Working smarter (not harder) will be key to building on the solid foundations laid in 2020
Many of us breathed a sigh of relief when the year rolled over to 1st January 2021. Last year wasn’t the easiest, in many respects. However, the good news is that this year, the dedication, commitment and innovative solutions we developed will flourish and make a larger difference – not only for Schneider Electric but for our customers and partners.
Why is there such optimism?
Digital transformation has clearly accelerated worldwide because of the challenges of 2020. We are better positioned to support demand and are building back better and more sustainably for the years to come. Analysts including Canalys expect this to continue in 2021 pending macro-economic difficulties, not least because data management represents ongoing opportunities to solve customer challenges.
The demands on data centres for robust, reliable and secure power won’t go away in 2021. At Schneider Electric, we believe that solutions that support digitisation and resilience, especially across distributed teams and in the cloud, will continue to be key for many customers worldwide – reducing vulnerabilities to unplanned downtime, whilst optimising cost, speed and capital to increase return on investment.
There’s a growing enthusiasm for more complex solutions, delivered to users across a consolidated commercial or industrial environment. These require an array of innovative offerings and support solutions as AI and hyper-automation digital transformation trends continue.
A non-exclusive list of areas where growth will come includes automation, 5G, edge, IoT, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI). Anything, potentially, that supports developing use cases from healthcare to security and expanding consumer requirements in communications and home entertainment.
Driving a Partner and Customer focused approach
In addition, analysts predict that some larger infrastructure and cloud projects delayed last year may be restarted in 2021. What this also means is that great teamwork and close relationships with partners and customers will be crucial to enable true responsiveness to customer dynamics and shifting requirements.
With the right approach, I believe 2021 can be a strong year for all of us. So, I’d like to encourage all our team members, partners and customers to double-down on requirements, and sharpen our focus on growth and business coherence.
At Schneider Electric, we understand that only by working closely with all our partners – and customers – can we continue to perform and lead our industry sectors, whether the area in question is complete physical infrastructure solutions for data centres, distributed IT environments, or industrial applications.
The complexities with which our customers must engage in 2021 will entail collaboration and communication at the highest levels. Transparent communications and open conversations with our customers are essential to help them make the most of deploying smarter technologies and flexible services, to solve real-world problems and business issues at pace whilst controlling costs.
The future landscape of digital transformation
Here are a few figures that show the scale of this year’s challenge. IDC has predicted that in 2021, 75% of enterprises globally will have recognised the benefits of consuming technology as a service, tripling demand for on-prem infrastructure to be delivered flexibly as a service.
By the following year, spend on AI-enabled and secure-edge infrastructure is expected to quadruple for some 80% of organizations that adopt a hybrid model of business.
By 2023, 75% of Global 2000 IT organizations will adopt automated operations practises to transform their IT workforce to support unprecedented scale, according to IDC. And those are just three examples that illustrate these technological shifts.
Certainly, progress worldwide in 2020 has been uneven. The Asia-Pacific region has perhaps stayed stronger in some respects through the pandemic, with a quicker rebound than expected in 2021. Other regions, including Europe, may have a longer distance to travel.
However, data plays a key role everywhere. Data centres themselves have become essential utilities – as important as electricity. Not only do essential data centres need to respond dynamically in real time to changing conditions, but they need to support customers who are themselves increasingly reliant on agility that can be supported by data-based analytics and business insights.
IDC believes that most digitally transformed enterprises will become reliant on infrastructure metrics for optimization, resiliency and enhanced decision-making by 2023. We and our partners can fulfil these increasingly exacting customer requirements by leveraging, as one example, our EcoStruxure IT Expert solution, to provide next-generation AI analytics.
New opportunities for Partners and Customers
At Schneider Electric, we are excited about some opportunities this coming year for our customers and partners. As a team, we’re looking forward developing even more offerings through diverse partnerships.
To name just one example, with STMicroelectronics we’re supporting the development of solutions including ‘people counting’ AI that can help keep people safe, even as restrictions and redesigned work environments continue as key opportunities in the fight against Covid-19.
This is AI at the edge: networked smart sensors that monitor the number of people in a given area at any time, alerting managers in real-time as the situation changes.
Even if Covid-19 were to disappear tomorrow, this type of solution is still useful in our increasingly digital buildings as part of efficient, sustainable, cost-saving climate control and security applications.
We’re also partnering on the co-development of energy-efficiency solutions and carbon neutrality. This will digitally transform the energy management and power distribution space through innovations in connectivity, wide band-gap semiconductors and smart sensors.
Remote working will continue in Q1 for many organizations and altered workplace environments look likely to become the norm. Therefore, it will be critical to continue to drive improvements and efficiencies across all aspects of business IT, with data centre services and distributed communications as the twin linchpins of success.
Today, we can support these drivers with real-time monitoring and troubleshooting across all IT and cloud assets for effective digital transformation, for example by leveraging our AVEVA, Lenovo and Stratus partnerships. We’re also making key investments and partnering in important areas such as operations technology to spearhead smart and green electrification.
Our focus for 2021 and beyond
There’s so much more we can all achieve if we work together. So we’re always looking to hear ideas from all across the supply chain and solutions or partner ecosystems on how best to transform and solve customer issues.
Our customers are on a journey to take their organizations forward in 2021. Whether you are a partner, supplier, or direct customer, we hope you will join us in the journey of solving the challenges that will really make a difference, not just this year, but for the future.
About the author:
Natalya Makarochkina is the Senior Vice President of the Secure Power in Schneider Electric. Secure Power, International. Secure Power provides complete physical infrastructure solutions for data centers, distributed IT environments, and industrial applications. In this position Natalya is leading the business across multiple geographies across Asia, Pacific, India, Middle East, South America and CIS. Prior to serving as SVP, Natalya was Vice President managing Secure Power business for Schneider Electric in CIS.
Natalya’s leadership roles included numerous senior management and sales positions across high-tech. industries and companies such as HP, Philips, Oracle, 3COM and others.
Natalya holds various degrees and certifications with Universiteit Antwerp (Executive MBA), INSEAD, Higher School of Economics and The Maurice Thorez Institute of Foreign Languages.