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Shaping the workplace of the future

Businesses must cater for the data demands of mobile, social and the IoT without disrupting day-to-day operations or security...

Some 200 billion tweets are created every year. Annual email volumes are expected to grown from 3.9 billion accounts in 2013 to 4.9 billion by the end of 2017, according to the Radicati Group. Facebook just hit the one billion-user milestone.

All of these statistics have a common theme: They potentially represent a massive business and IT headache and opportunity.

The majority (some 90 per cent) of the data in existence today, was created in just the last two years, according to IBM. Add that fact to the growing volume of data generated by mobile devices there are now more mobile phones than people in the world  - and the IoT and it's clear the world has gone data mad.

The want it now' culture 

The situation is certain to increase as next-generation workers expect the same levels of access and immediacy to information and tools in the workplace as they do at home. They don't just want that data yesterday, they increasingly want to interact with intelligent systems that have anticipated what they might need before they even know themselves.

Consumers are already turning to the cloud to help them manage their busy personal lives on the go and many businesses, too, have woken up to cloud's potential to help cope with the data deluge. 

But simply throwing everything into the cloud and hoping for the best is not, never has been nor never will be, a solid or successful business strategy.

How then, can enterprises ensure they're taking advantage of cloud to create an agile, flexible and secure workplace of the future figure? 

"Business leaders are going through one of the most profound changes in the industry, brought on by the need to rapidly transform their business operations in today's digital revolution," said Robert LeBlanc, Senior Vice President, IBM Cloud.

Predictions as to the size of our data addiction vary wildly, but one thing is certain and that's the fact we will need somewhere to store it all. IDC has suggested that 80 per cent of new cloud applications will be Big Data-intensive.

Fuelling innovation through innovation

IBM has responded to this challenge with a series of new innovations in addition to a multi-billion dollar investment in global cloud centres designed to help organisations maximise business value, but minimise risk in this new, data-driven and uber-connected world.

IBM's Bluemix development platform and the 2013 acquisition of SoftLayer play a key and continued role in anticipating and proactively addressing changing market and customer requirements.

At the company's 2015 InterConnect conference, a number of announcements were made that feed into this cloud vision to help organisations unleash the benefits afforded by hybrid cloud which is expected to be the dominant model for enterprises in the future.  They are all based on the principles of using open standards to boost developer productivity and further drive business value.

These include: 

  • IBM Enterprise Containers These help developers more quickly and easily create apps that have enterprise-level control, security and visibility via native Linux containers and Docker APIs. These also allow cloud-created development efforts whether due to size or security can't remain there - to be ported to on-premise systems.
  • IBM DataWorks An intuitive way to find, refine, enrich and deliver data in a trusted manner so that developers can take advantage of public and private data sets for enterprise cloud benefit.
  • Collaborative Operations To enable businesses to better view and control their own customers' hybrid environments.
  • Orchestration-as-a-Service The largest federated orchestration library in the industry, which enables management of hybrid environments.
  • Enhanced security features to protect the applications and data that matter to businesses most.
  • Developer productivity tools These include a Secure Passport Gateway, which offers secure, self-service data and service connections to Bluemix; API Harmony, which matches APIs and makes it much easier to expose and manage them; Bluemix Local, which provides borderless management and visibility to extend Bluemix into an organisation's datacentre; The Watson Zone, which unites APIs, training resources, sample code and use cases to help shape the next-generation of intelligent hybrid cloud apps.

"Today, we have a new class of hybrid cloud innovations that extend open standards capabilities for the enterprise. This will help break down the barriers between clouds and on premise IT systems, providing clients with control, visibility and security as they utilise the public and private clouds," said Robert LeBlanc, senior vice president, IBM Cloud.

"Data location across an ever growing number of clouds is an increasing concern for customers and we are unveiling new portability and developer services to make this easier to manage."

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