A fan at a GT car race taps her smartphone and watches her favorite driver maneuver the course from a camera installed inside the vehicle’s cabin. Or a printing press worker wears a pair of Google’s smart glasses that lets IT experts in a different location see a tech problem as if through the worker’s eyes and then helps him fix it. How about a city Internet system that allows a mother to use her smartphone to check up on her kids in school?
These are not futuristic scenarios but actual examples from a handful of forward-thinking companies and cities around the world. The M1 GT team, which races the Audi R8 LMS, worked with us to create such an app for its race fans. We helped the HP Printer Group, our former sister division, adapt Google Glass technology for troubleshooting at a large printing press company. And we partnered with the Smart Dubai Government initiative to create a state-of-the-art connected city for Dubai citizens.
What’s making these improvements in the way we work and live possible is our ongoing digital revolution. Advances in digital technologies are disrupting whole sectors of our society. Today, both businesses and governments want their users to enjoy new experiences. The digital revolution can help them drive customer satisfaction or boost revenues or reduce costs or manage the risks—in other words, achieve real outcomes.
One of my favorite stories of digital transformation is Netflix. It started as a logistics company that mailed movie DVDs to your home. Then it pivoted to streaming video over the Internet, which became hugely popular. Now the company is building services on top of that digital platform, enabling customers to watch Netflix original shows like “House of Cards” and “Narcos.” Netflix has gone through a continuous digital transformation to enhance its customer experience and achieve great business outcomes.
Digital transformation services
IT services, of course, are at the center of these digital transformations. Cutting-edge consumption models that offer flexibility and an Intelligent Edge that spawns innovation will help deliver new customer journeys and new ways of experiencing the world. The way to think about it is that the customer experience is the IT experience. Whether it’s a product like Dropbox cloud storage, a brand like craft e-tailer Etsy, or a relationship like low-income entrepreneur financing via global platforms like Kiva, these are experiences that are enabled through IT. Everything is being transformed by IT, and the change is constant.
The best IT consumption models today deliver flexibility and optimal business outcomes. Some of our customers, for example, tell us that they don’t know if they have the right capacity to handle the mountains of data being produced. Our research shows that 50 percent of enterprises have experienced downtime because of poor capacity planning. Sometimes data is growing so fast that a business is not able to manage it in the right way. Sometimes companies have all this expensive equipment and they are underutilizing it. We can help you manage your IT capacity so you can achieve the outcomes you need when you need them. And if financing is an issue, you can pay as you go.
Today, with Hybrid IT, we can manage capacity for you with third-party cloud providers so you can add what you need in minutes instead of waiting up to three months, as is typical today. At the same time, you can keep your mission-critical data on your in-house servers. You get the speed and affordable cost of the cloud with the security and control of your own environment.
Ultimately, flexible consumption will bring greater benefits than just speed and cost savings. It can help your operations move from being reactive to proactive and ultimately predictive. One of the benefits of public cloud is you don’t have to worry about the infrastructure, but what if your infrastructure took care of itself on-site? What if your IT systems could tell you about potential issues before they occur? For example, a shipment of crucial parts could show up at your factory when you didn’t even know there was a potential problem. The beauty of this is that the more we can add artificial intelligence to data analytics and operational support, the more your infrastructure can take care of itself and the more time gets freed up for line managers to work on innovation.
At the same time, we’re witnessing innovation driven by what’s called the Intelligent Edge. Thanks to the exponential growth in sensors, smartphones, and other devices, you can now communicate and analyze information gathered from workspaces, consumers, and even natural phenomena such as the weather. The Intelligent Edge encompasses computing, storage, and connectivity that can be trusted and secure, and that will enable businesses to harvest data for insights and actions near the source of that data, whether it’s by the objects themselves or in nearby servers.
The M1 GT race team mentioned above is a great example of this. We worked with the team to create a mobile, location-aware app. The technology brings fans closer to the event and the event sponsors. It has the race schedule, information about the drivers, real-time weather updates during the race, plus the time and position of the car fans are following. You can even see the driver in the car live, which has never before been done. And, of course, if you get hungry, you can order popcorn and lemonade and have it delivered already paid for at your seat. We worked with many outside partners to integrate these software solutions to provide these custom-focused services. The point is, we are not sitting still. We have to drive continuous innovation.