Enterprises of the future will look very different to the ones we know today. While many are now in transition, most still operate in pretty much the way they have over the past decade. This is because investments in legacy applications and infrastructure make major change in large organisations slow to achieve.
Yet change they must, or be beaten by the competition. So how to get from here to there?
The enterprise today will have an infrastructure designed 10 or more years ago, using mostly commodity servers with a smattering of more specialised hardware, running mostly off-the-shelf enterprise software with a handful of custom-developed applications, probably containing core IP.
Meanwhile an increasing number of their employees will have grown up never knowing a time without pervasive connectivity and go-anywhere devices to allow them to take advantage of it. So on the client side, 'bring your own device' could become a reality but desktop computers still dominate, and email is the main means of business communication.
New cloud-based technologies will change all that over the next decade or so. Enterprise mobility technology and desktop virtualisation will abolish the desktop PC in favour of cloud-connected mobile devices, and each piece of software will be customised using VDI technologies to the function of the individual.
Enterprises will make increasing use of platform as a service, enabling developers to create web and mobile apps for any platform that integrates easily with software as a service and on-premises applications. Cloud technologies will be pervasive, with all corporate data managed using a cloud-based business model, underpinned by a hybrid cloud infrastructure.
As economies of scale lower the cost of delivering high-value services such as analytics, such applications will become commonplace. They will be essential to analyse data streaming in from the myriad of devices in the cloud-connected Internet of Things, which in turn will allow enterprises to extend digital business scenarios to leverage existing investments, create new efficiencies and revenue sources, and enable innovation.
Specialists in areas such as security will be managing the infrastructure and networks to ensure that safeguarding data is as pervasive as connectivity, allowing the enterprise to share its data with trusted partners, employees, and customers alike, creating a truly open enterprise.
Soon new applications that are unheard-of today will undoubtedly emerge, driven by cloud-based innovation - and the enterprises that succeed in embracing that change will become the leaders of tomorrow.