The Need For Speed – Why Smarter Architecture Is The Solution To Business Agility

By Catherine Lian, Managing Director, IBM Malaysia

Being digital or not is no longer an option – it is a given. Where business leaders need to put their focus is how fast they want their business to realise the value of new innovations, of new digital investments. It’s about being able to do digital at speed.

‘Gradual’ and ‘steady’ are fading fast from digital transformation rhetoric. Speed has become the crucial factor to business performance, the dividing line between businesses that thrive, and those who fall behind.

It wears many hats in conversations with enterprise leaders in today’s digital businesses, with three types of speed. The first relates to the pace of software delivery; the second is the critical lead time a new product takes to reach the market and generate revenue; the third, and particular relevant in the past year, is associated with agility –  adapting and delivering in response to changing customer expectations powered by data-driven capabilities.

Keeping one step ahead of your competitors is becoming increasingly challenging for incumbent plays in the country which is why these types of speed are so important. SMART Modular Technologies (SMART), a global leader of speciality memory and storage solutions manufacturing in Malaysia, collaborates with IBM to deploy IBM Maximo Visual Inspection integrated with AI-powered collaborative robots (COBOTS) to develop innovative manufacturing solutions.

SMART’s memory components are embedded in systems that face some of the most demanding physical conditions from military and aviation to outer space applications where extreme quality is a truly critical performance benchmark. SMART’s inspectors examine memory chips under a microscope for defects such as cracked solder joints, damaged components, or any other kinds of defects in a traditional manufacturing process environment.

With the new set of intelligent eyes and automation, IBM Maximo Visual Inspection helps to identify and isolate defective semi-conductor components before they ripple into the next stage of processing, bringing quality control automation to SMART’s manufacturing process. This highly digitized manufacturing operation is instrumental in enabling SMART to be highly productive, boost efficiency, product quality and will help increase its production yield by 10%, while increasing overall production throughput by 20%.

It’s clear that enterprises which have invested in technology are still experiencing barriers to digital transformation. How? Often this can be traced back to the foundations of their technology architecture choices and digital practices.

Breaking down the barriers with a fourth type of speed

What we now see emerging is a complementary fourth type of speed called ‘the speed of smarter architecture’- new because the technologies that make it possible area new. The key enabling technology in this case is Cloud, in particular a Hybrid Cloud approach. This allows enterprises the flexibility to balance the need to keep some business-critical workloads on-premise or in a private cloud while also taking advantage of the speed and flexibility of the public cloud.

Using hybrid cloud technologies and some related business technology (digital) practices, this fourth type of speed improves speed relating to software, output and business agility and makes new digital strategies possible. For example, building customer platforms and improving customer lifetime value sooner and with less execution risk. Developers can freely experiment and innovate with new ideas that can get to market faster without typical bureaucracy processes.

This means having the ability to run software reliably when moved from one computing environment to the another. It requires an architecture that enables workloads to run in any environment—physical, virtual, and all clouds, both public and private.

However, many incumbent organisations recognise the full potential to leveraging cloud technology but may experience delay with their transformation journey due to legacy architecture, a disadvantage that’s particularly amplified when compared to their cloud-native competitors.  It’s where hybrid cloud demonstrates clear value in resolving barriers to traditional IT infrastructure and allowing enterprises to fully thrive.

Moving from silos to flows through hybrid cloud

A hybrid cloud approach delivers up to two and a half more value than a traditional cloud strategy. One of the value sources is business acceleration, allowing the enterprise to operate in and across multiple clouds consistently and with less complexity rather than the traditional vertical models that kept clouds (and providers) siloed.

The hybrid platform, made possible through a horizontal operating model, accelerates the pace of productivity and supports seamless collaboration for businesses within a larger ecosystem, which can help flourish partnerships, services or solutions that serve customers.

The opportunity ahead

There’s an opportunity for business leaders to cultivate a culture that embraces speed, agility and responding at pace, not just within their technology teams but extending throughout the enterprise.

Tapping into the next level of speed and digital business performance will see decision-making power and influence to the edge of the enterprise, where customers and ecosystems live, platforms are being built and where businesses can unleash their full potential.

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