Carriers Enabling Enterprise Digital Transformation
The era of a digital economy driven by new technologies, such as cloud computing, Big Data, and the Internet of Things (IoT), is rapidly approaching. The powerful trend of digital transformation is sweeping across the world. Uber owns no vehicles, but it is the world’s largest taxi company. Uber changed the way people commute and has become the most popular taxi company. Adidas uses 3D scanning and printing technologies to customize running shoes in its European stores. By inserting sensor chips in each pair of shoes to collect data in real time, Adidas aims to continuously improve products in order to provide better services for their customers. This new digital era will reshape the global economic structure and business landscape, affecting all enterprises and industries. Enterprises can only choose to embrace these trends in order to deal with the new challenges brought by the transformation.
What is a digital enterprise? The interpretation varies in different industries. For example, the digital transformation of the retail industry focuses on the integration of online and offline services, uses Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to streamline product supply, warehousing, logistics, and sales phases, and provides personalized and customized services based on Big Data and consumer insight, thereby building a full-channel services mode. The digital transformation of the traditional financial industry is manifested by the digitalization of customer information, currency, products, marketing, and services. The goal is to build a smart digital financial operations platform that can widely interconnect with and be integrated into the operating scenarios of each industry’s ecosystem and meet customized requirements.
Although enterprises from different industries have various requirements on digital transformation, some common features can be found. The development strategies and operating modes of digital enterprises are customer-centric. Digital enterprises build a platform using digital technologies, such as cloud computing, Big Data, and the IoT, and establish new operating modes that can adapt to the Internetization and decentralization era, thereby driving the transformation and innovation of their businesses.
Figure 1: Enterprise digital platform model
The digital transformation of enterprises is unstoppable but not easy to carry out. Enterprises need to reconstruct their business, marketing, and service models to drive the reconstruction of internal management, R&D, operations, and production processes, thereby reconstructing the organization, culture, and operating concepts of enterprises. For traditional enterprises, digital transformation is doomed to be a journey full of thorns.
In the trend of enterprise digital transformation, the first challenge for the Chief Information Officer (CIO) and Chief Digital Officer (CDO) is how to build a digital platform using new digital technologies. First, the fragmented connection must be resolved. The digital platform cannot only realize the full connection between people and people, things and things, and people and things, but can also connect enterprise employees, customers, partners, suppliers, and the suppliers of suppliers, so as to break down information silos, allow for better data flow, and ensure the core data security of enterprises. Second, agile enterprise IT must be built using new technologies, such as cloud computing and Big Data, to meet the demands of digital enterprises for agile delivery and provide Real-time, On-demand, All-online, DIY, and Social (ROADS) experiences for customers, partners, and employees. Finally, a digital ecosystem that can cross industry boundaries for wide integration needs to be constructed to produce innovative business models.
According to International Data Corporation (IDC), by 2018, digital transformation will be the key strategy for 67 percent of the top 2,000 global enterprises. By end of 2017, over 50 percent of the enterprise IT budget will be spent on new technologies. According to Saugatuck Technology, by 2018, more than 60 percent of enterprises will migrate over half of their infrastructures to a cloud platform. Therefore, the cloud computing platform will become an ideal choice for enterprise digital platforms and will constitute the new-generation enterprise IT infrastructure.
In the wave of enterprise digital transformation, global telecom carriers that own global networks and communications infrastructures are bound to play an indispensable role. Among cloud service providers, telecom carriers have the most complete data centers and network resources distributed across the world, carry 80 percent of the global data traffic, and provide carrier-class security standards. With these advantages, the globally distributed public cloud services of carriers can enable the IT infrastructure (cloud computing) to be used on demand and expanded elastically like public services, such as water and electricity, providing enterprises with agile IT. Public cloud services also have the following advantages.
Carriers own network resources distributed globally. Based on the network resources and services provided by the cloud platform, such as Bandwidth-as-a-Service, Direct Connection, cloud Virtual Private Network (VPN), and Security-as-a-Service, enterprises can quickly construct a globalized network, connect customers, suppliers, distributors, transaction service providers, and industry partners in the digital ecosystem, and resolve the fragmented connection problem, allowing for rapid data collection and flow to provide real-time and online support for digital services.
With the development and application of IoT technologies, data will grow exponentially. By 2020, it is estimated that over 200 billion sensors will be distributed on about 30 billion terminals. Over 25 exabytes of data will be generated per month. However, the existing 3G and 4G networks cannot support such massive amounts of data. Carriers need to deploy 5G or higher transmission rate channels to provide ultra-wide data pipes to support digital transformation. In addition, with the IoT technology, carriers construct the IoT platform based on the cloud platform. The IoT platform provides connection, data collection, network transmission, data storage, and data analysis to help enterprises fully connect people and people, things with things, and people and things, as well as integrate and share enterprise data, thereby quickly creating value and providing power for digital transformation.
The digital transformation of enterprises evolves data from distributed storage to centralized sharing, and resources from physical servers to distributed Virtual Machines (VMs). Data will become the core asset of enterprises, and data security will become the toughest task for enterprise CIOs. Remote access to a large number of Internet terminals blurs the security boundary and increases the risk of data leakage and unauthorized access. How can the digital core ‘data’ assets be totally secure? Throughout the development history of global networks, carriers could provide the global connection services with the highest security level only when they strictly conformed to the security regulations of each country and built commercial communications networks with carrier-class security standards. The cloud services constructed by carriers with the carrier-class security standards can comply with local laws and regulations, meet requirements of data compliance, and safeguard digital transformation.
The digital transformation of enterprises has high requirements on the infrastructure, Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), and network services, and requires end-to-end digital transformation solutions to reconstruct the digital ecosystem. Carriers own mature enterprise service hosting and IT Outsourcing (ITO) service capabilities, serve many large-scale enterprise customers, and have experience in providing ITO services for large-scale enterprises. Carriers evolve with the enterprise digital transformation. Original enterprise services, such as Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), and collaboration and video conferencing, are gradually migrated to the cloud platform. In addition, carriers accelerate the cooperation with industry solution providers, Independent Software Vendors (ISVs), and System Integrators (SIs). With the advantage of localized services and ecosystems, carriers build end-to-end industry solutions and cloud-based implementation capabilities.
In addition, when moving to the cloud, carriers require both cloud services and professional localized services. Carriers provide professional strategic planning and consultation for the cloudification of the IT infrastructure. On one hand, carriers help enterprises migrate traditional services to the cloud. On the other hand, carriers help enterprises cultivate the ability to develop and deploy innovative applications based on Cloud Native. The localization capability of carriers can help enterprises break down technical barriers, quickly construct cloud-based, new-generation digital platforms, and enable enterprise digital transformation.
Faced with the opportunities for enterprise digital transformation, Huawei strengthened its strategic partnerships with carriers at Huawei Connect 2016 and aims to make joint efforts to establish a fully connected society and realize digitalization in all industries. The digital transformation trend is also a transformation opportunity for the telecom industry. The cooperation between Huawei and carriers can make up for the shortage of carriers in ICT developments and research capabilities, improve end-to-end solution proficiencies for the whole industry, and help them support enterprise digital transformation.
Huawei builds an open cloud-pipe-device collaborative platform that is resilient, flexible, and secure, and will make all efforts to provide comprehensive support for telecom carriers in 5G, cloud computing, the IoT, Big Data, and video technologies. For cloud computing, Huawei supplies strong R&D and service delivery capabilities. With its cloud computing platform based on the advanced OpenStack architecture and integrating Huawei’s technology advantages, such as server, storage, and network, which ensure the openness of the platform and provide business-level service assurance for Huawei and carriers. In terms of the IoT, Huawei provides carriers with complete IoT solutions from the protocol layer to the transport layer, and then to the platform layer. Huawei has cooperated with companies, such as agricultural equipment and elevator manufacturers HOLMER and the Schindler Group, respectively, to develop customer services based on the IoT technology. Huawei provides Big Data and video technologies for users of PaaS services on cloud computing platforms to help enterprise digital transformation.
In addition, Huawei offers industry-leading ICT innovations and has rich experience in providing industry-oriented, end-to-end digital solutions as well as building industry ecosystems for government, electricity, energy, finance, education, retail, and public security sectors. By partnering with carriers, Huawei integrates its enterprise-oriented ecosystem and solutions with carriers’ service capabilities and localized ecosystems, creating comprehensive solutions and capabilities toward enterprise digital transformation. Currently, Huawei cooperates with carriers in multiple industries. In Europe, Huawei works with carriers and vendors of software, such as Computer-Aided Design (CAD), Computer-Aided Engineering (CAE), and ERP in the automobile industry, to create end-to-end digital solutions for automobile manufacturing based on the cloud platform. Huawei joins hands with carriers to create industry digital transformation cloud solutions, helping enterprise digital transformation.
Furthermore, Huawei will cooperate with world-renowned carriers and partners to establish an open and win-win digital ecosystem, covering the infrastructure, digital platform, and end-to-end solutions. Huawei hopes that it can play a positive role in the ecosystem and develop together with partners.
We believe that the cloud platform built by Huawei and leading global carriers is sure to boost the enterprise digital transformation of various industries.