By Natalya Makarochkina
In line with Malaysia's digital economy ambitions, a new generation of software is connecting, enabling and making intelligent every aspect of business and industry, delivering the benefits of digital to every sector.
It has been argued that software is consuming the world. However, in recent times, this could be modified to software is “enabling” the world.
As enterprise architectures move increasingly to software-controlled models, these controls are allowing new levels of resilience and agility to respond to and cope with the evolving geopolitical situation, climate-influenced disruption, and ever-changing market trends while ensuring security and sustainability.
Unparalleled global disruption
The upheavals being seen around the world have shown that supply chains are vulnerable and subject to influences that are hard to predict. Beyond the geopolitical landscape, black swan events like the COVID-related lockdown in China that led to physical supply chain disruption, as well as recent weather events such as the floods in Pakistan and the southern regions of China, have also contributed to these unforeseen disruptions.
At short notice, organisations often have to adapt to new realities, whether through sanctions, fluctuating energy prices, or access disruption. Shortages and delays in supply have notably hit construction, the automotive industry and even food supplies. For instance, Malaysia encountered a chicken shortage in 2022 as a result of increased production costs caused by a global supply chain disruption.
Model, plan, pivot
In order to cope with these scenarios, enterprises need to be resilient and agile, with greater oversight and insight to be able to model, plan, and pivot.
This means having software systems that link every aspect of the operation, making them visible, measurable, and manageable.
It will be no longer sufficient to be able to simply report on enterprise-wide operations. In order to compete and survive, the enterprise will need to be able to model and predict how necessary changes will affect output, profitability, and sustainability goals.
To achieve this new level of visibility and control, new architectures are emerging.
There is now an expectation for future enterprise architectures to comprise a mix of 20 per cent core data centres, 30 per cent public cloud and 50 per cent edge deployments within the next three years.
This will bring with it new levels of sensors (IIoT), monitoring, visibility, management and analyses. Cloud-based systems will oversee these new architectures, encompassing evermore elements, from manufacturing lines, retail floors, and healthcare bedsides, to edge deployments, regional data facilities and central data centres.
The foundation of this approach will be not just visibility of data, but orchestration of the data infrastructure, with the emerging capabilities of DCIM3.0.
A major part of this new, software-enabled world is the deep integration of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML).
Resilience is achieved through reliability and predictability. Predictive analytics, through the deep application of these technologies can allow for highly effective preventative maintenance regimes that can either detect or prevent failures before they can impact on operations.
Adaptation with insight
An example of how this is playing out is in the food industry, where market garden producers in Malaysia are embracing precision farming techniques. According to Nuklear Malaysia (Malaysia Nuclear Agency), based on its collaboration with farmers over six months, the implementation of precision farming is highly effective in enhancing crop yields while simultaneously reducing the reliance on harmful pesticides that degrade the soil.
With a full sensor deck, from pot to shelf, growers can model the temperature change, predict yields and crop changes, and understand where cost optimisation needs to be adopted to cope with the scenario. By being able to process the data close to where it is produced, before central modelling crunches the numbers, growers can adapt labour, transportation, and distribution requirements, based on accurate data and informed analytics. Other examples include healthcare where bedside inputs form clinicians can be analysed in edge deployments for real-time analysis.
These approaches to data gathering and initial analysis are only possible through the seamless integration of edge capabilities with central data resources, through data infrastructure management, from DCIM to data lakes and AI-driven analytics.
In connecting all the connection points between the user and applications, we must be aware of security and the risk involved.
This is why we have developed strong partnerships to understand the risks and ensure our applications and services can maintain resilience, security, and sustainability for tomorrow’s IT systems, even as they encompass an increasingly sprawling hybrid IT environment.
Standardised and science-based metrics
In a bid to position Malaysia as a regional leader in renewable energy as well as ensure the country’s long-term energy security, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has unveiled plans for the implementation of the National Energy Transition Roadmap (NETR). While resilience and security are crucial components of this initiative, it is equally imperative to emphasise sustainability as a critical imperative that must be integrated seamlessly into the endeavours.
With such plans in place, this new software-enabled world can benefit companies, especially in applying standardised metrics across the board to measure and manage emissions and environmental impact. Science-based emissions targets are becoming more widely adopted, and can help organisations understand and reduce emissions, even amid the current trends.
Enabling the world
Despite the pace of technological change, software systems and controls, building on developments in IIoT, AI and ML, and cloud and edge computing, are enabling enterprises to have greater visibility, insight, and oversight of operations.
This is providing a level of resilience previously not possible to cope with the maelstrom of influences in today’s world.
Enabling greater management of cyber risk, as well as providing a basis for sustainability commitments and goals, software has gone from eating the world to enabling it.
Natalya Makarochkina is Senior Vice President at Secure Power Division, International Operations, Schneider Electric.