We are living through a period of unprecedented technology-enabled change. In this era of radical transformation, business cycles have been compressed from years or decades to weeks and days. The most visible example of this shift came in spring 2020, when the world’s biggest companies transferred hundreds of thousands of workers from offices to homes. What might once have been an intractable challenge was completed quickly and successfully.


The pandemic has been the catalyst for many other innovations, from the adoption of hybrid working to the creation of new online channels to market. Across all these innovations, one technology above all others is the enabler: cloud computing. Ground-level developments in cloud technologies, such as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS), have provided the foundations for businesses to shift their businesses models effectively. On top of this cloud-enabled base, companies have adopted Software as a Service (SaaS) applications to transform how employees and customers access services over the web.


In this report, we examine the demand factors promoting change together with associated developments in infrastructure technologies, such as software-defined networks. We conclude that today’s tower structures and private network technologies, such as virtual private networks and multiprotocol label switching, are no longer relevant within a digital economy. Instead, CIOs and CTOs must consider new approaches that merge their infrastructures into integrated IT architectures based on microservices and cloud platforms. This new approach calls for a rapid assessment of current assets and operating processes, and a roadmap towards fully integrated digital platforms based on public cloud services.


We thank the contributors to this research from many of the world’s leading banks, insurance firms and telecommunication companies. We also thank the sponsors of the research, Hitachi Vantara, who are helping organisations around the globe to readjust to the new realities of next-generation infrastructure models.

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