The technology industry is made up of just 26% women, compared to a nearly equal split at 49% across the total workforce. Most notably, that number hasn’t done much besides decrease over the past 30 years, hovering around the same percentage and dipping slightly in recent years.

But the lack of women in tech is a deeper issue that stems all the way back to childhood — with gender stereotypes that have historically, and inaccurately, suggested that women and girls are less skilled at math, science, and technology. Unfortunately, that persistent bias has grown into a self-fulfilling prophecy over the years, creating a systemic issue where girls and women aren’t well represented in STEM, and therefore don’t feel empowered or encouraged to pursue it as a career path.

“For a certain period of time in your life when you’re in middle school, your interest in STEM as a girl or as a non-binary learner can be impacted by the lack of representation that you see. You can have a spark, or you can have an interest, but if you don’t see yourself represented, you will not necessarily start taking those courses for high school, which will in fact impact your ability to participate in post-secondary, which will impact your ability to get a career in STEM later in your life,” says Rebecca Hazell, interim executive director of Hackergal.

To close the gender gap for women in STEM careers, girls need to be encouraged to maintain an interest in STEM during elementary, middle, and high school. And that’s the core of Hackergal’s mission — to create opportunities for young girls to engage with STEM education and to consider STEM careers as a potential option.

Fostering the talent pipeline in middle school

Hackergal works with middle school and high school aged girls, as well as nonbinary students, directly through educators and school districts. Learners connect with Hackergal through classrooms, community centers, homeschooling programs, summer school, hackathon events, and coding clubs across Canada. And each year, Hackergal hosts a hackathon event at the end of the school year for kids participating in coding clubs.

The hackathons and coding clubs are targeted at grades six to nine, while the Hackergal Ambassador program is a highly competitive program for high schoolers who have aged out of Hackergal’s middle school coding and hackathon programs.

Hackergal uses a “teach the teacher” model, in which Hackergal connects with teachers, school boards, and school districts across Canada to directly train educators and provide them with information on the Hackergal Hub, Hazell says. The Hub enables teachers to bring a full coding curriculum to students that they can easily integrate into their lesson plans.

“Whether [kids learn] during classroom time, or it’s an extracurricular, they create that safe space where the girls can learn, make mistakes, and raise their hand with confidence and feel comfortable with that,” says Hazell, who adds that a lot of educators express nervousness about implementing a coding club, especially when they have no experience with coding themselves. But Hackergal’s approach aims to empower any educator to expanding their students’ access to coding education, regardless of the teacher’s own programming experience.

Utilizing a platform called Lynx, which originated in Canada and is developed in English and French, Hackergal provides educational programming across the country for students and teachers. The team at Hackergal has been intentional about making its curriculum available to students and teachers in any situation — whether they’re homeschooled or reside in rural areas of Canada, and regardless of language.

“We know that there are certain populations who need our programming a lot and they need the support. They need the community, they need the connection, and the competence-building for their youth. And we’re more than happy to keep growing our program in the interest of serving them better,” says Hazell.

Empowering a future generation of workers

Hackergal’s current generation of learners is highly motivated to have a social impact in their work, says Hazell, adding that this is reflected in each year’s hackathon theme. Last year’s participants, for example, worked around the theme “coding together for our planet,” with a focus on sustainability and environmental issues, such as addressing pollution or developing innovative energy solutions.

“We are very connected to social impact as an organization. It guides everything that we do,” Hazell says. “Research shows that girls specifically are more connected to tech and STEM learning if there is a social impact that’s aligned with that.”

Encouraging students’ passions about social progress is part of Hackergal’s commitment, given that as a generation Hackergal learners will face “some of the biggest problems that this world has ever encountered” and will be among those responsible for finding solutions, Hazell says.

“The people who are using these skills that we’re training them on now are going to have careers that are directly involved in coming up with solutions, and trying to innovate, to make sure our planet is okay,” she adds.

The program also helps its learners establish impressive resumes right out of high school, with some Hackergal students starting up companies by grade 11. That motivation and commitment will help them to become top talent for organizations in the future.

“They’re very motivated in that respect, the teenagers who are in our program, and they have a lot to offer and see the bigger picture. They’re thinking about what they can do and how it will impact the world going forward and what they can do to positively impact the world,” says Hazell.

Getting involved

For companies that want to work with Hackergal, it’s something of a “boutique” experience, says Laurel Maule, development manager at Hackergal. Because the organizations doesn’t have a home-base for students or a main operation center where companies can donate time or resources, corporate sponsors and donors typically work directly with Hackergal to support the organization’s specific needs.

As more organizations focus on DEI, they’re turning to organizations like Hackergal to help solve the talent pipeline as early as possible. For these organizations, it’s can also be an early branding opportunity, as they can put their company name in front of the future workforce.

Maule says that organizations often reach out to ask how they can help expand the talent pipeline. Beyond financial donations, some volunteer an IT executive to speak at a hackathon or coding event, or to write a blog or record a video that might inspire the young learners. Or they might invite ambassador students to do a specialized coding camp at their offices or offer mentorship and advice to older students who are thinking about their careers.

For the learners, it’s an opportunity to start fostering a network early on. They’ll have experiences with a variety of organizations, professional connections throughout the industry, and unique guidance from technology leaders, all before they graduate high school.

“The sky’s kind of the limit on how CIOs want to be engaged and how companies and employees want to be engaged. Each partnership, organization, or company that we work with, brings its own special set of skills. We work closely with them to figure out how we can utilize and build that long-term partnership to support these girls throughout their learning process,” says Maule.

A sustainable support model

By keeping resources low, and by working with government funding and directly with school districts and boards, Hackergal has been able to maintain a free program that enables students to learn, no matter their circumstances.

“We work in a way that doesn’t draw down too much on our resources and allows us to have that creativity and that programming. And we are interested in growing and learning from what we do and trying to challenge ourselves to be as innovative as the kids need us to be, because that’s what we’re trying to share with them. We want to make sure that we’re providing the kind of programming that challenges, that keeps them excited,” says Hazell.

And those efforts are working, as girls are gaining confidence through the program. According to a survey of the latest hackathon’s participants, 97% said they felt more confident in their coding and digital skills after the hackathon, 96% said they were more interested in writing code, and 100% say they felt more knowledgeable.

“You really can’t get better statistics in that sense, especially from a survey that you put out to kids that age group. It was fantastic to see that feedback, and I think we’re going to keep trying to meet that high satisfaction rate amongst our learners,” says Hazell.

Future of Hackergal

For the future, Hackergal is working on developing a full mentorship program for investors that will involve “more interactive, longer-term mentorship programs,” to further support students, says Hazell.

The organization also seeks to continue offering the program for free, as many of the students who need this programming the most are the ones who can’t afford it, or who don’t have access to it, making equitable access a key to Hackergal’s mission.

“I don’t think that we could say with conviction that we were serving those who need us most if we were charging for the resources that we are delivering,” says Hazell.

Hackergal is also working to increase sponsorship opportunities. Last year, for the first time, Hackergal launched a scholarship program, awarding two ambassadors who had graduated from the adult program a $5,000 scholarship for tuition or other expenses, generously provided by Royal Bank of Canada.

Organizations seeking to build their own talent pipeline through coding and STEM camps are also looking to Hackergal for advice on how to start, and how to continue that support beyond just one or two events.

“I hear from some of our speakers, and they always say without fail, ‘I wish this program had been around when I was younger,’” says Hazell. Even if girls don’t end up in tech careers, the key is “feeling encouraged to try something that’s maybe a little bit scary or challenging,” and finding that motivation to “push through barriers and to keep going, feeling supported by a community,” says Hazell.

“Being able to partner with Hackergal — it’s kind of like you’re doing it for your younger self, especially if you’re a woman in leadership in tech,” Hazell says. “Partnering with Hackergal allows them to fulfill that wish or that deep-seated feeling of wanting to connect with that kid. And seeing that excitement, and some of the photos we have from our experiences, really makes me emotional because you see these kids, and they’re so excited to be a part of that community and that energy is special and it can have a bigger impact.”

Diversity and Inclusion

In the face of structural change and rampant crises, the world—and the technologies reshaping it—is experiencing a drastic shift. Even the very nature of disruption is evolving, with challenges such as talent gaps and inflationary pressures frequently demanding our immediate attention. To outpace these events, CIOs need to leverage resilience capabilities as a competitive advantage. Seizing opportunities to differentiate the business through financial, supply chain, the business ecosystem, and sustainability can help them thrive in this new digital era.

With this outlook, some may expect IT spending to shrink drastically. Yet this hasn’t seemed to be the case. On the contrary, spending on digital technology is set to grow by 3.5 times the economy in 2023. It’s clear that more organisations are looking to establish a foundation for operational excellence, competitive differentiation, and long-term growth.

A handful of businesses are already doing so as they transition from just adopting digital transformation to embodying what it means to be a digital business. Whereas digital transformation in its earliest iteration—digital transformation 1.0—focuses on driving mobility and tapping on the then-nascent Internet of Things, the subsequent phase prominently features technology such as artificial intelligence and machine learning and ways to extend their use across every aspect of the business.

Digital businesses are the next step in this evolution; they are staunchly digital-first and are hyper-focused on delivering business value and outcomes through digital innovation. This will become a crucial transition for businesses. After all, 40% of total revenue for Global 2000 organisations will be generated by digital products, services, and experiences by 2026.

Understanding the successes of past IDC Future Enterprise Awards winners

Amidst the disruptive forces in the business landscape, forward-looking digital businesses are leveraging digital technologies to optimise their operations and performance.

We look at Midea Industrial Internet (MIOT), the recipient of the Future Enterprise of the Year at the IDC Future Enterprise Awards 2022. The company is actively deploying AI and advanced digital technologies to enhance the user experience while empowering their employees and partners with the right digital tools. This has resulted in a flexible and efficient supply chain that has reduced their delivery cycle by 56% and enhanced the way they collaborate with partners. At the same time, they also increased the inventory turnover of finished products by 125%, paving the way for other enterprises in the manufacturing industry to become the next digital business.

Visionary leaders, too, play a significant role in every digital business as they are instrumental in leading the business toward an ambitious vision. Suresh Sundararajan, the recipient of the CDO of the Year Award (Singapore) in 2022, is the then-Chief Officer and now CEO of Olam Ventures and Olam Technology Services.

Sundararajan has redefined the company’s purpose of reimagining global agriculture and food systems, and this is buoyed by his beliefs in good leadership: the ability to manage ambiguity and look at things through an experimental framework, which can open doors to more possibilities for the business. This is in line with his advice for future leaders, which is to invest in people without putting constraints on their suggestions and ideas. At the same time, transformation is dependent on using the right technologies for the problems a business is solving. According to Sundararajan, businesses should not be led by the most current technologies to embrace transformation. A better approach is to identify what the issues are, and then look into the technology that can be deployed to solve them.

Taking risks with emerging, cutting-edge technologies is another approach of many digital businesses. This is what Zuellig Pharma did which it to becoming the recipient of the Best in Future of Intelligence and Special Award for Digital Resiliency in 2022.

The pharmaceutical company wanted to build an ecosystem of solutions that will better connect patients and their pharma clients. That’s why Zuellig Pharma had invested heavily in data and data analytics, becoming a pioneer in the use of blockchain as part of their solution on traceability. These technologies are used to develop eZTracker, which helps bring their pharma clients and customers together by delivering data-driven insights, such as ensuring that healthcare products being delivered are from an authorised source. Zuellig Pharma has also created eZRx, a B2B eCommerce platform for buying and selling healthcare products, and eZHealth, an app that offers patients access to comprehensive healthcare services.

Recognising the next digital business for Asia Pacific Japan IDC Future Enterprise Awards

To recognise the next generation of digital businesses and leaders, the 2023 Asia Pacific Japan IDC Future Enterprise Awards is now open for nominations. Any end-user organisation can nominate their project or initiative, or be nominated by a 3rd party organisation—agencies, associations, and IT suppliers—to gain recognition in the execution of the initiative in one of the categories.

The IDC Future Enterprise Awards follows a two-phased approach to determine country and regional winners. Each nomination is evaluated by IDC’s country and regional analysts against a standard assessment framework based on IDC’s Future Enterprise taxonomy. All country winners will then qualify for the regional competition, where a regional panel of judges comprising IDC Worldwide analysts, industry thought leaders, and members of the academia, will determine the regional winners.

Entries will be judged based on the eight building blocks organizations need to successfully close the digital gap and become Future Enterprises in a digital-first world: Connectedness, Customer Experience, Digital Infrastructure, Industry Ecosystems, Intelligence, Operations, Trust, and Work.

Individual awards for CEO and CIO/CDO of the Year will also be handed out, as well as Special Awards for Digital Innovation, Digital Resiliency, and Sustainability. New in 2023, Special Awards for the best Digital Native Business as well as Smart Cities initiatives for Citizen Wellbeing, Connected City, and Digital Policies will also be given out.

Learn more at IDC Future Enterprise Awards 2023.

Register for an account at IDC Future Enterprise Awards Platform to submit an entry.

CIO, Enterprise Applications, Enterprise Architecture

Headquartered in Malmö, Sweden, Cloudist AB is on a mission to help managed service providers embrace the transformative potential of the cloud. But Robert Brink, the company’s cloud architect, notes there is a caveat.

“We want our customers to be able to provide their clients with high-performance cloud services from the Nordic region’s most secure data centers with one click,” says Brink. “We want them to take advantage of the peace of mind we offer – 100% predictable costs, no vendor lock-in, no commitment periods, and the scalability they need to remain nimble. But first and foremost, we want them to make a choice to create a positive change for the planet.”

This positive change is to address an issue that is more than a business imperative for Cloudist. It’s the very mission of the company: to decrease the carbon emissions generated by cloud services and the operation of the data centers that make them possible.

“Cloud-based digitalization is the future, but today’s cloud services are responsible for nearly 4% of all CO2 emissions,” adds Brink. “When you look at that in context – Climatiq for example estimates that commercial air travel is responsible for 2.4% – the importance of offering cloud services in a way that eliminates carbon emissions is readily apparent. We provide 100% green cloud services because we believe we have to, not just as a company, but collectively as providers of the IT services and solutions enterprises need to work smarter and more sustainably. Our mission is to be a pioneer and a driving force for positive change by offering green cloud solutions.”

All of Cloudist’s services use entirely renewable energy sources throughout the entire delivery chain. This includes facilities operated by Ecodatacenters in Falun and Piteå. Powered by 75% hydropower and 25% wind power, the data center Falun offers unparalleled security and is optimized for high-density applications. The data center in Piteå is powered completely by hydropower and in turn offers ironclad security and high availability.

Notably, Cloudist’s cloud services include Infrastructure-as-a-Service based on VMware Cloud Director and Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service based on VMware Cloud Director Availability. Some of the company’s many additional offerings include Storage-as-a-Service for S3 Object Storage and Cloudist’s Microsoft 365 Backup, a secure and complete backup for Microsoft 365 services that lets enterprises quickly get back to business after everything from user errors to ransomware attacks.

“We have a long relationship with VMware and know firsthand that it is trusted and relied on by organizations across industries,” says Brink. “With our motto being ‘Green Clouds Ahead™’ it is only natural and fitting that we would wholeheartedly support and participate in the VMware Zero Carbon Committed initiative.”

Brink stresses that Cloudist’s services are particularly impactful for small- and medium-sized enterprises that are often using legacy hardware and on-premises systems installed with little or no thought given to sustainability. Needless to say, power savings and the efficient use of heat were not priorities.

“Our customers want to make a difference and adhere to the corporate sustainability policies and goals they put in place,” he says. “We can help almost any organization make a meaningful leap in the right direction given our 100% fossil fuel-free services and carbon positive footprint, but for organizations that are making the shift from legacy, on-premises data centers the sustainability gains are truly dramatic right out of the gate.”

To Brink, these gains are far more than good business. They are personal.

“There are seven natural wonders of the world. Only one of them is in the clouds, the Northern Lights. We are from the North. We live and work in the North, but with the growing levels of cloud cover driven by climate change, we face a very real possibility that the northern lights will be forever hidden from view,” says Brink. “For all of us here at Cloudist, those same lights and their beauty and magic are our inspiration to do everything we can not only to ensure there are ‘Green Clouds Ahead™,’ but also that we collectively make real gains in reducing carbon emissions quickly. We don’t have time to waste in our collective efforts to combat climate change.”

Learn more about Cloudist and its partnership with VMware here.

Cloud Management, Green IT

One of four government data centers in the Netherlands, Overheidsdatacenter Noord (ODC-Noord), the northernmost facility of its kind in The Netherlands, is located in the picturesque city of Groningen. With nearly 140 employees, the high-performance data center provides government agencies with mission-critical compute, storage, and networking solutions needed to provide important services to citizens.

Offering Housing-as-a-Service, Platform-as-a-Service, and Infrastructure-as-a-Service featuring ODC-Noord currently serves around 40 customers. These include numerous government ministries and agencies that serve citizens of the Netherlands. One of the provided services is the high availability and performance of the VMware based vCloud platform.

“We provide scalable ICT services in accordance with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) cloud computing reference architecture for business applications,” says Jaap Jansma, manager at ODC-Noord. “This includes not only HaaS, PaaS, and IaaS, but also the supporting facilities for development of custom software, as well as solutions for DevOps teams—among them Kubernetes test and production environments and applications for specific use cases, including data science and deep analytics.”

ODC-Noord’s agile teams are comprised of skilled personnel. These experts not only develop, but also manage and maintain all of the organization’s services.

“Our teams are driven, enterprising and a bit headstrong,” adds Jansma. “These are qualities that serve us well in our dedicated work to provide high-quality and innovative services to our customers.”

Those services also reflect ODC-Noord’s commitment to reduce its carbon emissions to net zero by 2030 and to serve as a partner who can help government agencies further their own sustainability goals. Jansma notes that’s why the decision to embrace the VMware Zero Carbon Committed initiative was a natural one.

“As a public-sector organization, we are included in the Dutch government’s diligent efforts to create a carbon-free energy system, but at ODC-Noord, we also feel strongly that it is our responsibility as a service provider to do everything we can to reduce the impact of ICT on the environment,” says Jansma. “The migration to software-defined data centers was an important step in the right direction, but it’s just the beginning. The VMware Zero Carbon Committed initiative builds on that momentum and is a natural next step.”

Notably, ODC-Noord already runs on 100% renewable energy sources, among them hydro, wind and solar power. Servers are also controlled with advanced power management solutions to maximize their efficiency. There are also plans to use residual heat to heat 10,000 homes and buildings in Groningen.

Outside air is also used to cool the data center—radically reducing the need for traditional air conditioning systems. Even the basic design of the facility uses natural airflows in which colder air sinks and warmer air rises to minimize the use of heating and cooling systems. In 2022, the average Energy Usage Effectiveness, or EUE, of ODC-Noord was an impressive 1.25.

Other steps, including ODC-Noord’s goal to transition to hydrogen are far reaching and ambitious, but Jansma notes that every step, large and small, is important.

“We’ve already stitched to a hydrogen-powered backup utility offered by one of our suppliers, NorthC, which is big step forward, and our innovations in power management enabled us to reduce the power usage of 40% of our assets, including servers, by 90%,” he says. “We’re also working with our suppliers to institute sustainability rating certifications and to reduce the amount of packaging—for example we recently eliminated the packaging of individual items with one of our cable vendors—and we are recycling hardware in-house to ensure it’s done right. And of course, there are myriad small steps we take each day, from recycling in our offices to promoting public transportation. It’s all important.”

Jansma believes the VMware Zero Carbon Committed initiative is a powerful way not only to support these efforts, but to make them part of the conversation with customers. It’s a conversation he believes must occur.

“We are living in a world where it seems that the sky is the limit, but we are realizing that we have to be careful with everything our planet gives us,” he says. “For a sustainable future, and for the future of our children, it is our duty to invest in a zero carbon footprint.”

Learn more about ODC-Noord and its partnership with VMware here.

Cloud Computing, Green IT

As the new year gets underway, organizations are looking beyond the challenges, volatility and reactive mode of the past few years and strategically planning their future to compete and thrive. Two topics that are top of mind are where work gets done and the related impact on office real estate investments and the role of the office going forward.

While there is no one size fits all and each leader and worker have their point of view, it’s often helpful to get a data-driven perspective to understand the bigger picture and to guide the way to proactive decisions best suited for each organization.

Aruba is a leader in delivering best-in-class modern workplaces and technology. To remain at the forefront, Aruba works on thought leadership and research to help our customers stay ahead.

With that mindset, Aruba teamed up with Leesman, a leader in measuring the quality and effectiveness of workplaces, to deep dive into extensive survey responses from recent surveys of approximately 125 corporate real estate and 75,000 worker and manager respondents as well as historical surveys of approximately 7,000 organizations and 1,000,000 respondents.

We’re delighted that Aruba and Leesman are widely sharing the results of this research via an eBook titled “Powering Hybrid Work 2023” and the full research report titled “The Future of Work and the Workplace: Insights from Leesman Global Survey.”

At a time when there are major shifts happening with work, workplaces, and technology, it’s sometimes difficult to discern what is a fad or the beginning of a trend. To set your organization on the best path into the future, here are a few key findings and insights from the research for your consideration.

The future of work is hybrid.

For corporate real estate respondent organizations that made a decision about where employees will be working in the future, the vast majority of 93% decided on a hybrid workplace strategy. While the percentage of time working in the office vs. mobile varies across regions, business sectors, ages, etc., it’s clear from the survey results that hybrid work is here to stay.

Corporate real estate investments are changing.

Real estate and workplace investments are aligning with the hybrid work strategy. In the past 12 months, 83% of survey respondents made physical changes to the workplace to support employee needs. And, in the future, 94% were planning changes with 59% planning a reduction in their real estate footprint over the next 18 months.

Hybrid work is not new. 

Mobile technology (laptops, smartphones), ubiquitous connectivity (cellular, Wi-Fi), cloud-based access to data and applications, and collaborative tools like Microsoft Teams, WebEx, and Zoom have long enabled the ability to work from anywhere. Survey results indicate that the percentage of respondents categorizing their work styles as hybrid varied little between pre- and post-pandemic periods. Yet, what has changed significantly is the percentage of time working in the office vs. hybrid as well as the acceptability of working hybrid.

Hybrid is the optimal working model.

What may have been surprising for many was how successful the sudden change from mostly office to mostly home-based work was. The survey data gives interesting insights into that.

Respondents ranked hybrid as the optimal working model across ALL 21 key work activities. Leesman concludes that an optimal situation occurs when a respondent can perform each work task in the environment they consider optimal for the task.

And, for ALL roles, demographics, and timeframes (before, during, and post-pandemic), the most important work activity is “individual-focused work, desk-based” per approximately 80-90% of respondents. For today’s digital savvy workers, that individual-focused work can happen anywhere.

IT and office infrastructure enable hybrid work.

Hybrid and office workers have different work patterns and requirements in and out of the office. Hybrid workers are more mobile and need tools that deliver the same enterprise-class workplace experience anywhere (i.e., high-performance Wi-Fi and modern laptop computers). When in the office, they need workspaces for collaboration (i.e., small conference rooms), connection (i.e., breakrooms and gathering areas), and individual-focused work (i.e., quiet spaces to “get their work done”). And, the greater amount of time working out of the office, the less dedicated, personalized workspaces they need in the office.

Adapting work and workplaces in 2023

As leaders and workers refine their optimal hybrid work and workplace strategy (including some that are mandating pre-2020 primarily office-based strategies), many are taking this opportunity to consider impacts beyond themselves to their families, communities, business sectors and the Earth’s environment to find better, more sustainable ways to operate in the future.

The eBook and full report provide a deeper dive into the survey insights to help leaders and workers move forward from past paradigms to embrace modern work, offices, and technology that enable optimal outcomes now and in the future.

To learn more, visit us here.

Remote Work

In the last few years, we’ve all learned how to become more agile. In the face of unplanned events like a global pandemic and various geopolitical events, we had to change and pivot on demand. 

This holds true for individuals and businesses alike, and notably so in the manufacturing environments where I spend much of my time.

That’s why the promise of a new artificial intelligence (AI)-powered technology, called generative AI, is so promising for manufacturers – for today and the future. 

As Industry 4.0 establishes a strengthening foothold in manufacturing, the transition is facilitating greater accuracy and speed in areas where technology supports and improves human intervention. Generative AI will be an integral part of manufacturing’s technology transformation.

In manufacturing, new generative AI technology can be applied to the creation of an iterative, strategic business plan. 

In many ways, strategic business planning is ideal for AI’s capabilities. It can use disparate workflows and data siloes, allowing new levels of data-driven insight and precision. At Dell Technologies, we call this 

Production Assurance AI. 

What is Production Assurance AI?

Global economic conditions, labor shortages and supply chain issues are putting pressure on manufacturers’ profitability. 

In a market that’s competing for skilled workers and balancing unexpected outside disruptions, production efficiency is not the main goal for the digitization of manufacturing—it’s resiliency. 

While manufacturers confront many different challenges, the need for manufacturing organizations to adapt to changes on demand has never been greater. 

However, the most significant challenge involves the ability to plan and ensure profitability in the future. Addressing this challenge requires the creation of a strategic, iterative business plan. 

Capabilities of Production Assurance AI

Production Assurance AI uses enterprise-wide data to train the first pass and second-pass models. The generative AI solution then applies intelligence and inferencing to analyze that data. Insights from that data produce a business plan that predicts future production capacity and profitability and a way to track ongoing progress against the plan over time.

In support of strategic business planning, Production Assurance AI creates reports, forecasts and recommendations from the model for analyses. The generative AI solution has tools that allow “what-if” plans and analytics to track performance using inputs such as market analysis, production rates, maintenance costs and demand forecasts. 

Further, Production Assurance AI helps shape future profitability by enabling production risk mitigation and intervention processes, predicting future costs and product pricing to estimate future profitability. Production Assurance AI executes at the speed of each organization’s business. 

For example, Production Assurance AI can predict future maintenance costs and timing if manufacturers need new equipment for upgraded production lines or require major repairs to bring production lines back up to speed. 

In addition, the solution can evaluate the distribution system, channel partners and the current service network to estimate when expansion will be required. Production Assurance AI also examines and recommends any necessary logistics and supply chain changes, such as shifting from trucks to rail. 

Benefits of Production Assurance AI 

Production Assurance AI can bring a multitude of business-changing benefits to manufacturing organizations. Each benefit on its own is significant. Together, they can be revolutionary.

Benefits include: 

• Create the M&A strategy for the new enterprise.

• Eliminate siloed calculations with no data interdependencies. 

• Reduce reliance on massive spreadsheets and subjective, labor-intensive and hard-to-change manual analyses.

 • Enable weighted interdependencies among departments and the ability to change them easily. 

 • Produce an iterative, multiyear business plan using technology designed to maximize shareholder value. 

• Predict outcomes by using Production Assurance AI “what-if” tools to predict outcomes.

• Monitor how the organization is tracking with the business plan by using Production Assurance AI. 

Moving Forward

Whatever the time horizon — next week, next month, next quarter, or five years from now — Production Assurance AI is a powerful solution. It upgrades a less accurate, time-intensive, disconnected approach with one that creates a fast, accurate, holistic business plan with analytics that deliver insights into future profitability while tracking ongoing progress against that plan. Production Assurance AI is applying new generative AI technology to help manufacturers answer the question: Can we be profitable in the future?

Dell Technologies. Dell Technologies helps manufacturers around the world transform their business outcomes by applying technology to manufacturing practices and processes.

Intel. The compute required for GenAI models has put a spotlight on performance, cost and energy efficiency as top concerns for enterprises today. Intel’s commitment to the democratization of AI and sustainability will enable broader access to the benefits of AI technology, including GenAI, via an open ecosystem. Intel’s AI hardware accelerators, including new built-in accelerators, provide performance and performance per watt gains to address the escalating performance, price and sustainability needs of GenAI.

Want to learn more about Production Assurance AI? Click here to read a white paper for a deeper discussion HERE

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To help organizations move forward, Dell Technologies is powering the enterprise GenAI journey. With best-in-class IT infrastructure and solutions to run GenAI workloads and advisory and support services that roadmap GenAI initiatives, Dell is enabling organizations to boost their digital transformation and accelerate intelligent outcomes. 

The compute required for GenAI models has put a spotlight on performance, cost and energy efficiency as top concerns for enterprises today. Intel’s commitment to the democratization of AI and sustainability will enable broader access to the benefits of AI technology, including GenAI, via an open ecosystem. Intel’s AI hardware accelerators, including new built-in accelerators, provide performance and performance per watt gains to address the escalating performance, price and sustainability needs of GenAI.

Read more: Taking on the Compute and Sustainability Challenges of Generative AI

Artificial Intelligence

It has been three years since COVID sent us into remote work, and we now find ourselves with a new challenge: employees who have never met in person. 

The hybrid work paradigm has exposed the importance of getting in front of evolving changes in the way employees will work together in the future, accelerating IT leaders’ need not only to address the impact of hybrid work and sharpen their tech strategies to support it, but also to help shape the future workplace culture, in large part through employee experience initiatives.

As CIO of Cisco, Fletcher Previn plays a central role in defining the company’s new corporate culture. I spoke with him about the CIO’s new mandate to help create a best-in-class hybrid work culture and to define the future of work within their organizations, a problem that IT leaders must work to solve in real-time today.

Martha Heller: What is the problem with our current approach to hybrid work?

Fletcher Previn: Over the last few years, we have experienced the evolution of work in three phases: technology, cybersecurity, and culture. Phase one was getting the technology in place to support our employees in an environment of 100% remote work.

Then, we quickly shifted our attention to the next phase, which was solving the security challenge of employees working in homes with smart thermostats, online classes, and video games all potentially on the same network.

We are now in a third, more complex phase, which is establishing cultural norms about the way we work. During the first two phases, culture was less of a challenge, because employees knew one another from their time in the office. But over time, as people left their organizations and new people joined, we found ourselves with a challenge we had never had before: employees who have never met in person. We now have a new problem statement: What is a best-in-class hybrid work culture?

We are solving that problem in real-time, and the organizations that get it right will have a competitive advantage. The decisions we make as technology leaders will define what it feels like to work in our organizations. As CIOs, we are the designers of the future of work in a very real way.

How do you define ‘best-in-class’ from a social perspective?

I think about this in the context of a ‘relationship bank.’ When we are in the office and having impromptu discussions about our personal lives, or getting a meal together, or having non-work-related discussions, we are making deposits into the relationship bank. When we are asking things of each other in a meeting, we are making withdrawals.

In a remote environment, you tend to make more withdrawals than deposits, which can result in a relationship deficit, where work becomes a transactional activity. We spend more time working than doing anything else, so work needs to have a deeper meaning. It can’t be transactional. Best-in-class is a hybrid environment that allows for some of the magic and serendipity that happens when people are together physically.

As CIO of Cisco, how are you creating this type of environment?

My goal is to deliver a meaningful hybrid work experience that enables people to do the best work of their lives — whether in a remote or hybrid environment. My approach has always been to lead with user experience and design in everything we do, which means engineering solutions from the ‘user experience in’ instead of the ‘IT department out.’

User research and experience design was important before, but it’s an existential requirement in a hybrid world. Are there distractions in the home? Is someone working in a shared environment? Is it noisy? Is the internet unreliable? It would be very difficult to build an effective hybrid work strategy without user research and design capabilities at the front, coupled with continuous feedback loops. Today’s best user experience is tomorrow’s minimum expectation.

Our goal is to avoid the tale of two Cisco work environments, one where some people are in the office in a conference room together or joining remotely with high-quality reliable connectivity and collaboration tools, and others are on unreliable connections, struggling to hear and see what’s going on, and cannot read body language and non-verbal queues. We want an equal footing across all environments, so that people have the same meeting experience and career opportunities no matter where they are.

What technology changes should CIOs consider in designing the future of work?

The network that can properly support hybrid work needs to be more distributed, porous and has a very different attack surface than when we were all in the office. Technologies like Zero Trust become even more important, along with split tunnel VPNs and having the right endpoint security strategy so you don’t have to backhaul all the traffic in order to inspect it. You need carrier and path diversity at your carrier neutral facilities and network points of presence, and you want to have a good peering strategy so you can bring applications closer to the end users and take traffic off the public internet.

Full-stack observability becomes more urgent in a hybrid world. How do we really understand our employee experience our employees are having when they are connecting from across all sorts of networks that we don’t manage? We need to understand the performance of the public internet and various SaaS tools in order to really know what our hybrid work experience is going to be for our people. We also need tools that provide valuable observability that lets us detect and fix problems before our employees even know there is an issue brewing.

Also important is DNS filtering, multifactor authentication, network automation, and generally making sure that you and your team understand your network better than the apex predators who are trying to break into it.

How have you changed your management practices to deliver a positive employee experience?

Hybrid work has brought some informality to management practices in general, which I believe is a net positive, and I hope persists. But with this informality, rituals are still very important. With my own team, I have a check-in every morning and check-out at the end of every week. We have an end of week happy hour that is virtual, and monthly in-person operating reviews and quarterly in-person strategy and OKR alignment meetings. This is how we are operationalizing our culture; I am trying to create an operational cadence where we talk to each other regularly as a close-knit leadership team, even though we may not be in the office together every day.

Looking back five years from now, what will be the benefits of hybrid work?

The pandemic compressed what would have organically happened over 15 years into three or four years. We know now that work is an activity, not a location. If you have enabled your digital estate properly for hybrid work, supported by the right culture and rituals, then location is much less of an issue — and that means we now have the benefit of access to a global labor market. The past few years also triggered a lot of exciting innovation in the collaboration and end-user productivity space. Employees will have more agency over their destiny because they will not be limited to their physical location; they will make decisions about what mission they feel passionate about and what organization and culture they want to be a part of. This is a good thing because everyone benefits when people make those decisions thoughtfully.

Another significant benefit will be broader recognition that IT departments around the world are, to a large degree, designers of the future of work. All the decision points around remote access, security, collaboration, employee productivity, and so on — while they may feel tactical in the moment — collectively form the answer to the question, ‘What does it feel like to work in this organization?’ When you add up all the decision points that go into enabling your environment properly for hybrid work, you are defining the future of your culture.

IT Leadership, Staff Management

By Andy Nallappan, Chief Technology Officer & Head of Software Business Operations, Broadcom

This is a continuation of Broadcom’s blog series: 2023 Tech Trends That Transform IT. Stay tuned for future blogs that dive into the technology behind these trends from more of Broadcom’s industry-leading experts.

Multi-cloud is the future of enterprise IT. The evidence is overwhelming.

A recent report reveals that more than 80% of enterprises surveyed have a multi-cloud strategy and nearly that number (78%) already have workloads deployed in more than three public clouds. Enterprises are realizing the need to customize their cloud infrastructures to better fit their business needs. The continuing acceleration of that customization in the year ahead is why multi-cloud is one of the top technology trends transforming technology in 2023.

The reasons are not hard to discern. As organizations continue transitioning their networking and IT infrastructures to cloud, it is becoming hard to ignore the opportunities and benefits of a multi-cloud environment. A multi-cloud approach allows the flexibility to manage and protect data across different environments—private, public, and sovereign—as needed. Maintaining this freedom, choice, control, and agility is crucial for future growth and critical for maintaining compliance with regulatory and statutory requirements for enterprises operating at global scale.

Another factor contributing to multi-cloud deployments is evolving regulatory compliance, which is accelerating the sovereign cloud—a cloud environment housed within the jurisdiction. Europe has strict regulations that you’ve likely heard of, such as EBAG, DORA, IDT, and now recently introduced: ECR, the European Cyber Resilience Act. Multi-cloud deployments allow full flexibility to adjust to changes to regulatory changes.

And a final factor contributing to multi-cloud deployments is a business-driven initiative to accelerate the reduction of how many data centers a business is running. By consolidating and reducing the number of data centers, businesses set themselves up to quickly deliver on evolving customer and market demands through technology, especially technology bolstered by artificial intelligence. Businesses want to move quickly and effectively to the cloud, while managing costs and risks, without having to refactor their entire workload—especially back-end platforms and solutions that have been working well for decades.

One size does not fit all

There are several reasons why this trend to multi-cloud will accelerate in 2023. The reality is that being locked into a single cloud vendor, or a single type of cloud infrastructure does not offer the flexibility needed to control costs, maintain control over information, or the agility necessary to operate successfully in a world already growing bigger in providers—and evolving types—of clouds.

A multi-cloud environment avoids these pitfalls while enhancing the capabilities to move across public cloud, data centers, and edge infrastructures. Multi-cloud is also cost-effective. It provides enterprises with the freedom to select the best products and services for their business needs. In short, multi-cloud will become the inevitable, as well as ideal cloud networking environment for managing and supporting the decentralized and distributed resources, assets, services, and workforces that compose the real-world reality of our post-pandemic digital age.

A shifting conversation

 Another key driver of this trend in 2023 will be the transition of talking about cloud from a technology discussion to a business outcomes conversation. Rather than enterprises reinventing the wheel each time to create their own cloud, there is a growing awareness that time to value can be greatly accelerated by sharing key components of multi-cloud infrastructures. Key to this business-driven discussion is the acceptance and evolution of the idea some call industry cloud platforms or vertical industry clouds. These are multi-cloud infrastructures with built-in, modular functionality tailored to a specific vertical industry.

Vertical industries such as banking, healthcare, Telco, and manufacturing will lead this movement. It will allow them to share an agile platform already supported by a portfolio of baked-in, industry-specific, prepackaged business capabilities directly relevant for their individual industries. These modular components can then be easily customized or swapped in-or-out to fit the individual organization’s business operations or needs. It is this understanding that will shift the cloud conversation away from technology-first discussion to that of business outcomes first for its obvious potential value as a platform and driver of new business innovation.

Think of these multi-clouds as providing prefabricated industry-specific Lego pieces containing key functions that can be assembled or composed the way a customer wants or needs. Another way is to think of them as providing a cloud platform containing the kinds of built-in, but customizable capabilities a top CRM provider or HR software provider offer their customers. But on a much grander scale that goes far beyond any single vertical Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution.

Only multi-cloud infrastructures offer this kind of industry-specific or vertical cloud platform adaptability. Multi-cloud allows enterprises to make the leap from the cloud services with which we are all familiar to creating new cloud platforms with the agility to far more easily and quickly be adapted to new business opportunities, changing business circumstances, or technology innovations.

Adopting a business or industry multi-cloud model will also speed the transition to cloud for many organizations. It will allow those organizations to take advantage of the plug-and-play aspects of a multi-cloud’s prepackaged, modular components.

The future in multi-cloud

Industry-model multi-cloud infrastructures will offer many enterprises the best solution for a decentralized networking environment. The benefits of these industry-specific clouds include:

More adaptabilityMore business functionalityMore innovation

Multi-cloud is the future of enterprise IT. And when integrated with sovereign cloud, multi-cloud will allow organizations to deliver differentiated services at scale while remaining secure and in compliance with regulatory frameworks around the globe. Enterprises recognize that because of this, multi-cloud will help their organizations deliver stronger business value. It is the reason enterprises are accelerating their transition to multi-cloud infrastructures this year and why it is a top trend transforming IT in 2023.

To learn more about tech trends transforming IT in 2023, visit Broadcom’s blog.

About Andy Nallappan:

Broadcom

Andy is the Chief Technology Officer and Head of Software Business Operations for Broadcom. He oversees the DevOps, SaaS Platform & Operations, and Marketing for the software business divisions within Broadcom.

IT Leadership, Multi Cloud

“Who owns and oversees employee experience and the future of work at your organization” is a question I’ve been asking CIOs and IT leaders a lot of late. The ensuing conversation usually reveals a telling disconnect that CIOs should remedy for the health of their companies.

Most IT leaders pause before responding to this question. Some go on to describe hybrid work plans,  which is one aspect of the future of work, but it’s not the complete scope. To align on terminology, I share Gartner’s definition, “The future of work describes changes in how work will get done over the next decade, influenced by technological, generational, and social shifts,” and then ask them to reconsider this greater scope.

After another pause, some will say there isn’t ownership around this agenda. Others say human resources leads the future of work considerations for the enterprise, and department leaders own it for their teams. This may be so, but it isn’t a recipe for ensuring long-term organizational success.

The CIO as a key driver for the future of work

Many CIOs will say IT is involved in laying the foundation for the future of work at their organizations, but usually in a supporting role. Helping departments with automations is one area where CIOs consider IT to be a driver. Or when a department procures new technology, an implementation requires IT’s assistance, or when integration is needed. 

But taking this kind of butler approach to the organization’s future of work mission and waiting for business drivers can be shortsighted. CIOs should take more of a leadership role, especially when future of work initiatives can be a digital transformation force multiplier.

CIOs have the opportunity to improve their organization’s competitiveness, promote innovation capabilities, and catalyze culture change by driving blue-sky thinking around how technological shifts will transform employee responsibilities and experiences. Here are three technology areas CIOs should focus on.

1. Transform knowledge management with generative AI

ChatGPT and other forms of generative AI have generated a storm of consumer interest that is carrying over into the enterprise. Many marketing departments are embracing content generation, image creation, and video editing to scale their workflows, while Microsoft added ChatGPT capabilities to its office suite, and Google is adding generative AI tools across Workspace.

“Generative AI is reimagining the future of work, from the content we write to the creative we use and how we converse with each other,” says Yishay Carmiel, CEO of Meaning. “While early challenges with accuracy and credibility remain a barrier to entry, generative tech is still proving valuable for enterprises producing content and uncovering valuable information quickly and at scale.”

One area I expect generative AI to impact the future of work significantly is knowledge management and enterprise search experiences. I expect we’ll see the consumerization of search and knowledge management over the next decade, driven by generative and conversational AI capabilities. 

Today, most enterprises create, store, and search content across a breadth of tools, including CRMs, CMSes, ecommerce platforms, office suites, and collaboration tools. Employees search for content using primitive keyword search boxes instead of natural language processing and conversational AI capabilities. These capabilities are ripe for transformation, and AI search is a force multiplier when it centralizes information access, addresses tribal knowledge risks, and personalizes employee experiences. 

2. Drive self-service capabilities with no-code tech

The first no-code tools for building web applications became available over two decades ago. Today, most organizations use a mix of low-code and no-code tools to build applications, and many support citizen development performed by non-IT employees.

No-code isn’t just for developing apps, as many organizations use no-code self-service business intelligence tools such as Power BI and Tableau to enable a data-driven organization and reduce the reliance on operational spreadsheets. There are also no-code data prep, automation, and integration tools used by marketing, operations, and finance teams with staff and skills to implement technology solutions with little or no IT assistance.

CIOs should embrace no-code and citizen development as a key future of work strategy. The reality is that IT is always understaffed, and many people entering the workplace have the sufficient technical acumen to work with no-code technologies.

Empowering employees with no-code technologies can drive a culture transformation when CIOs drive the initiative and IT provides support services. Instead of IT saying “no” or having staff waiting for IT’s help, departments have technologies to drive their agendas.

What does it mean to drive self-service capabilities? CIOs should define a citizen development governance model and govern citizen data science so that no-code apps and dashboards developed today don’t become tomorrow’s technical debt. Disciplines such as identifying requirements, versioning applications, testing functionality, establishing security access roles, documenting releases, reusing capabilities, and defining standards are all important whether an app is developed with code, low-code, or no-code. 

3. Accelerate decision-making with hyperautomation and real-time analytics

If self-service business intelligence and data catalogs helped democratize data, then hyperautomation and real-time analytics will enable CIOs to accelerate smarter decision-making.

Large enterprises have transformed from batch data processing, where executives review weekly and monthly reports to more real-time analytics. In addition, CIOs have scaled beyond using robotic process automation (RPA) on tasks and workflows and now focus on hyperautomation, the integration of automation, low-code, and machine learning capabilities to enable smarter decision-making.

These technologies and capabilities are mainstream, and more small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) can no longer afford to be laggards in driving intelligent automation.

Tom Sagi, co-founder and CEO of Hourly.io, says, “As the Federal Reserve continues to increase interest rates, small and medium businesses will continue to look for ways to save money this year. The future of work for SMBs will be driven by their ability to adopt new technologies like automation and real-time analytics and will be a key driver of innovation for SMBs focused on saving time and money.”

Here, opportunities include empowering the finance organization with real-time analytics capabilities or using hyperautomation to improve field operation’s resource scheduling.

But the key opportunity for CIOs is to use these technologies as building blocks by asking, “How can we reimagine workflow X by integrating automation, real-time analytics, machine learning, and low-code capabilities?”

CIOs should become drivers of the future of work, starting with blue-sky thinking, implementing radically reinvented workflows, and focusing on employee experiences.

Artificial Intelligence, Digital Transformation, Emerging Technology, Innovation, No Code and Low Code

By Eric Chien, Director of Security Response, Symantec Enterprise Division, Broadcom

This is a continuation of Broadcom’s blog series: 2023 Tech Trends That Transform IT.  Stay tuned for future blogs that dive into the technology behind these trends from more of Broadcom’s industry-leading experts.

It is difficult to overestimate the impact Covid had on the future of work and IT technology.

The pandemic sent the workforce home and technology services followed them out the office door. There was little time to consider and mitigate against all the new security implications. That said, working from home is no different than a lot of other circumstances in business. Conditions change and infrastructure is often put together at warp speed to meet the immediate business need. In this case, it was an immediate need for many employees to work from home. But for many organizations, a modern security infrastructure was never put in place to support hundreds of thousands of employees accessing a business infrastructure from home. There was no time.

Cut to today: employees have spent nearly two years working from home (WFH), and a lot of them like the arrangement and don’t want to return full-time to a physical office. Several major businesses now want to turn back the clock, but efforts to convince employees to return to the way things were, pre-pandemic, are proving to be challenging. Now that businesses can no longer pretend that WFH is going away, they know they must put the security infrastructure in place. They can no longer play catch up.

Managing the risk of distributed trust

Because Covid opened a proverbial Pandora’s Box on remote work and the permanence of a distributed workforce, organizations realize that they will need to manage risk even more carefully, and in new and more different ways, than they had to in the past.

Add to that, how and where technology services have moved (or are moving). For example, before back office software was purchased and installed on servers that were located inside an organization’s office. That is not the case anymore. These services are now cloud-delivered by multiple vendors all around the world.

Decentralized trust and the distributed workforce

The concept of decentralized trust fits hand-in-glove with the realities of a permanently distributed workforce. In a new, permanent remote workforce model, that “trust check” will no longer be at the physical door. It will be everywhere. It will be decentralized, it will be distributed, and it will involve multiple vendors. The trust check will need to happen on the client side, from where and on what device the worker will login from.

Identity security will become even more critical in this new world of decentralized trust and distributed human and machine resources. As enterprises take on more and more cloud applications, cloud access security will also become more critical. The urgency to implement new security systems for both identity and cloud access will drive IT transformation and budgets in 2023.

Identity security and MFA

The first phase for many organizations will be modernizing identity security by moving beyond passwords to a passwordless future characterized by a form of multi-factor authentication (MFA) augmented by a biometric element, such as a thumbprint, facial recognition, or retina scan.

This is the critical first step as humans enabling access to malicious third parties are a key element of most data breaches. This was true pre-pandemic when most workers were office-based. Without more effective, decentralized identity security controls, it will become even more of a vulnerability in our distributed workforce future.

It is easy to see how powerful this trend will be in 2023. As according to one recent survey, only 26% of enterprises today have implemented any form of even basic MFA.

Verifying assets via CASB

While MFA is a good first step—security professionals can “trust” the user accessing sanctioned SaaS applications—how do they make sure users are behaving normally and just doing their job? How do they ensure nothing is uploaded to the application that shouldn’t be, and how do they make sure they have full visibility into transactions? That’s why implementing some form of Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) technology becomes critical to secure all remote, cloud-delivered assets.

CASB will provide organizations with the tools they need to interject security policies as their cloud-based resources are accessed. In essence, CASB defines what decentralized trust is all about: in a future of distributed, cloud-delivered assets, it re-centralizes security controls. It will provide the other most critical component of the security model for the distributed workforce of the future.

As 2023 progresses and more workers remain remote, trust becomes even more distributed. Security professionals cannot remove the risk of distributed trust entirely—bad things will happen—but they can look at how to manage the risk of distributed trust and put plans in place to build resiliency across a distributed infrastructure.

To learn more about tech trends transforming IT in 2023, visit Broadcom’s Trends 2023 blog.

About Eric Chien:

Broadcom

Eric Chien leads a team of engineers and threat hunters that investigate and reverse-engineer the latest high-impact Internet security attacks. Via these attack techniques and trends, he develops and drives threat intelligence and novel security solutions to prevent and mitigate against the next big attack.

Security