud infrastructures, creating more reliable work environments through multiple deployments and backups that will continue providing accessibility in case of obstacles.

A hybrid cloud strategy can help businesses continue leveraging their existing legacy systems and optimising resources by making their system and data accessible in the cloud through hybrid integration

With hybrid cloud, organisations will be able to enhance data protection and security to de-risk businesses by helping mitigate security-related challenges attributed to cybercriminal activities.

Lastly, and with all the above benefits, hybrid cloud adoption can also ensure business scalability by opening doors to access unlimited resources to grow operations and infrastructure while capitalising on, and integrating with, existing infrastructure, thereby also enabling cost-effectiveness.

Understanding the Unified Strength of IoT, Edge and AI

Data, as we say, is the new currency and ITDMs are the new bankers. According to a research firm, the number of IoT devices worldwide is expected to hit 30.9 billion by 2025, a sharp jump from the 13.8 billion forecasts for 2021. With the rapidly growing number of IoT devices, the multiplying volume of datasets becomes limitless, making it critical for businesses to have real-time insights and take accurate decisions. What continues to be an added challenge for many enterprises is that the data generated at remote locations have to travel to the core data centre or the cloud for processing. Data latency affects business operations and, thus, performance. Having an edge server eliminates the need for data to travel, and aided by Artificial Intelligence (AI), ensures faster and real-time intelligence.

Here’s how businesses will benefit from IoT Edge processing in 2022 and beyond:

Aside from collecting and transmitting to the cloud, processing data at the edge will bring better analytics capabilities allowing businesses to receive technical data that is already optimised for better consumption, and in line with business requirements.

As processing at the edge will help businesses acquire limited volumes of valuable datasets, enhanced computing power at the edge will significantly improve delivery time and further reduce the cost implications of additional bandwidth and latency-related investments that are otherwise essential.

Using AI at the edge can help businesses draw true value from their data to draw intelligent insights to drive business growth. In fact, from Lenovo’s ThinkEdge portfolio, the GPU-rich server is designed to accelerate business-critical insights. The SE450 server delivers performance and scalability at the edge while enabling edge AI solutions for retail, manufacturing, smart city, and telecom through a vast partner ecosystem.

According to McKinsey, “market demands are pushing businesses to manage more extensive datasets and achieve faster query and analytics responses”. Through increased awareness about smart infrastructure solutions, industry leaders are increasingly realizing the potential impact it can have on their businesses returns.

Edge Computing for Better Use of 5G

No doubt, 5G is poised to reduce latency by introducing smarter connectivity speed. With positive 5G trials and the urgency to launch it in the region, we are set to witness a new era of connectivity. Coupled with IoT and edge computing, businesses will see new levels of speed, innovation and productivity.  But the question arises whether we are equipped and prepared to onboard this technology? Should enterprises wait until it rolls out? 5G rollout will not be common across all industries and will follow the 4G rollout model. It will make better sense for businesses to combine edge computing power with the existing 4G network—preparing businesses to take better advantage of 5G.

Stronger ESG Focus for a Greener Future

General awareness around environmental sustainability is at an all-time high. Consumers and business leaders are accepting the fact that sustainability is the only way forward. Businesses are no longer dedicating CSR funds to fulfill a mandate but are genuinely keeping ESG considerations in mind.  Innovation will reflect not only in the end-product but also in the core of business aspects, including production. For example, data centres produce a lot of heat. Thus, innovative solutions such as warm water cooling that effectively reuses the heat released by computing equipment will pave the way for sustainable greener data centres by reducing energy consumption for operations. We can expect more innovative solutions to emerge, making data centres greener.  Furthermore, deploying solar and wind power technology and investments into renewable energy will reduce dependencies on nonrenewable energy consumption. Lenovo reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 92% in FY19/20 and is on our way to meeting the 2030 goal of reducing direct emissions and emissions related to purchased electricity, steam and cooling by 50%.

IT infrastructure solutions that connect the workforce through the hybrid work model will positively impact the climate due to reduced commuting, thereby further reducing emissions from roads and offices.

Everything-as-a-Service (XaaS) Model Will Underline Tech Adoption

Businesses’ IT requirements are evolving every 12–18 months, which has added to the pressure of keeping up with the speed of innovation. They are looking for avenues to reduce complexities and gain ultimate flexibility for their IT infrastructure investments. An everything-as-a-service offering such as Lenovo TruScale can enable businesses of all sizes with flexibility they need to stay competitive with a scalable, cloud-like consumption model and predictable payment options for hardware and service inclusions.

With an as-a-Service platform, infrastructure business solutions can be fully managed, allowing businesses to take advantage of an on-premise cloud environment and the peace of mind around data management in a hybrid environment. As companies look for better ways to advance their operations to maintain business continuity, the Everything-as-a-Service model will gain better acceptance and adoption since it will allow businesses to reduce their complexities using one solution, one provider, one contract, and a single point of accountability with this infrastructure solution.

The rapid digital transformation that the world is undergoing currently puts Singapore in an advantageous position to accelerate its growth as one of the world’s leading digital players. Singapore will continue to embrace digitalisation as it creates opportunities to upskill Singaporeans and create new jobs. In 2021, Singapore’s estimated spending on the procurement of information and communications technology (ICT) was S$3.8 billion and this is set to grow in 2022 given the government’s increased emphasis on digitisation.

As we see businesses striving to grow themselves in an economy that is bouncing back, we believe that in 2022 enterprises will benefit greatly from evaluating and implementing technology solutions for better business growth.