Niclas Sanfridsson explains how hyperscale will facilitate a new era of business after the pandemic.
When the pandemic and its resulting disruptions started to take hold in March, it’s no secret that many businesses were left reeling. Most businesses simply weren’t prepared for the types of disruption that COVID-19 caused, much less the magnitude.
The sad truth, as we are seeing now, is that some businesses have not and will not survive this period. In June alone, an estimated 76,300 small and medium-sized London businesses were forced to shut their doors for good. Looking across the globe, the number will be far higher.
For businesses that have managed to navigate their way through the disruptions, the recovery process must begin now. Valuable lessons have been learnt along the way. Businesses must be prepared to rip up the old rule book and embark on a new era of business; one defined by innovation, scalability and resilience.
Facilitating this transition will be one of the only industries that not only managed the disruptions but continued to grow through them – hyperscale.
As is increasingly becoming the case, data will be at the very heart of this evolution and, as the amount of data continues to grow, so too must the infrastructure that stores, shares and manages it.
Hyperscale data centres, which deal in the petabytes of data storage rather than the terabytes, have been tailor-made for this exact moment. Companies that leverage the capabilities of hyperscale stand the best chance of succeeding in the new era of business.
A harsh lesson
When the first case of COVID-19 was announced in December 2019, nobody could have envisaged the level of disruption it would cause. Between social distancing rules and lockdown measures, business as ‘normal’ became all but impossible.
These disruptions have provided businesses with a tough lesson: what was once considered ‘normal’ is no longer good enough. The rigid business models of the past will not survive in a world where disruptions are becoming part of everyday life. Today the key disruption is COVID-19, but tomorrow it could be Brexit or climate change.
Businesses that have not been able to bend over the last six months have either broken or come very close to breaking point. This has been the case for even some of the most established businesses, such as Debenhams, Cath Kidston and Pizza Express: all once staple names of the high-street, now forced to shut down stores.
Businesses that have the opportunity to move forward must heed the lessons of the last six months. If they are to stand the test of time in this increasingly volatile world, a flexible business model will be essential.
Scalability for sustainability
One area where flexibility can be a game-changer is within data. In today’s business world, the amount of data companies are sitting on is constantly growing and, as a result, so is the cost of storing it. Therefore, when businesses find themselves in a period of economic depression, as the UK is in now, data can quickly turn from being their best friend to their worst enemy.
To avoid this Catch-22, businesses must ensure that scalability is at the heart of everything they do. Often, when people talk about scalability, the rhetoric is always about growth and expansion. However, a vital, yet often overlooked, aspect of scalability is the opportunity to scale down when possible. In the immediate, for businesses looking to protect themselves in their recovery process, this will be invaluable.
With this level of scalability, businesses can operate like an elastic band, expanding or retracting when necessary and at a moment’s notice. For example, take a retailer over a peak-sale season such as Christmas, where demand will spike hugely. Retailers will have to scale up their operations in order to cope with the demand and fulfil orders.
Meanwhile, when demand comes down in January, it will be beneficial for retailers to scale down and reduce costs until demand rises again.
Extending the elastic limit
For businesses looking to achieve this level of scalability, hyperscale is the only way forward.
It is no secret that businesses have been looking towards cloud adoption for a long time now. However, the pandemic has accelerated this process for many businesses and, for those who hadn’t started the journey, they were forced to start on that path to achieve business continuity.
Hyperscale amplifies all the benefits that cloud provides. The sheer size of the data centres allows for large-scale cloud adoption, which is more streamlined, flexible and cost-effective than ever before. This will help businesses to get a better handle on their data and reduce costs as much as possible.
Hyperscale will also help businesses to future-proof their operations, which has become a key consideration as they look to recover from the shock waves of COVID-19. By having the level of flexibility that hyperscale provides, businesses will always have the option of lean or expansive.
Being able to adjust quickly within the hyperscale environment, with no added costs, makes business more resilient and flexible to disruptions. Otherwise, if they want to scale down their operations to reduce costs, it would take modifying their cloud infrastructures, which is extremely costly and time consuming. With the world constantly moving at such pace, this is no longer a viable option.
While cutting costs will be a priority as businesses contend with the global recession, it’s important that they look beyond this and towards innovation. Technologies such as AI and machine learning, which are becoming increasingly imperative to business processes, can be implemented at huge scale across the entirety of a business.
This will accelerate the process of automation that businesses are undergoing, in turn creating a more efficient business model where humans are empowered by technology to make the best decisions possible.
There is no getting away from the fact that COVID-19 has caused businesses huge levels of disruption over the last six months. However, the issues it unearthed already existed and needed to be addressed by businesses. Therefore, businesses must take this as an opportunity to rethink and improve their business models.
Flexibility, scalability and cost efficiency must be top priorities in this new era of business. This is a trinity of success which hyperscale can provide.
Niclas Sanfridsson is CEO of Colt DCS.
Main image courtesy of iStockPhoto.com