Business technology can be simply defined as any application of information technology that is integrated into the operation of a business. When businesses first began their adoption of information technology over three decades ago, the standard procedure was to develop an internal IT department with its own infrastructure and capabilities.
As technology continued to grow and evolve, applications and IT services have come increasingly important to daily operations across industry verticals. In 2007, George F. Colony, the CEO of Forrester Research Inc., coined the term business technology. He went so far as to recommend that the abbreviation IT (information technology) be replaced with BT (business technology) to reflect the ubiquity of the business's need for technological services and the increasing role of IT in business environments.
Business technology is information technology deployed in a business context. Information technology is broadly defined as the use of computers to store, receive, transmit and other manipulate data, and to perform operational tasks that require computing resources (processing power, etc.) Information technology includes a range of hardware, software and networking products and equipment that organizations leverage to deliver IT services. These IT assets make up the organization's IT infrastructure.
One of the first challenges that an organization faces with respect to business technology is how to deploy it - what IT infrastructure will be used to host, manage and maintain an application or service? In general, enterprise organizations have three options for how they will access IT infrastructure to deploy business technology: on-premise IT, third-party hosting and cloud deployment.
On-Premises IT Infrastructure
Decades ago, when enterprises were first adopting information technology and integrating it into their core business models, on-premises deployment was the only available option for developing IT infrastructure. On-premises software is located within the physical data centers that are owned or leased and operated by the enterprise itself, as opposed to being hosted on an outside server or in the cloud.
The key benefit of on-premise IT infrastructure is that the organization retains complete and total control over the management, configuration, and security of the hardware and software infrastructure and any applications hosted on it. The primary drawback is that developing on-premises IT infrastructure can be expensive and even cost-prohibitive for smaller organizations. Enterprises that do on-premises IT take on many types of costs, including:
- Purchasing or leasing a data center
- Facilities management, including power, cooling, temperature controls, physical security, disaster recovery, and many more connected responsibilities
- Purchasing hardware and networking equipment, including servers, storage disks, and other items
As an alternative to developing its own IT infrastructure, an enterprise can contract with a third-party hosting provider to provide the IT infrastructure to host a specific application or service. In this model, the organization does not have to invest capital in the development of its own IT infrastructure. Instead, they may pay a monthly or annual fee for a dedicated server that hosts the desired application or service. Third-party hosting providers may also handle data storage and administrative tasks like security monitoring and application updates.
Cloud Computing Technology
Cloud computing is the newest way that enterprise organizations are choosing to access IT infrastructure. Cloud computing is an IT delivery model where computing services (data storage, processing power, etc.) are offered over the internet. There are three general cloud service deployment models available to organizations today.
A private cloud, also known as an internal or corporate cloud, is a cloud deployment on a private network that can only be accessed by a single corporation or business entity. Private cloud infrastructure can be hosted by a third-party hosting provider or developed in-house and managed on-premises by a dedicated IT operations team. Private cloud deployments give organizations the maximum amount of control over their confidential and proprietary data while allowing them to leverage valuable cloud services like virtualization and resource pooling.
Enterprise organizations can access computing resources from a public cloud service provider (CSP) on a pay-per-use basis. Public cloud resources are dynamically provisioned, so the same server could be used to host an application or store data for several different organizations.
Public cloud service providers like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform and Microsoft Azure have done their part to drive the adoption of business technology by making IT services more accessible for more organizations at a lower cost. Their common business model involves the pooling of large bodies of computing power and data storage resources to drive cost reduction through economies of scale. Public cloud providers support business technology with three unique deployment models:
Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) - In the IaaS model, the CSP provides networking, storage, servers and virtualization services. The customer organization is still responsible for managing operation systems, middleware, runtime, data, and applications.
Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) - In the PaaS model, the CSP manages the entire hardware infrastructure and virtualization services, as well as operating systems, middleware and runtime. The customer organization manages just the application and data.
Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) - In the SaaS delivery model, a CSP makes an application available through a web-based portal. The customer organization uses the application and pays a monthly or per-use subscription fee.
Some organizations choose to host business technology in more than one cloud environment, even combining private and public clouds into a hybrid cloud environment. A hybrid cloud environment has some applications in the public cloud and some in private cloud, and there must be at least some API connections that allow them to interface with each other. This unique architecture allows an organization to flexibly scale its computing and data storage needs while maintaining privacy and security compliance and protecting its confidential data from exposure.
Business technology is becoming increasingly dependent on cloud computing as organizations migrate existing applications and launch new ones into private, public and hybrid cloud environments. A 2018 survey indicated that cloud computing has reached a staggering 96% adoption rate with the average respondent running applications in 3.1 cloud environments (and testing an average of 1.7 more) and 30% of all IT budgets going to cloud computing.
As cloud computing continues to mature, enterprise organizations will increasingly rely on cloud-native applications like Sumo Logic for critical services like security monitoring, business insights, and operational analytics. Sumo Logic helps organizations of all sizes secure and optimize business technology in the cloud.
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