The recent COVID-19 pandemic has not only driven the world into unprecedented times, but also economic uncertainty. Many enterprises are grappling with how to ensure business continuity, at a time where supply chains, customer demand and interactions, and basic business functions have all been disrupted.
As we continue to experience the economic aftereffects of this pandemic for months to come, an important lesson to learn, from even past crises, is that businesses that continue to innovate despite difficult times are most likely to succeed when the crisis passes.
In fact, in such challenging times, enterprises should continue to think of how to deliver their digital transformation to remain relevant in the business. Open source, which has always been in the center of digital transformation, can help businesses continue to innovate, with greater flexibility and cost efficiency and market agility in mind. While digital transformations are a necessity today, there are key challenges enterprises should bear in mind and recommendations they should consider when carrying out the digital journey:
Adapting to changing customer interactions and experiences: Prior to this pandemic, while digital interactions with customers were on the rise, physical interactions were still a norm. Today, with social restrictions in place, customer interactions have catapulted to become only digital, putting even more pressure on enterprises to ensure customer stickiness during this difficult time. Even in times like this, customers continue to demand how they experience a product. They look for customization, choice and flexibility.
Using technologies like open source helps enterprises accelerate their IT environment because of the innovation that comes through a huge open source community, where ideas are abundant and people come together to solve problems collectively and to drive the industry forward. Moreover, the associated cost savings and flexibility to respond to market conditions are faster without being tied to any vendor’s proprietary solution that locks you in with substantial costs, limits your choice of innovation and market agility.
Accelerating cloud adoption: As the world is now working remotely, CTOs and CIOs need to focus, to ensure that the business runs as smoothly as possible. They need to pay particular attention to critical functions, while supporting employees with rapid, secure and unrestricted access to documents, information and applications remotely. Enterprises are quickly realizing the importance of having a cloud-based strategy in place.
As enterprises make these decisions to adopt cloud environments – private, public, hybrid or multi-cloud, they must consider how they are going to manage their IT workloads. Cloud-native technologies are recognized for their purpose for addressing speed, efficiency and support for applications and services distributed across different cloud environments.
Containers and Kubernetes, for example, can benefit enterprises in accelerating, developing and deploying as well as scaling applications faster and more cost effectively thereby creating greater revenue growth and better customer experience for companies. As open source platforms, they enable enterprises to quickly evolve with business needs and become more adaptable to the IT stack that is currently in place or to future plans.
Uncovering insights using data: Enterprises are generating large amounts of structured and unstructured data every day, even in today’s economic uncertainties. Using a siloed approach to manage large amounts of data is no longer effective. Enterprises need to uncover and extract insights to make meaningful interpretations from these massive data sets that are spread across repositories allowing them to take data-driven decisions and create a customer-centric strategy.
IT infrastructure should be equipped with enterprise storage solutions that can support large quantities of data from various sources and allows enterprises to integrate, secure and manage data effectively. Modern software defined storage such as open source Ceph-storage is an ideal option that gives you not only the flexibility to scale based on your business requirement but also cost-effectively address the exponential growth of data your organization may face.
This is even more essential when enterprises leverage artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to harness data. Aside from scientific research institutions, businesses in banking, healthcare, utilities, and manufacturing sectors are recognizing the importance of supporting the analytics applications of the future, and are turning data into business values by adopting high performance computing (HPC) environment running on Linux open source.
Addressing ongoing cyber threats: Cyber threats are risks enterprises face today as businesses adopt new technologies for digitalization, which can amount to reputational damage or even unimaginable financial losses. Enterprises need to ensure IT security policies are well designed and incorporated comprehensively into their digital transformation strategy and implement them as early as possible during the software development lifecycle.
When you invest in open source software to help drive your enterprise digital investments, you should be looking at enterprise-grade open source solutions which have been vigorously tested, tuned, examined for security flaws and hardened before they are released as “enterprise-ready” to you.
Embracing an open culture: When open source is introduced in the organization, businesses should also nurture an open culture and try to break down organization silos.
Enterprises should encourage free flow of ideas and contributions among the developers, allowing them to work on projects that are going to positively impact the business. By keeping a collaborative and creative environment that enables everyone to continuously improve, enterprises will then be able to rapidly produce great innovations and thrive in any market conditions.
— Rajarshi Bhattacharyya, SUSE India country manager