Wow, what a couple weeks! If you've noticed I haven't been writing as frequently, it's because I made one heck of a trip out to Dell EMC World where Mark Schaefer and I had the honor of interviewing the leadership across Dell Technology companies for their Luminaries podcast. To put this conference into perspective, I walked 4.8 miles the first day and averaged 3 miles every day after… and that was with taking constant rests and finding corners to get some work done. I could have walked twice that distance and still missed great content and presentations.
While the conference was focused on technology, it's imperative that marketing technologists recognize what's coming on the information technology horizon. Companies are already relying on technology in virtually every aspect of their business – and the future brings with it the ability to transform every other aspect.
Transforming your IT begins with adjusting your organization’s approach to infrastructure. IT should be thought of as a driving force for achieving business goals, not maintenance and keeping the lights on. A modern data center is designed for accelerating results.
In other words, we're all becoming technology companies. And those companies who are modernizing their platforms, hiring the right workforce, and ensuring security are core are realizing exceptional savings that are opening up budgets that are launching their products and services. Here are some of the terms you should begin to understand and think about how they're going to change your company and your customers' expectations in the near future:
- Convergence – converged infrastructure (CI) brings together the core aspects of a data center – computing, storage, networking, and virtualization. No more individual configurations, just a platform that's easily scaled with expected performance results.
- Hyper-convergence – tightly integrates the four aspects, reducing the need for expertise and integration and significantly reducing the risk of errors or downtime.
- Virtualization – While virtualized systems have been around for two decades, the ability for virtualization across systems is already here. Companies are already developing in local or staged virtual environments that are moved into production when needed. Virtualization software will require less and fewer configurations and become more and more intelligent as it monitors and reacts to demands.
- Persistent Memory – modern computing depends on both hard storage as well as memory, with computations moving data back and forth. Persistent memory transforms computing by maintaining storage in memory where it can be computed. Server operating systems will be optimized realizing double to ten times the speed of yesterday's servers.
- Cloud Computing – We often look at the cloud as something specific to our software, our storage, or our backup systems located across data centers. However, the cloud of the future can be intelligent and incorporate in-house, off-short, or production clouds everywhere.
- Artificial Intelligence – while marketers understand AI as the ability for software to think and produce its own software. While that sounds scary, it's truly exciting. AI will provide the opportunity for IT infrastructures to scale, reduce costs, and correct issues without intervention.
- Natural Language Processing – companies like Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Siri are advancing NLP and the ability for systems to react and respond to simple commands. But moving forward, these systems will transform and respond as intelligently (or maybe even better) than humans do.
- Utility Computing – when you plug into an outlet, you don't think about the demand, the grid, the amperage, or the backups necessary to ensure power to your device. This is the direction of our mobile devices, our laptops, and our server infrastructure. In many ways, we're there already but it's becoming more of a reality.
- Mixed Reality – the computing power we're discussing here continues to scale beyond anything we ever imagined, enabling us to overlay an augmented world onto our real one. It won't be too far from now before we interact with our world beyond the iPhone or Google Glasses, and have embeddable implants that integrate our real world with the information we accumulate to enhance every life.
- Internet of Things – with costs plummeting, hardware shrinking, bandwidth expanding, and computing becoming a utility, IoT is growing consistently. As we spoke to experts at Dell Technologies, we learned about IoT efforts in healthcare, agriculture, and virtually every other aspect of our existence.
One example that was described was the use of IoT and agriculture where milk production cows were implanted with devices monitoring their food intake and nutrition in order to enhance the coagulation necessary for cheese production. This is the level of innovation and efficiency that we're discussing with these technologies. Wow!
It's not just any one of these technologies that are driving us forward, it's combinations of all of rapidly going to market. We're seeing an acceleration in technology we haven't seen since the launch of the Internet and eCommerce. And, as with those evolutions, we're going to watch as many companies grab market share through adoption while many others get left behind. Customers are going to adopt, adapt, and expect that your company is fully invested in technology to assist their experience with your brand.
Every company will be a technology company.
Disclosure: I was paid by Dell to attend Dell EMC World and work on the Luminaries podcasts. However, they didn't help write this post so it may mean that my descriptions are a bit off. I love technology, but it doesn't mean even I thoroughly understand every aspect of it!