Smarter Tech for the Next Reality - How your business can innovate responsibly

Smarter Tech for the Next Reality - How your business can innovate responsibly

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Hello everyone and welcome to the show. I am Linda Grasso, CEO at DeltalogiX and Digital Creator. What is my mission? Knowledge translation for business leaders. Basically, I like to transform complex concepts like artificial intelligence and IoT into easy ones to understand and implement inside companies.

For example, to better explain the differences among types of cloud computing services. So infrastructure as a service, platform as a service, software as a service, and let's say everything as a service. I love using the metaphor of pizza. Well, why pizza? Well, first of all, because I come from Italy and you may already notice it from my accent, but also because, you won't believe it, but it is really effective. And I am also sustainability passionate.

So today's topic is innovating responsibly. So basically, what will we talk about? The paradigm shift of digital transformation which is revolutionizing the world we are living in and how companies can benefit from synergy between technology and sustainability. Also thanks to some real-life case studies as well. But without further ado, let's find out more. Digital transformation. How many times have you heard these two words lately? Let me guess.

Certainly a lot. But if you think digital transformation is the integration of digital technologies into all areas of the business, I suggest you pay attention to what we are going to talk about, since you will understand why this statement is not entirely correct. Basically, companies can no longer resist change if they don't innovate their processes by relying on new technologies. And if they don't go digital, well, they risk losing significant market share. However, the point is, when we speak of going digital, do we intend digitization, digitalization or digital transformation? Well, despite the many debates and the increasingly pervasive entry of digital technologies in companies, there is some confusion when trying to define these three phenomena that have now become part of all business glossaries.

But basically, what is the difference among them? First, digitization means converting a product or service from analogue to digital. For example, the conversion of a film from DVD format to streaming. And inside offices, it means the elimination of countless sheets, folders and files. Digitally encoded data has not only taken up considerably less pace, but has also become easy to access, transport and manage. Plus, it's a green innovation that drastically reduces paper consumption, but we'll deepen the sustainability topic shortly.

And thinking about a business trip today and taking all the stuff with you in a material format may seem crazy, doesn't it? But actually, it wasn't so many years ago. Thus, digitization was a fundamental first step, without which we couldn't speak of digitalization and digital transformation today. Then, let's move further with the definition of digitalization, which is the creation of new business models enabled by digitization. With digitalization, we go beyond turning documents into bits and bytes. The concept of shifting to digital involves business processes, roles and functions.

Simply put, digitalization makes working methods more efficient thanks to the optimization of time and resources. Entire business processes can be transformed, creating value for the companies, but also for the end customer. So, to go digital, you have to rethink the entire organization of work, from data collection to their storage, up to the analysis of business flows. What to change, how to do it, how much to invest and on which resources.

Finally, the natural conclusion of the path is to arrive at the definition of digital transformation, which represents a systemic restructuring of all aspects of companies, a phenomenon that involves not only technology, but also strategy and mindset change. Interacting with the outside world through the smartphone, for example, is an effect of digital transformation. And I like to say that digital transformation is a journey, not a destination. And you may be thinking, "Why should I embark on this journey?" Well, to answer this question, let's analyse the market.

Today's consumers are increasingly aware when purchasing a product or service, and choose companies that provide a personalized experience. Those companies not only need to focus on process efficiency to ensure high quality with low expenditure of resources, but they also have to create value and improve customer experience. And to achieve these results quickly and increase your competitive advantage in the market, it is essential to make the most of the fusion of technology, strategy and culture. In short, you need a ticket to embark on the digital transformation journey.

And initially, the investment may seem onerous, but the long term benefits will be worth the effort, mostly if you consider innovation in a responsible way, and here we enter the core of the conversation. Indeed, innovation is a pillar to survive. However, a question arises spontaneously, can we really call it innovation if no sustainable future is insured? Well, I would rather say we should focus on innovating responsibly by creating the synergy between technology and sustainability. That's great, isn't it? But how is it possible to do so? I mean, one thing is the theory and another one is the practice.

But let's analyse together some real life stories of how technology and sustainability can work hand in hand to drive better business value. Sustainable development aims to satisfy your needs without compromising the possibilities of future generations. In the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the United Nations address issues related to environment and climate change, but not only. The 17 goals to be achieved also incorporate economic and gender inequalities and with reference to business, sustainable patterns of production and consumption. Unfortunately, the percentage of companies that decided to take action to make their contribution to sustainability is still not enough.

Yet there are some virtuous examples to follow. Let's have a look at the following video. People at Lenovo are focusing their efforts on technological innovation, but without losing sight of green goals. In fact, I recently had the opportunity to read Lenovo's latest ESG report and found out the following insights I would like to share with you.

By 2030, there will be an increase in the energy efficiency of desktops and servers by 50% and mobile phones and notebooks by 30%. They are designing packaging to use more sustainable materials like bamboo and sugarcane, and a more sustainable rock and roll shipping method for servers. In the next three-four years, 84% of repairs will be done without having to send the PC to a service centre and 76% of PC parts returned to the service centre will be repaired for future use. They offer a suite of services and workshops to support customer sustainability goals, including asset recovery service, bulk packaging, and tailored workshops to meet customer needs and goals. Indeed, adopting a sustainable approach is not a trivial matter for companies. Nevertheless, the ones recognized as possibly affecting climate change have seen their results outperform since consumers value green initiatives more and more.

And speaking of it, an interesting statistic shows that 57% of consumers would change their purchasing habits to reduce negative environmental impact. 77% of consumers say it is important that brands are sustainable and environmentally responsible, and 71% consider traceability to be very important and are willing to pay a premium for brands that provide it. That means the return on investment is worth the effort and companies will be able to improve their products and services in a smarter way.

So we've just analysed how it is possible to enhance technology through sustainability and the impact that green innovation can have on business performance. But like any self-respecting synergy, there is also the vice versa to consider. Namely, the power of technology to enhance sustainability. But let's start from a matter of fact. As companies are embarking on the journey towards digital transformation, the journey that we mentioned before, well, there is something which is becoming more and more precious for them to manage. What is that? Data.

I mentioned the enormous amount of data generated every second from people and devices worldwide. Well, billions and billions of data which need to be processed and safely stored in the data centres. Through the use of new technologies, such as Internet of Things and artificial intelligence, well, these numbers will continue to increase dynamically in the coming years. However, data centres don't magically work on their own.

Of course, they require energy which consequently means large quantities of carbon emissions in the atmosphere day by day by day. And according to the Borderstep Institute, the energy requirements of data centres have almost doubled over the past ten years and well, the growth certainly won't stop in the near future. But we cannot ignore the urgency of the situation. We definitely need to act now.

And if you are wondering what you can do as a company, well, the answer is tackling the challenge together with the CIOs and your IT team. In order to cope with the future growth of digital services and at the same time reduce the energy hunger of their IT infrastructure, CIOs must invest in innovative energy efficiency technologies and architectures at all levels. And the final goal for companies should be the transformation of data centres in direction towards climate neutrality. So the so called net zero computing. And about that, I would like to mention the HCI, hyperconvergence infrastructure. Sounds familiar? Well, let's deepen the topic.

For a long time, the tree tier infrastructure has been a common standard in the design and operation of data centres and still offers a high level of reliability today. However, with the increasing environmental awareness of companies and increased regulatory restrictions, data centres have come under increasing pressure in the recent years to move, well, towards sustainable technologies. So the traditional three tier architecture with its three main components, so servers, storage, and network switches, requires a particularly high level of energy for operation. And additionally, due to the large hardware volumes required, not only the operation but also the manufacturing, transportation and end of life leave a significant environmental footprint in the overall product life cycle. On the other hand, we have the HCI, which combines the server and the storage units into a single unit and virtualizes them through software defined functionalities, as we can see from the following representation by Nutanix.

In addition, a central management solution coordinates the components for optimal performance, and this approach can provide considerable benefits. First, the amount of hardware required in the data centre can be reduced significantly. This has a major impact on the required energy to run the IT infrastructure, and that is very good.

And secondly, the operation of the IT infrastructure needs a significant amount of thermal heat, which has to be compensated by energy intensive cooling. And because HCI infrastructure uses less hardware and generates less waste heat, there is also less need for necessary cooling. Regarding the matter, I have recently come across a compelling case study I'd like to analyse with you that is about an industry I am keen on, and if you follow me on social media, you may know that it's education.

The main character is Canterbury Christ Church University. So the IT systems, of course, are critical to the day to day running of the campus. And to refresh the infrastructure, they chose the Nutanix Hyperconverged solution in combo with Lenovo Think Agile HX Series. What is the outcome? Well, besides space saving and simplified management, certainly an improvement in energy efficiency. So in short, they say the migration enabled the university to do more with less, and I definitely love this concept. In conclusion, digital technologies alone are not enough.

We all need to work together to build a more sustainable future. And about that, I would love to close with an inspiring quote by Gandhi which states, "A better planet is a dream that begins to come true when each of us decides to improve ourselves." Thank you very much for attending and see you in the Q and A session soon.

2022-07-28 08:38

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