Digital transformation is upending industries across the globe, keeping many an IT leader up at night wondering how best to adapt to the relentless pace of change. At the same time, disruptive new technologies are transforming business and IT operations. To successfully enable business growth in the rapidly advancing digital age, IT must evolve from being a reactive organization with limited agility to being a predictive business enabler that foresees and anticipates business needs. The key to developing this capability is streamlining IT processes and working smarter, not harder. With that in mind, here’s a look at three technologies that are transforming business and IT operations today.
1. Cloud Computing
Cloud computing has been steadily advancing deeper into the business, beginning with applications specific to certain business units like sales and marketing; later moving into file storage and office productivity suites; and then marching into other areas, including IT itself. Now, businesses can outsource entire chunks of their infrastructure that IT departments would have traditionally managed on site using resources found in Infrastructure-as-a-Service solutions and similar technologies, freeing the IT team to build new core competencies and focus on higher-level strategic priorities.
Not every business application or aspect of a company’s infrastructure is appropriate for the cloud quite yet, but the overall trend is heading unmistakably in that direction. In many cases, particularly if IT performs due diligence and selects partners that adequately prioritize security concerns, a well-selected cloud solution can gift IT an incredibly precious resource: time. That said, IT personnel who once saw themselves as stewards of an on-premises infrastructure must now quickly adapt to new and perhaps unfamiliar roles as technology evangelists and champions of cultural change within the business.
IT is tapping automation to streamline repetitive tasks in data centers and in the cloud, eliminating the need for laborious, hands-on intervention. Such automation is especially beneficial when it focuses on rote activities that would otherwise consume IT staff members’ time, such as provisioning new virtual machines or ensuring compliance with security policies. Adoption of automation can accelerate the pace of IT operations and reduce instances of human error (that is, if errors are not baked into automated workflows, in which case they can rapidly proliferate), enabling administrators to devote more time to valuable work like optimizing the existing infrastructure or testing new technologies that may give the company a strategic advantage. Just as automation has benefited marketing teams and enabled them to achieve their goals using less staff time, so too can automation give IT teams a timely and enduring assist.
3. Artificial Intelligence
Although we’re still at the early stages, it’s clear that artificial intelligence (AI) will have as profound an impact on IT and business operationsâ€”if not moreâ€”than the technologies mentioned earlier. Some businesses are already beginning to use AI to enhance their cybersecurity, tapping the power of automated threat intelligence to quickly identify the most serious threats they faceâ€”threats that are appearing at an ever-increasing scale. Rather than having to sift through a sea of alerts and pick out the most urgent concerns, security professionals can instead devote more time to bolstering their company’s defenses and improving its security posture.
At the same time, malicious hackers are wasting no time marshaling the power of AI for their own nefarious ends. They’re already using AI to automate the labor-intensive process of creating malware, and before long they may even be able to build malware that cognitively adapts to defenses it encounters in the wild. Cybercriminals could also deploy AI to coordinate Internet of Things â€œhivenetsâ€ that independently check in with one another on their progress and coordinate their strategies based on local intelligence. So, although IT pros may find AI useful for enhancing corporate cybersecurity, it will also be absolutely necessary to have AI capabilities on board to ward off advanced threats in the near future.
Digital transformation may be an incredibly hyped buzzword that causes many an IT pro to sigh or even raise a weary eyebrow, but it presents as much a golden opportunity as it does difficult challenges. IT and business leaders who successfully capitalize on the potential of cloud computing, automation, and AI to advance their business processes will find themselves in a far better position to adapt to any changes that our age of digital disruption demands.
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