Workplaces are evolving. This is driven by social trends as well as demographic shifts and technology innovation. While this evolution offers opportunities for organizations it also comes with some challenges. The following are some examples of topics to be aware when shaping the future workplace – all will be discussed in detail at Fujitsu Forum Europe (a dedicated breakout session about The Future Workplace is on Nov 18th at 1pm).
Information overload vs. igniting work productivity
Will the data & information revolution help people doing better work? Or will it rather overload workers and let them get lost in complexity? Shouldn’t we rather aim at a collaboration revolution? The future workplace should unleash the people’s full potential, and let them be themselves. This should not happen in an anarchistic way – but driven and managed by corporate ICT.
The social-work-management dilemma
There are trends in society on work styles that create new conflicts. E.g. the trend of urbanization today can only be kept under control by strict rules, but the growing desire of individuality needs space and freedom. Likewise, CxOs look for control and structure, while employees are asking for flexibility.
IT workplaces – is the CIO still in the driver seat, or is it the user?
Over the recent years many employees claim that their personal hardware and software are more useful for their work than what they get from corporate IT. Many even find their local coffee shop a more productive work space than their company’s office. How can we change this? We want to get the CIO back in the driver seat of IT, and help them providing workers the best possible workplace.
Generation Y and their impact on workplaces and ICT
Across the globe organizations are battling in the race for young talents. To be among the winners you need to be an attractive employer to this young generation. But those millennials have different expectations for a workplace than the generations before.
We would like to discuss the challenges and potentials of this move, and show options on how to make best use of this.
How does the future workplace look like?
Managers are often still looking for tight structures, CIOs want full control over the users’ ICT and assuring security. At the same time employees are aiming for a higher degree on freedom and flexibility.
How do we marry staff happiness with ICT efficiency, and thus empower employees to use their full potential in the way that is most appropriate for them?
Join my breakout session “The Future Workplace – Nov 18th, 1.00 pm“, room 13a at Fujitsu Forum Munich, where I will discuss the workplace evolution, a view on trends & scenarios for the workforce as well the impact on IT, and give recommendations for organizations to shape the best workplace and be an attractive employer.
Let’s talk about backup. Wait, don’t run away! All right, I know it’s a sticky subject, but ignoring is not going to make anything better. Why is it that people don’t like backup? Because it’s such a pain. And why is it such a pain? Well? Because your storage is a mess. Good, now we’re getting somewhere, but you will need to suffer just a little bit more. But I promise you’ll feel better, real soon! So. Why do you think your storage became that sort of a mess? Be honest. It’s because it just sort of grew as time went by. Well, if it’s any comfort, there’s a lot of that going around. In fact, small-to-medium enterprises are notorious for their less-than-stellar storage infrastructures.
Now, let me get one thing straight: storage is evolutionary, and it could not be anything else. There are no revolutions in storage, because revolutionizing storage, your storage, would mean ripping out the old and installing a shiny new system-that-does-it-all. First, that’s expensive, and second, what are you going to do with the data while the technicians put in the new gear?
It still pays to take a long, hard look at what you are using, and at what you might be using. Most of what you have is probably good to stay, but you might consider a new approaching to managing it. Consider what you would want, and what your people would love to have. What you want is security for your data and a lid on costs, while your people would basically want to do things as they have until now.
Believe it or not, there is a solution. Modern storage management lets you centralize data while still leaving individual users with their own personal arrangements, all the while ensuring efficiency, for instance, avoiding inadvertent backup of several versions of the same document. And centralized storage does not need to mean spending a lot of money: virtualization is one way to unify management without having to replace a lot of hardware.
If you do consider centralized storage (and you probably should), look beyond today. Why? Well, your system did evolve in the past, didn’t it? And so what do you think it will do in the future? Get it? Exactly: your system will grow organically, as it always has. So what is important is that you allow for growth and increasing complexity in the solution you choose. After all, it’s that growth and increasing complexity that generated the headache you have now.
So take heart: there is a solution to your storage problem, and it does not require you to boil the ocean. What you will need to do is take a long, hard look at your requirements today and tomorrow and to choose the right supplier. Chances are, choosing just one supplier will mean spending a little more money, but in return, you’ll get valuable advice and assistance in building a future-proof system. Once that’s in place, backup will no longer be a pain. Just the opposite: the peace of mind knowing that your data is safe, will make you feel good. So be good to yourself, invest in a modern storage system. You’ll be glad you did.
Experience Fujitsu´s ETERNUS CS Backup Appliances live at Fujitsu Forum 2015 in Munich!
Let us imagine a shopping trip that is 100% connected: Connected to the store, connected to all the product specifications (details, price, availability…) and connected to consumer experience. What would it be like?
The traditional way of shopping will be gone. Imagine full-body scanners that measure your size and advise you on the clothes that best fit your body; imagine changing-room mirrors that provide style advice and propose a perfect accessory; imagine virtual projections in changing-rooms that advise and allow shoppers to try on clothes without getting undressed – and imagine getting a phone message when you arrive in a store that simply says “Welcome” or “We have special offers for you today”. Change is already here and more is on the way.
The point-of-sales will change the way it operates. The boom in technology, economic conditions and the increasing trend in “sustainable consumptions” are changing a consumer’s shopping behavior and expectations. Over the next 15 years a new picture of retailing will emerge. The hyper-connected world has changed the game of retailing forever. Consequently, retailers will have to cope with a challenging reality: change or become obsolete. Many brands are ready to take on the challenge of a connected retail world. For example, one high-tech retailer invites customers to scan staff uniforms so that they can continue their conversation at home. A famous cosmetic brand is testing consumer experience with make-up apps by letting virtually consumers try more than 300 cosmetic products. Another example is a store in Seattle which does not have clothes in racks or piles; its shop is like an art gallery where only one piece of each article is displayed. Consumers then use their smartphones to tag the item, select a size and color, and the items are then waiting for them in the changing-room. All this will indeed simplify the shopping trip of the future.
All these changes are the result of an increase in customer expectations. As Stuart Rose, the former CEO of M&S and Chairman of Ocado, said “The consumer is not king, he is master of the universe.” The customer makes the rules and retailers have to react. Consumers will not give you a second opportunity regarding fit, speed, delivery or returns. You will have to know your customer, to adapt to the customer and ensure a high channel convergence (anything, anywhere, anytime). This will be possible thanks to close collaboration between the retailer and technology solution providers who will take on the challenge together. By 2025, the consumer and you as a retailer will be constantly connected.
This is exciting and is happening now. What is your vision of the future and your connected retail consumer experience? Retail technology solutions will increasingly become a tool, providing a seamless and intense experience across the channels; a place where consumers can test, research, compare, look again, and order for home delivery or from a buy in-store. Together, we can already take on the “digital store” challenge by developing innovative retail solutions applications for tomorrow in order to transform your customer shopping experience and meet your customer’s digital expectations.
Visit us at Fujitsu Forum 2015 in order to find out how Fujitsu can support you in this new connected shopping experience challenge.
When you talk about “infrastructures,” most people – including IT professionals – automatically envision a few hundred desktops, dozens of servers, and a bunch of dedicated storage systems. But the truth is, they start building those infrastructures much earlier, with the purchase of their first server. So it’s all the more important to buy the right system from the get-go – one that’s flexible enough to fit into varying usage scenarios and serve as a building block for expanding environments. Fujitsu’s refreshed trio of mono-socket PRIMERGY rack and tower servers meets both demands.
So-called infrastructure issues are much more common than we think. They usually start when a small company or start-up decides to migrate certain data and/or applications away from the desktops and onto a central server for easier access. This ‘first dedicated server’ will quite frequently be a mono-socket system, i.e. one that features a single CPU, varying amounts of RAM, limited internal storage space, and a set of management tools. At first sight, building such a system may not seem like much of a challenge. But that definitely changes once you understand that it will have to be powerful enough to help improve application performance, flexible enough to fit into a steadily growing environment and cost-effective enough to not outrun tight budget limits. Fujitsu’s revamped mono-socket PRIMERGYs excel in all three disciplines.
For small environments with high demands: PRIMERGY TX1320 M2
The Fujitsu Server PRIMERGY TX1320 M2 can be best described as the Smart (or for older readers: the Mini) among servers. Its ultra-compact design and low noise emissions make it a perfect ‘companion system’ for all environments where space is scarce such as offices, showrooms, or doctor’s practices. And while it looks like a PC, the PRIMERGY TX1320 M2 has enough power under the hood to perform classic file, print, mail and web server tasks or even run terminal services, all for up to roughly 50 users. In fact, it performed 18.7% better than its predecessor and outclassed a competing system by 37.9% in recent SPECpower benchmark tests.1 But while performance is a strong argument, it sometimes fails to convince users who take a more conservative approach. In these cases, the system’s inherent flexibility may make a difference: customers can choose between ten different processors – seven of which belong to Intel’s Xeon® E3-1200 v5 family as well as three types of DDR4 memory modules with a maximum configuration that holds 64 GB of RAM. The PRIMERGY TX1320 M2 may be fitted with up to six 2.5 inch, SAS/SATA HDD/SSD or alternatively two 3.5 inch, SAS/SATA HDDs, thus providing enough space for anywhere between 720 GB and 6 TB of information; further expansion to 12 TB is planned for a later date. Finally, each model comes with four PCIe slots to connect to fast external storage. For more information, please see the data sheet.
Expandable all-round server for SMBs: PRIMERGY TX1330 M2
The Fujitsu Server PRIMERGY TX1330 M2 replaces, or rather merges the formerly distinct models TX150 S8 and TX1330 M1 and comes along as the slightly bigger cousin of the TX1320. Hence, the technical specifications are very much alike: the standard size tower server uses the same processors, memory modules, and controllers, has an identical amount of PCIe slots, and will accommodate the same amount of users. There are, however, three major differences. First, the PRIMERGY TX1330 M2 can house up to twelve 3.5 inch HDDs or up to 24 smaller 2.5 inch HDDs or SSDs, thus offering up to 72 TB of internal storage space. Second, it comes with redundant power supplies and fans, which means it provides basic HA features needed to run mail or small database servers and standard business applications. Third, it excels in terms of storage flexibility/expandability: aside from ‘fixed’ HDD or SSD configurations, users may also opt for a mixed setup, since they allow users to meet both requirements at the same time, without having to deploy separate servers or at least controllers. Moreover, it’s possible to roll out complete SAS 3.0 topologies for highest performance and easy upgrades with easy-to-order drive bundles. And finally, backup or optical disk drives are available even if all HDD or SSD bays are occupied. For more information, please refer to the data sheet.
Small, affordable and feature-rich: PRIMERGY RX1330 M2
The FUJITSU Server PRIMERGY RX1330 M2 is a mono-socket rack server designed for companies with small IT budgets; yet one that supports a full range of expansions to best meet individual demands. With its Intel® Xeon® E3-1200 v5 processors and up to 64 GB RAM, it has enough juice to act as a file server or power infrastructure and communication applications while data can be stored on up to ten internal disk drives. To get the best value for money, customers can choose between three ‘storage architectures’: a “many drives” version that relies exclusively on 2.5 inch SAS/SATA HDDs or SSDs, a “maximum capacity” version equipped with up to four 3.5 inch drives and 12 TB of disk space, and an “all-round” version that supports up to eight 2.5 inch units plus BD or DVD drives. Moreover, three PCIe slots (2 x 3.0, 1 x 2.0) ensure connectivity to external storage. And to top things off, a bunch of optional features and extensions – e.g. RAID controllers, redundant fans and hot-plug PSUs, and support for virtual graphics processors and our energy-efficient Cool-safe® ATD design – assure that the PRIMERGY RX1330 M2 will work flawlessly in a wide variety of scenarios ranging from NAS through collaboration to admin console. Detailed information is here.
As per usual, all models come with our ServerView® Management Suite pre-installed. What’s more, the PRIMERGY RX1330 M2 and TX1330 M2 may also be fitted with our new Integrated Battery Backup Unit (FJBU) that replaces a standard redundant PSU and enables a graceful shutdown in case of a power failure. If you want to learn more before you can touch & feel, just listen to what our colleagues learned about the new monos in this video.
Availability and Pricing
All new mono-socket servers described above are available for order and will ship from December 21, 2015. Prices vary by model and configuration. For everybody interested in hands-on experience, they will be showcased at the Fujitsu Forum in Munich next week. In addition, a webcast is planned for November 27.
 Competitive benchmark results stated above reflect results published on www.spec.org as of November 11, 2015. The comparisons presented above are based on the best performing 1-socket server in SPECpower_ssj2008.↩
I am very much looking forward to Fujitsu Forum Munich next week. I’m biased of course. It’s always a great event, and not only because it happens to include a beer festival on the first night!
I’ll be hosting a break out session together with Kenny MacIver, the editor of I-CIO.com, the digital publication that Fujitsu sponsors.
In the session, Kenny and I will be showcasing some of the industry figures who have featured in the publication over the last year – from CIOs, to academics to head-hunters – and we’ll be talking about what they have had to say. We have put together the session as seven burning issues that CIOs and their teams should be thinking about in 2016.
Here’s a flavour:
- Digital transformation. Digital is the word on everyone’s lips and at the top of today’s CIO agenda. Digital really means using technology in ways that directly impact the ability of a business to create value – rather than indirectly as we have used in the past. Whether that’s smart, connected products, rich customer experiences or using information to develop valuable business insights, digital is the opportunity that businesses have to innovate and grow.
But according to Peter Hinssen, the digital visionary and author, “technology stopped being nice”. It is now a disruptive force, that can change the way businesses and even entire industries create value. The key message from Peter is that in the digital era, value comes from connecting things together, rather than from managing resources in silos as we’ve done in the past.
- Human meets digital. We also see and read a lot about a wearable tech. Until I watched David Bulman’s piece on I-CIO – he was Director of Technology at Virgin Atlantic Airways at the time we recorded it – I confess I saw wearable as more of a consumer than an enterprise. Not so!
David says “We see a use-case for wearables for every individual in the corporation” and offers some convincing examples of how they are applying it. He uses the example of the turnaround co-ordinator, who have the unenviable job of completing all the ground logistics and checks to get planes back into the air, who could not easily use a PC or tablet.
Even traditionally white collar industries like financial services could have huge applications. As David observes, isn’t it better to look a customer in the eye rather than peering from behind a screen at a desk?
- The ‘app economy’. It may be a cliché that ‘software is eating the world’, but these words contain a fundamental truth about how code and algorithms are transforming the way things work. Mike Gregoire, CEO of CA Technologies notes that “companies like Bank of America now have more developers than Microsoft.”
What Mike is really describing is a change in the value proposition of software. The importance of software is now as a differentiator for organisations. It’s not just about that bottom line any more – cutting costs, increasing efficiency – but the top line – attracting customers, growing your business. And for a CIO it’s not just about creating software but how we can innovate continuously and scale rapidly.
- Data: joining the dots. A consequence of living in a digitalised world is data, and lots of it. But Sonja Chirico Indrebø, CIO of Statoil, argues that the most value comes from data when you can connect across different sources, and even different disciplines. She gives examples in Statoil of successfully sharing data between drilling and exploration, and between finance and geology.
The role of IT is to enable this, and make sure the data is accessible and of good quality. Her key point is the data – and the insights it contains – belongs to the business, not to IT. It is for the business to pull the data, not for IT to push it. As Sonja says: “We can only make things change if there is curiosity in how you can do things differently.”
- Breaking business models. We couldn’t cover a list of burning issues without including the Internet of Things (IoT). Vito Di Bari is an Innovation Designer, who, among other things, was a key contributer to the design of this years Milan Expo. Vito’s view is the IoT will create an economic renaissance, similar in scale to the impact of electricity. Connecting the objects around us, making them smart, challenges way that traditional products and services create value.
Everything will be reinvented. “Everything has to be redesigned, re-engineered, re-sold.” Vito’s key point is that none of this matters unless you also include people. It only makes sense if it is the internet of things and people.
- The CIO balancing act. Martha Heller, a CIO Headhunter, has some great insights into the world of the CIO. She sees CIOs trapped by a paradox. On the one hand, the CIO has to support an increasingly complex and risky set of technologies and services. At the same time the business is relying on IT to provide the innovation it needs to grow.
She makes the case that the CIO is uniquely constrained. Marketing and HR executives are not shackled by decisions their predecessors made 15 years ago.
So the CIO has to try and achieve balance. Balance between the archive systems which keep the business running, and the innovative, future looking systems that the organisation is relying on to grow – or even to stay in business. It is no easy task. “Technology is a challenging function for even the most talented executive to lead”, says Martha.
- The pace of change. We’ve covered six issues so far, but there’s one that effects all of the others. It effects everything from how a CIO sets strategy, how they deliver business value and how they organise and manage what they do: the accelerating pace of change.
Erik Brynjolfsson, Professor of Digital Business at MIT and co-author of The Second Machine Age, observes that humans are bad at estimating the effects of exponential trends. Even as a professor of digital technology, Erik underestimated the ability of computers to be created that could drive a car.
We must be prepared for technology to do things and take us to places we never expected. This may sound a little scary. And it is. But the opportunity is to use technology and create value on a whole different scale to anything that has come before.
That’s the seven. So if you find some of these topics and issues, do come to the session to find out more.