By Allan Tan
Uber has traditional businesses running for cover. While business disruption is not new, the world is now seeing a perfect storm of digital transformation and it threatens established players across all markets.
Drivers’ mobile phones send updates every 4 seconds as they move around. The company generates and manages large volumes of data, primarily to support its real-time dispatch system that matches drivers with riders using mobile phones. This powers real-time tracking of drivers in every city, accessing mapping and databases that span a huge global platform where its geospatial index handles a million writes per second, according to a recent media interview with Matt Ranney, the Chief Systems Architect at Uber. ( Source : DatacenterFrontier)
In an increasingly digitized world, enterprises are calling for a better approach to enabling them to respond and compete. Vendors like Huawei offer a new concept providing an inclusive approach that answers these calls by offering a platform to accelerate innovation through industry-wide collaboration.
Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is becoming a critical enabler of digital transformation – what is referred to as Business Driven ICT Infrastructure (BDII). It is evolving from isolated systems into integrated mission-critical production systems that support efficient production, operations, and decision-making.
At the same time, new ICT technologies are entering the fray. Cloud computing, Big Data, Internet of Things (IoT), Software-Defined Networking (SDN), and 4G/5G mobile broadband are changing the way we work, play, and do business forever.
“But new technologies alone will not be enough [for BDII],” said Catherine Du, Director, Marketing Department, Enterprise Business Group, Huawei. “We need a platform that is open, resilient, elastic, and secure, and one that makes it easier for developers to create applications easily, securely, and efficiently.”
Huawei calls this “Leading New ICT” – an open platform and ecosystem where developers can benefit by building their innovations using new ICT technologies.
The Connected Future Blueprint
From the onset, the concept looks at building networks, engaging customers, and offering integrated solutions.
Essentially, the Leading New ICT is built as a platform that is open, flexible, resilient, and secure to enable technological innovations, help cultivate talent, and forge business partnerships with its developer community with a developer-centric platform called “eSDK”. It will also give access to Huawei’s own embedded features in its solution portfolio.
The company is also committed to flexibility by offering products and solutions that are based on open ICT architectures and open-source software and provide industry-specific adaptation and enhancements, such as x86 servers, storage devices, FusionSphere. Meanwhile, support for OpenStack, Open Platform NFV (OPNFV), and cloud migration offer elasticity that is secured with hierarchical security protection.
Openness will remain the main focus of this global effort. Huawei points to the over 3,000 Open APIs available to application developers, the over 170 key positions in international standard organizations, and being a top contributor to 18 open source communities as emphasizing the company’s commitment to openness.
The open approach is already helping to solve real-world problems together with its partners. Using an open collaboration platform, the company recently worked closely with the Kenyan government and its major mobile service incumbent Safari.com to create a Safe City and reduce crime in Nairobi.
“The customer [Kenya Government] wanted to improve efficiency and collaboration between departments. So we provided an enhanced broadband trunking infrastructure that supports video, voice, and data so that everything can be seen and heard. They can then share onsite video in real time,” said Du, adding that the solution helped the government significantly reduce the number of security incidents and improve response times.
Partners star in Huawei’s Leading New ICT vision. In fact, the company sees building a partner ecosystem as crucial to the concept’s success.
Adhering to its “Being Integrated” strategy, Huawei has already made significant progress in building a partner ecosystem characterized by openness, collaboration, and shared success. By the end of 2015, the company had more than 8,000 channel partners and 350 solution partners worldwide.
Huawei has also adopted transparent and stable channel policies, and continues to provide strong support to its partners in the areas of training, joint solution innovation, marketing, finance, supply chain, and IT support systems. This has helped partners to upgrade their own capabilities and transform themselves for collaborative opportunities. Such efforts have helped Huawei tackle solutions at a larger scale, like building Safe Cities.
The eco-system is not just for partners. Huawei is combining its strengths with other solution partners and customers as well, such as Deutsche Telekom, Telefonica, SAP, Intel, and Accenture. Together, they are building an open ecosystem in the areas of cloud computing and Big Data.
A unique attribute of the company is its developer-centric ecosystem. The rationale for this approach is the recognition that digital enterprises want to respond to end user needs quickly. This will drive greater demand for end user applications. Huawei foresees a future where developers will become the closest partners to customers.
For this reason Huawei is allocating over one billion dollars in the next five years to set up open labs across the globe. “From the very beginning we wanted the strategy to be focused and integrated. When I say integrated, I mean that we like to cooperate with partners. We work with our partners closely because they know the end user requirements best,” said Du.
Supporting the upcoming Cloud-Pipe-Device
Huawei’s Leading New ICT ultimately acknowledges the need to support a new architecture blueprint that is becoming popular as more enterprises cloudify their architecture: Cloud-Pipe-Device Collaboration. This architecture facilitates the evolution of traditional enterprise IT architectures to cloud-native architectures.
Source: Huawei Enterprise Business Group
For Cloud-Pipe-Device Collaboration to work, enterprises need to break down the siloes that currently exist across departments and operations. Enterprises looking to undertake digital transformation are often straddled with siloed information systems. Many are discovering that their data silos are not working anymore. Du concedes that even internally in Huawei “we are undergoing digital transformation and see the need to work together [across departments].”
Accordingly, Leading New ICT supports Cloud-Pipe-Device Collaboration. This is especially important as enterprises eventually transform into digital entities.
“The future digital enterprise will have two major components; the first is a real-time data generation core. This core will be involved in real business processes. The other core will be data analysis core. These two cores will be key for every digital enterprise regardless of industry,” said Du.
With these two cores, enterprises become agile, able to respond faster to end user demands. Du noted that this is already occurring in China’s banking industries. Big banks under pressure from nimbler digital financial services offered by non-banks are disrupting the industry and are turning to developers to create innovative services for rapid provisioning.
The Leading New ICT platform will enable these developers to provide the desired services quickly to banks. Huawei sees this as the future of the industry.
In a blog post by Charlie Dai of Forrester, he commented that Huawei has holistic strategies for digital transformation. “Huawei’s broad vision of digital strategy — which focuses on cloud enablement and readiness, partner enablement, and open source co-creation — has helped the firm sustain strong business growth in the telco and enterprise markets,” he added.
When you consider the direction of enterprises towards a convergence of IT and communications, a holistic digital strategy requires an open architecture approach that amalgamates evolving technologies with the realities of modern business processes.
1) The Leading New ICT is the vision of Huawei in Enterprise Business. It relates to an open platform and ecosystem where developers can benefit by building their innovations using new ICT technologies.
2) This article is part of a four-part series. In the next article, we will see how Leading New ICT will impact the Financial Services Industry.