Discussions surrounding digital transformation were key themes at this year’s DataCloud Europe conference in Monaco. It’s clear we’re entering a bold new world where products and services are being redefined with amazing speed and how we consume and use technology is changing beyond all recognition.

IT and facilities live in the same world

Collaboration was a recurring theme in Monaco; understanding and respecting the challenges of both the IT and facilities world, and using common delivery methods to deliver and operate in harmony. It is clear over time the lines have blurred between IT and facilities teams. Very soon these teams will surely integrate further into a single discipline.

This will call for a new approach on traditional delivery models, where a clear understanding of how IT and engineering are co-dependent will be required. Increasingly, customers are looking for speed to market and want partners who can manage the full lifecycle of a project. This encompasses not just the construction and engineering stages, but also the commissioning of critical infrastructure. Integration of BIM and data center infrastructure management (DCIM) offers truly exciting ways of working and will give clients vastly more analytical data to make proactive decisions.

Open source or fail

The digital revolution is pointing us towards open source standards for both software and hardware. This is driving businesses to work together to provide scalable, flexible and analytical solutions. The future suggests that no single product or service provider will be the answer to the problem, but instead it will be the connected sum of many.

Customers no longer want to be tied down with proprietary systems and traditional ways of working with suppliers and partners. Customers expect a grown-up approach where companies work together to achieve the best results. Silos and contractual ways of working will be consigned to history and transparency throughout the supply chain will be the norm. Cooperation will drive previously competing companies to develop open source products and services to give customers the best quality and outstanding value. Construction, facilities and manufacturing businesses will work proactively with software developers to push the boundaries of what is possible and challenge traditional ways of thinking.

Hyperscale meets edge

Following the last few years of phenomenal growth in hyperscale data centres and campuses to support them, it is clear there is still a growing demand for this scale of facility. However, emerging technologies are also driving a market for new edge data centers. These are smaller, flexible data centres which link back to the hyperscale campuses. The aim is to have operations which are even closer to the consumer and address business issues such as speed to market, service level agreements and latency.

New technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT) are driving this need, along with the move towards smart buildings, smart cities and a smarter planet. IoT devices continually collect data and poll information back to edge data centers for storage and processing. By working seamlessly together, edge and hyperscale data centers will process enormous volumes of data faster than ever before, supporting the new products and services that continue to change our everyday lives.

Matthew Roche is the managing director of Technology Solutions, a digital consultancy service from ISG.