The age of interconnected commerce


16 January 2017
Clement Goh of Equinix

Digital transformation, fuelled by new data stimulants of social, mobile, analytics and cloud, pushed Asia Pacific data centre markets to another year of robust growth in 2016, and the momentum shows no signs of letting up. The Singapore co-location market set to enjoy a 9 per cent year-on-year growth to reach $1.56 billion by 2020.

The following are some of the key technology trends that will help shape the data-driven acceleration. 

1)    Multi-cloud convergence and implementation

Cloud adoption will reach maturity with enterprises relying more and more on cloud infrastructures. Multi-cloud deployments will emerge as the way forward as data, applications, infrastructure and personal clouds fundamentally change the way people and businesses operate.

Enterprises will be looking to a combination of best-of-breed solutions and services from different cloud providers to tackle vendor lock-in and flexibility issues. 

2)    The rise of the digital edge

The digital edge - where the physical and virtual worlds meet - will fuel the need for real-time, on-demand insights powered by data, rich content forms and changing user expectations. According to the 2015 Gartner Edge Manifesto, the topology of networked data centres will be transformed from a centralised, mega data centre approach to one augmented by multiple, smaller, distributed sources located in enterprise-owned data centres, colocation facilities or the cloud.

We expect that this will be a key approach in 2017 as business models are disrupted, forcing changes in how enterprise processes operate in a digital business. The convergence of multiple clouds will also result in a natural extension of corporate boundaries to the digital edge, where businesses engage with customers through social, mobile, analytics and cloud.

3)    Rise of the interconnected fabric

As companies move to connect their digital and physical worlds to support their business around the globe and enterprises start to leverage multiple clouds, one challenge they face will be to manage solutions across different cloud environments from different vendors. If they do not have a management structure in place early, operational issues could start stacking up, impacting service delivery at the digital edge.

To address this, more enterprises will deploy an interconnected fabric residing in carrier-neutral facilities to create a central nervous system that connects all aspects of the digital business and activities. This will facilitate the shift from a system-centric to user-centric approach.

4)    Security becomes more vital

The security paradigm will change to provide greater confidence to enterprises and users in the multi-cloud space. Direct connect services, for example, will allow private network connections to be established, bypassing the public Internet.

As the hybrid cloud becomes more popular, enterprises will also come to realise that they will have to own the security of their applications and data within the multi-cloud environment. In this case, the interconnected fabric will provide customers with the choice of moving from point security solutions to the flexibility of buying Security-as-a-Service, with benefits such as speed of implementation, ease of set-up and maintenance and real-time protection.

5)    Age of interconnected commerce

According to the Equinix study Interconnected Commerce: A Revolution in Value Creation, the emergence of interconnected commerce will pave the way for new opportunities for the integration of payments, commerce, data, and marketing, enabling new solutions and partnerships around the globe.

However, while the potential of interconnected commerce is powerful, without a central hub to manage the network, the result would be chaos. The right central hub and standard protocols could be a game-changer, paving the way for the creation of a commerce enablement network linked to a payments infrastructure to redefine global commerce for the 21st century.

* Clement Goh is Managing Director at Equinix South Asia.