Kathy Gibson is at Dell Technologies Forum – It is hard to believe that the at beginning of 2020, few had heard of coronavirus – now every aspect of our lives have been turned upside down.

“There have been heartbreaking stories, but also inspirational stories around the resilience of the global economy and how we have persevered,” says Michael Dell, chairman and CEO of Dell Technologies.

“Technology has never been more central than it is right now. Organisations that are accelerating digital transformation are poised for success.”

John Roese, president and global chief tech officer at Dell Technologies, agrees that 2020 has been a learning curve like no other.

“It has also brought us new perspectives. We have seen incredible resilience, and the ability to overcome and innovate.

“We have built better relationships with teams and customers. In fact, we will never go back to the way things were before.”

Roese says that 60% of workers at Dell with remain remote or hybrid workers.

“And we are not alone. Studies show that work from home (WFH) will increase by 20 points – and we think that is an understatement.

“Today, 50% of k12 students around the world are in distance learning.

“On the retail side, we saw $200-billion in online spend this year. Our own consumer online business was up 79% – in fact, one dollar in every five was from orders received online between April and June this year.

“In the next three years, 5G and data-driven insights will drive smart factories, smart cities, smart hospital and smart schools,” Roese says.

Much of the activity in digital transformation is happening at the edge, Roese points out. “In the next four years, we will see an 800% increase in apps at the edge, and 75% of the world’s data will be produced somewhere other than the cloud data centre.

“By 2023, 52% of data will be digital. We will see the ultimate disaggregation of data.”

Dell Technologies sees six key areas of innovation:

* Hybrid cloud operating mode – this spans the public, private and edge environment. Organisations are working on five or more clouds, both public and private, and they need to all work together.

* Edge – modern architecture needs to be optimised for the edge.

* 5G – modern network architectures need to adapt for the future of 5G, where everything can be connected anywhere.

* Artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) – these are not just new workloads but a new class of user processing data at high speeds, with underlying IT systems that have to exploit the power of AI.

* Data management – systems all need to interconnect, with a cohesive data management system.

* Security – all valuable and intelligent data, so security the is resilient and built in is critical.

“These are at their best and most powerful when they work together with hybrid cloud at the core,” Roese says. “And that future starts now.

“Whatever busines you are in, you need to leverage IT, pulling together all clouds into a single platform to power the digital world.”