It’s not the strongest that survive, nor the most intelligent, it’s the most adaptable to change – Charles Darwin.
While the rewards of effective digital transformations are significant, so are the associated challenges. The fact is that new technologies are emerging faster than businesses can reasonably respond to them. Change is the new constant – and inevitably, organizations need to respond. This means a fundamental adjustment in culture for some, and the challenge of recruiting and retaining the right staff for many others. At the same time, all businesses must address the increasing complexity on all fronts and the ever-present concerns relating to cyber security.
Just how should businesses address this complexity? Just a few years ago, everybody thought the answer was to become a software company to avoid being disrupted by agile, more virtualized startups like Uber or Airbnb. This sentiment was captured in a 2011 Wall Street Journal article, “Why Software is Eating the World”, and this mindset spawned a plethora of software-based solutions, from software-defined servers, storage, networks and even data centers.
As they try to stay agile and meet the demands of current and future developments, and fight to stay relevant in their markets, enterprise IT estates now deploy a great number of different micro-services, from IoT to mobile, mostly running in the cloud, on the Fast IT side. These are all event driven, and they are victims of their own success – the more events they handle and the more messages they send to one another, the more it becomes like people shouting at one another in a room – and this inevitably leads to miscommunication and chaos.
Just to make things even more complicated, there’s a new kid in town. As NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang predicted earlier this year, “Software is eating the world, but AI is going to eat software” – pointing to the ways in which everything from healthcare to vehicles will be transformed by Artificial Intelligence. There’s even more to come, for example Blockchain, which is likely to also have a transformative effect on how people exchange digital and physical goods in the future.
How should businesses tame this complexity, and prepare for the future by enabling their data to be leveraged by AI and other services? We think that what’s needed is a repository of business-critical data, in the middle of the system to bring structure and order. Thanks to the advanced analytics capabilities we have access to today, and the business insights that can be extracted from data, then rather than being a burden, the more data a business has, the better. And the power of analytics is only going to improve in the future. The challenge that most enterprises now face is how to unlock the value in this data goldmine. But it could be just a case of connecting the central repository – e.g. based on mainframe technology – to a modern user interface, to give applications easy access to the data. What is more, by taking this approach, all enterprise data stays on premise.
As digitalization continues to put pressure on business models and processes, application landscapes and their underlying platforms must keep up. Application development teams need time to move to new architecture models and operational and IT service teams require time to adapt. Fujitsu has designed its BS2000 SE series of services and infrastructure to support digital transformation, and help bridge the gap between classic and cloud or software-defined infrastructures.
In fact, despite the high profile that Fast IT has achieved, mainframes remain the robust IT backbone of digital transformation. That’s because they have been able to keep pace with the changing demands placed on them and remain agile enough to react to urgent requests. One key element that has enabled us to keep pace with changing demands is that the Fujitsu solution can easily connect legacy applications and modern APIs – providing an interface with any cloud based micro-services or with state-of-the-art end-user devices. We’ve made this as easy as possible for our customers – by providing templates that include modern APIs, we have already done 98 percent of the work in terms of connecting micro-services to the mainframe. The final two percent is undertaken through co-creation with our customers – to ensure that the have the best possible solution.
This latest development is based on decades of evolution of Fujitsu’s BS2000 mainframe technologies. These continue to deliver all the important requirements for running business-critical applications. The key to success is that they are continually enhanced to help customers address the future demands of modern dynamic IT infrastructures. We’ve done this by remaining close to customers to understand their businesses, their challenges and their opportunities. That means that Fujitsu Enterprise Platform Services isn’t just about the technology – it’s also about the delivery model, where we also offer consumption-based pricing, just like for cloud services. We have also evolved our mainframes not in isolation, but in the context of all the other systems found in a data center. But fundamentally, this is about building long-term customer relationships based on trust and confidence.
At the recent Fujitsu Forum Munich, the theme was Human Centric Innovation – Digital Co-creation – this highlights Fujitsu’s approach of bringing together business expertise and technology to generate new value with customers and the wider ecosystem. The new value we co-create for customers relates to helping them build and execute a clear strategy, enabling them to both address the challenges of digitalization and to harness it effectively. Co-creating sustainable solutions based on mainframes really does deliver solutions that are the most adaptable to change.