Smart Business May Cause CIOs Restless Nights, But Interconnection Is a Sleep-Aid

Mark Anderson

smart-business-thinker

In an earlier blog, we discussed how this year’s theme from the Gartner 2015 Symposium/ITXpo in Barcelona was a continuation of last year’s push to get CIOs to drive bi-modal IT in their organizations (merging new digital technologies with legacy infrastructures). As if the job of the CIO wasn’t hard enough, Gartner urged CIOs to build new connection platforms to interconnect their services with those of their partners and customers. This is something we know quite a bit about at Equinix because we help enterprises prepare for the hugely disruptive force that “algorithmic business” will bring.

Algorithmic or “smart” business transactions are characterized by systems taking autonomous control of business processes and making decisions based upon a myriad of inputs from big data analysis and Internet of Things sensors. These systems will be everywhere and will challenge old economic models by becoming the primary customer, acting for themselves or as proxies for people or businesses.

For example, your car may be able to tell you when it needs a service and even which components need replacing. But in 2020, when your car autonomously goes online to find a competitive service rate, books itself an appointment, drives there on the appointed day, receives the service and then pays for it itself ̶ who was the customer of record? You or your car?

How smart business could change everything

Hyper-connected, algorithmically-based business challenges how we need to think about business transactions. Smart business affects a number of varied user models: people interactions, user intents and purposes, payment identity and consumption history, interests and likes, and locations and past movements. To enable security and the immutability of such dynamic algorithmic business transactions to protect them against modifications, we will need to be certain how data and information is stored, forwarded and changed (specifically, who changed it and why). This is where an exciting new technology can help enable smart business and will be key to future information exchanges. It’s called blockchain.

Today, we know about blockchain in the context of the virtual currency Bitcoin. According to Wikipedia it is “a distributed database that maintains a continuously growing list of transactional data records that are hardened against tampering and revision.” A blockchain is a ledger of transactions, but instead of being centralized, which would make it hard to scale and easy to hack, it provides Bitcoin with a decentralized global ledger, distributed across a network of nodes. It also provides a protocol for the validation of transactions and the immutability of transactions across networks, systems and companies.

The areas of disruption for business are endless with blockchaining. It changes how proof of ownership is done, how systems securely network with each other, how digital identity works, and how the transfer of equity or digital transfer of goods operates. All of it requires a higher level of interconnection.

Our customers come to Equinix to leverage its more than 100 global data centers and interconnection destinations and to harness the power of our Interconnection Oriented Architecture (IOA). Equinix’s IOA is a transformative approach to interconnecting people, locations, clouds and data by integrating physical and virtual worlds where they meet. It shifts the fundamental delivery architecture of IT from siloed and centralized to internetworked and colocated. IOA works perfectly with the distributed blockchain model because it enables the direct, secure and reliable interconnection required to maintain the integrity of its validation and the immutability services.

To realize a smart, algorithmic business-enabled future, our sleepless CIOs must change how they view their consumers, how they interact with their partners/suppliers, and how their technology works with all of their business models. … But first, they need to rethink how they interconnect.

Learn more about what Equinix’s Interconnection Oriented Architecture can do for your business.