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SUSE 2021 Predictions: Learning from 2020 - Digital Transformation and a More Intelligent Enterprise

vmblog 2021 prediction series 

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2021.  Read them in this 13th annual series exclusive.

Learning from 2020 - Digital Transformation and a More Intelligent Enterprise

By Brent Schroeder, Global CTO, SUSE, a global leader in true open source solutions

2020 was a trying year in all aspects of enterprise operations. The role technology plays in reshaping processes and outputs for businesses to survive proved to be more critical than ever before. Whether managing a remote workforce, shifting supply chain operations or streamlining cross-function communication and collaboration, businesses were forced to overhaul current strategies to ensure transformation became a mandatory priority and more importantly, how to leverage IT as the engine to achieve it.

While each industry faced its own unique set of challenges, it became clear that 2020 forever changed the way enterprises - both modern and traditional - operate. With the new year underway and businesses looking to implement new strategies, it is important to understand the impact that technology had on business operations so that today and tomorrow's enterprise leaders can leverage them in the future.


One of the most visible impacts we faced in 2020 was the notion of teleworking and deploying remote workforces to ensure employees could work safely from the confines of their home, without sacrificing productivity. Business leaders and IT departments were forced to rethink their strategies and deploy secure solutions that enabled employees to do their jobs without proximity to the server room. Cloud native and hybrid cloud solutions allowed companies to modernize traditional business operations, creating a more agile workforce without compromising productivity or efficiency.

Secure IT systems

Faced with the challenge to respond quickly, many companies did not have the right infrastructure or solutions in place. Cloud native and hybrid cloud solutions became critical for systems like network and communication tools to be readily available. Especially when looking at the Edge, devices and deployments are becoming ever more interconnected and are processing even more data -- making them more vulnerable and prone to attacks. As we look to the future, security will be of paramount consideration from hardware, networking and software infrastructure, to application and data security. DevOps is transforming into DevSecOps, automated compliance is becoming a necessity, and comprehensive software supply chains started to take a foothold outside of strongly regulated domains.

Accelerating a focused delivery

Enterprises were quick to learn that they could not rely on their "current" development and delivery solutions to solve problems in the urgent timeframes in which they were forced to operate last year. To condense the delivery time that it takes to test various integrations across monolithic solutions, many IT leaders utilized a ‘proof-of-concept' adoption strategy, such as AI-backed solutions, which allowed them to deliver new capabilities and solve problems in real time. While most IT leaders understand that adopting new technology is critical, smart IT leaders recognize that it can't be done through a monolithic leap and rather is done with a rapid, iterative approach. By taking a laser-focused approach on a specific problem you can understand the needs that you need solve and can be more effective than trying to tackle everything at once. When IT departments try to modernize too quickly with too many new solutions, the process becomes drawn out. Starting small and then rapidly iterating is the best way to effective scale your IT strategy.

The need to expand IT investment

With the rising need to be able to innovate from anywhere and deploy everywhere, without specific local presence, businesses sought to extend and expand IT investment as they realized just how critical business agility and resiliency gains became. Cloud native application models that utilized containers and Kubernetes and infrastructure that could be modernized to distributed-cloud scenarios were recognized as the necessary enabling tools to grow your business. In response to the demands brought on by the pandemic, industry suppliers also learned the growing need to simplify adoption and increase scalability of these technologies to accelerate and expand usage.

Developers are embracing opportunity

A notebook and Wi-Fi are all you need...if you are a developer. From a developers' perspective, COVID-19 demonstrated that containers, software packages that provide an entire runtime, will be the primary building blocks, connected via service meshes, and extended everywhere through Kubernetes orchestration and operations. This infrastructure gives developers more flexibility than ever before regarding where and when an application may be deployed.

Through the challenges of 2020, there were many silver linings that we can leverage in 2021. Not only will it continue to be critical to modernize your solutions, but also to understand the benefits of an agile IT infrastructure, so that these learnings can be applied to the future of enterprise operations. As businesses continue down the road of digital transformation, we will see accelerated adoption of cloud-based solutions that allow for greater flexibility in operations - increasing productivity while reducing costs.


About the Author

Brent Schroeder, CTO, SUSE

Brent Schroeder 

As SUSE CTO, Mr. Schroeder is responsible for shaping SUSE’s technology and portfolio strategy in support of emerging use cases in areas such as Hybrid Cloud, IoT and AI/ML. He drives the technology relationship with numerous industry partners, participates in open source communities as well as evangelizes the SUSE vision with customers, press and analysts.
Mr. Schroeder brings to SUSE 30 years of technology innovation and development experience in the IT industry. Prior to joining SUSE, with Dell’s Office of the CTO, he was responsible for software technology strategy covering hybrid cloud, systems management, virtualization and operating systems. Mr. Schroeder has also held various management and engineering roles with NCR, Compaq and HP.
Mr. Schroeder holds Bachelor’s degrees in Computer Science and Business Administration from Iowa State University.

Published Monday, January 25, 2021 7:40 AM by David Marshall
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