Infrastructure and applications

The resilient company in 2021

The pandemic has not only dented companies' beliefs in the future, but it has also opened their eyes as to how digitization can be the key to increased adaptability and competitiveness. Here, we look at four trends that will shape the IT business model of the future.

2020 will be remembered particularly as the year of change. Change in the way we interact with each other, in the way we do business, and, not least, in the way we prepare for the future.

Many companies are currently battling to stay afloat - others are outlining a new strategy to get them back on the growth track. But common to them all is that running a business and creating new business opportunities in 2021 requires constant innovation and dynamic adaptation. No one knows when the next crisis will hit us, and how it will manifest itself.

Here, look at four trends that, in the future, will be crucial to a company’s ability to maintain a foothold and operate a business that is ready to adapt and be competitive.

The agile IT landscape
Long before the pandemic took hold, many forward-thinking companies had begun to consider placing their IT setup in the cloud to boost their digital transformation. What held them back was the sweeping changes that would inevitably accompany a transition of that scale.

However, the risks of moving into the cloud have now been overshadowed by the risk of not doing it. Ever since the pandemic has become part of everyone's lives, we have seen an immense rise in companies moving more and more data into the cloud – including with Microsoft Azure and AWS' market-leading platforms, which are the two primary cloud services supported by us in NNIT. The advantage of using cloud solutions is that they deliver greater flexibility, scalability, and availability, making it it possible to work in a more agile manner and respond more quickly to market demand – without compromising on data security. Among other things, we notice that Continuous Delivery systems such as Azure DevOps and Jira are seeing increasingly widespread use, and we can see that where NNIT's DevOps services used to be for the few, we now support many of our customers as standard.

Within the past year, many companies have also begun to standardize and automate their IT infrastructure. In this way, they can more easily ensure that both infrastructure and applications are updated and renewed in step with technological developments, as well as the changing needs that arise on an ongoing basis. It also becomes possible to roll out infrastructure and application components more quickly where they are needed.

Core business based on data
Recently, the vast majority of organizations have been shaken to the core of their business, and with a new everyday life where even the short-term future is uncertain, at NNIT we are convinced that the core business of the future will be built around data.

Among other things, one of the trends we are seeing right now is an increasing need for real-time synchronization of data between backend and frontend systems, so that one can immediately react to, and act on, changes that occur. If you want to make the most of your IT setup, as a company, you need to start thinking more like a software company, so that you have the knowledge required to be able to optimize, automate and standardize your IT processes and workflows.

When it comes to the good customer experience, data is also crucial. The more data you have to work with, the better you will be able to customize and optimize the customer experience. However, for this to be possible, employees must be equipped with the right tools – i.e., through Microsoft's Dynamics 365 and Power Platform, which optimize the quality of collaboration and allow employees to perform year after year.

We believe that happy employees create happy customers - and happy customers buy more.

Modular IT architecture
We have long talked about Micro services and observed a trend where container platforms like Kubernetes and OpenShift have matured and become more mainstream in our customers' infrastructure.

The thinking behind Micro services and modular IT architectures has been getting great acceptance within the past few months, and we see that more and more companies are adopting the principles behind the modular approach at both the organizational and infrastructural levels.

The advantage of a modular setup is that you can switch to a "Design for Legacy" principle, where you can continuously add or replace one or more modules without affecting the rest of your IT system. This makes companies who take this route far more resilient and adaptable to future opportunities, as dictated by the current high-paced development in IT.

Among other things we see that, along with container technologies and API services, integration platforms improve flexibility and security as the new cornerstones of the companies of the future.

Improved cyber security
Despite the fact that COVID-19 gave many companies the boost they needed to accelerate the digital transformation and reap the benefits of this transition, there is a flip side.

With increased digitization, the likelihood of being hit by a cyber-attack has gone from the probable to the inevitable. As a resilient company, you cannot settle for just being able to resist attacks. You also need to be able to quickly identify and respond to threats the moment they arise.

A useful tool in this context is artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), which, in the future, will identify the behavior of the cyber-attack rather than its fingerprint.

This will not just enable a much better identification, but it will also make it easier to predict the next move, so that automated or manual action plans can be executed quickly.