Equinix study highlights digital transformation drive for IT
Digital infrastructure leader Equinix has released its annual global study of IT decision-makers on the biggest tech trends affecting businesses. This year, unsurprisingly, the study focused on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on digital transformation.
Equinix surveyed 2,600 IT decision-makers across 26 countries in the Americas, Asia-Pacific and EMEA regions. When it comes to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the study says:
- 51% of businesses have rearchitected their IT infrastructure to meet new remote and hybrid working demands, with tech budgets increasing to accelerate digital transformation
- 66% of digital leaders in the UAE believe there will be long-term changes to working practices
- 75% of companies still intend to expand despite the disruption caused by COVID-19
More than half (55%) plan to move more business to the cloud because of the pandemic and 60% say they have accelerated their digital transformation strategies.
Digital transformation in the post-pandemic future
When it comes to investing in digital infrastructure, 56% said their budgets have been increased to meet digital demands.
There has also been an overhaul of IT strategies, with 68% saying they have revised their IT strategy while 68% also said they want to invest in technology to be more agile.
When it comes to their priorities, 94% of respondents in the UAE said digitising their IT infrastructure was a top priority – up 27% on last year.
“In this ultra-competitive and connected global economy, the demands placed on IT are growing rapidly, said Kamel Al-Tawil, Managing Director for Middle East and North Africa at Equinix.
“The success of a business is now determined by its ability to harness the benefits of digital transformation and ensure business continuity in this new operating environment.”
SAS: Improving the British Army’s decision making with data
SAS’ long-standing relationship with the British Army is built on mutual respect and grounded by a reciprocal understanding of each others’ capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses. Roderick Crawford, VP and Country GM for SAS UKI, states that the company’s thorough grasp of the defence sector makes it an ideal partner for the Army as it undergoes its own digital transformation.
“Major General Jon Cole told us that he wanted to enable better, faster decision-making in order to improve operational efficiency,” he explains. Therefore, SAS’ task was to help the British Army realise the “significant potential” of data through the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to automate tasks and conduct complex analysis.
In 2020, the Army invested in the SAS ‘Viya platform’ as an overture to embarking on its new digital roadmap. The goal was to deliver a new way of working that enabled agility, flexibility, faster deployment, and reduced risk and cost: “SAS put a commercial framework in place to free the Army of limits in terms of their access to our tech capabilities.”
Doing so was important not just in terms of facilitating faster innovation but also, in Crawford’s words, to “connect the unconnected.” This means structuring data in a simultaneously secure and accessible manner for all skill levels, from analysts to data engineers and military commanders. The result is that analytics and decision-making that drives innovation and increases collaboration.
Crawford also highlights the importance of the SAS platform’s open nature, “General Cole was very clear that the Army wanted a way to work with other data and analytics tools such as Python. We allow them to do that, but with improved governance and faster delivery capabilities.”
SAS realises that collaboration is at the heart of a strong partnership and has been closely developing a long-term roadmap with the Army. “Although we're separate organisations, we come together to work effectively as one,” says Crawford. “Companies usually find it very easy to partner with SAS because we're a very open, honest, and people-based business by nature.”
With digital technology itself changing with great regularity, it’s safe to imagine that SAS’ own relationship with the Army will become even closer and more diverse. As SAS assists it in enhancing its operational readiness and providing its commanders with a secure view of key data points, Crawford is certain that the company will have a continually valuable role to play.
“As warfare moves into what we might call ‘the grey-zone’, the need to understand, decide, and act on complex information streams and diverse sources has never been more important. AI, computer vision and natural language processing are technologies that we hope to exploit over the next three to five years in conjunction with the Army.”
Fundamentally, data analytics is a tool for gaining valuable insights and expediting the delivery of outcomes. The goal of the two parties’ partnership, concludes Crawford, will be to reach the point where both access to data and decision-making can be performed qualitatively and in real-time.
“SAS is absolutely delighted to have this relationship with the British Army, and across the MOD. It’s a great privilege to be part of the armed forces covenant.”