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The New Enterprise

Welcome to The New Enterprise

An unprecedented year has accelerated the adoption of a decade's worth of breakthroughs. This is your guide to what's changed.

A man in a mask working on a server.

Businesses operating on the internet learned a lot of lessons this year. Those that flourished were able to shift gears at a moment's notice; those that survived without making wholesale changes now have a blueprint for how to operate over the coming decade.

Photo: Andresr/Getty Images

After a chaotic year that upended assumptions about the scale and pace of the shift to modern enterprise technology, it's time to take a breath and assess how far the world has come.

Businesses around the globe were mostly aware heading into 2020 that they'd face a day of reckoning for their outdated infrastructure at some point in the near future, but no one could have foreseen how a global pandemic would accelerate the trend. "We've seen two years of digital transformation in two months," said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella in April, underscoring just how quickly the world was forced to adapt.

Quite simply, there's no going back to the old ways of enterprise computing. A new model is evolving that moves beyond the simple debates about clouds versus data centers to encompass a broader picture of how the applications and data that power the world economy will run over the next 10 years.

That model incorporates the best of the cloud to account for sudden spikes in demand as well as the convenience of managed cloud services. It acknowledges that at least some data centers are here to stay, and that the late majority of enterprise technology adopters will maintain hybrid cloud infrastructure for a long time to come. And it foreshadows a world in which cloud software is no longer a novelty, but a mission-critical tool that has changed the way software is built for years to come.

As part of the New Enterprise Manual, which will feature new stories every day this week, Protocol talked to experts across the enterprise tech landscape to highlight emerging trends in infrastructure construction and identify how these patterns are shifting.

The pandemic forced almost all businesses to think differently about how they work and how they use technology, from retail companies forced to embrace digital distribution overnight to modern tech companies forced to take some of their own medicine and learn how to adopt technology tools designed for remote workplaces.

This year saw edge computing move from a promising idea to a real-world strategy for dealing with new types of demand. The economic chaos caused by the pandemic put a new spotlight on cloud pricing strategies as long-term deals tied to targeted levels of consumption came under pressure in industries especially hard-hit by this crisis.

And throughout it all, AWS remained the most influential company in this world, on track to record well over $40 billion in revenue during the year as it gets set to kick off its virtual re:Invent event this week. Microsoft and Google continued to put pressure on the cloud pioneer, but as the year winds down to a close, the overall picture hasn't really changed.

Businesses operating on the internet learned a lot of lessons this year. Those that flourished were able to shift gears at a moment's notice; those that survived without making wholesale changes now have a blueprint for how to operate over the coming decade.

Cloud computing forever changed the way businesses think about provisioning technology resources. Over the next decade, the companies that understand how to best utilize the principles advanced by a decade of breakthroughs and accelerated by a tumultuous year will thrive.

Join us as we take stock of what's happened this year and what's soon to come. We'll be publishing new stories every day, so check back here all week to read more.

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