If the coronavirus pandemic has demonstrated one thing, it is the importance of technology for business continuity - those without excellent IT systems and processes in place have struggled to survive. So it is no surprise that the topic of digital transformation is firmly back on the agenda now that businesses are beginning to take stock and plan for a future that may well bring more lockdown and social distancing scenarios.
Businesses that faced problems accessing on-premise IT infrastructure for emergency and routine servicing during lockdown, companies that are looking to streamline offices and on-premise IT due to post-pandemic budgetary pressures, and those that struggled to fulfil customer expectations during lockdown because of issues with technology, will all be prioritising decisions around futureproofing their technology, IT infrastructure and workloads, in case something similar happens again.
So, what is digital transformation?
Technology plays a crucial part in businesses’ ability to remain competitive, evolve and continue to offer the best possible service to customers. Digital transformation means embracing technology to build a highly-engaged customer base by fulfilling their ever-changing expectations. It entails reviewing all business functions and working out how digital technologies (digitising processes, enlisting greater IT automation and introducing operational efficiencies) can enhance processes, meet changing business and market requirements and add value to customer interactions. Digital transformation is a business-wide strategic shift that is entirely customer-driven – it places the customer at the heart of strategy by understanding their journey, how they interact with a company and what their pain points are.
Many transformation projects fail (or are avoided entirely) due to the sheer enormity and complexity of the process – it is a journey, and one that affects all aspects of a business. The coronavirus pandemic and lockdown (and associated problems with service delivery), have been a wake-up call for many businesses, particularly those that were already considering digital transformation in order to keep pace with competitors and fulfil customer expectations. The unpleasant realisation that this first Covid-19 pandemic may be a sign of things to come has inspired many companies to rekindle their transformation plans in preparation.
Futureproofing through digital transformation
As businesses become ever more dependent on their digital assets, a greater emphasis is placed on the safe storage of data and intellectual property. The rapid expansion in data volumes, the requirement for archiving and more vigilant back-ups, and the need for more hard-drive real estate to accommodate newer and more sophisticated software and operating systems, is causing many companies to outgrow their on-premise IT facilities and consider consolidating and transforming their IT in one secure location. In this way, IT infrastructure and workloads can be managed efficiently, futureproofed and scaled up or down, based on changing requirements.
Appreciating the need for change is one thing, but deciding how to implement that change is another entirely. Our experience has shown that the undertaking is far less overwhelming when businesses work with a technology partner who can offer a platform for the transformation. In most cases, our digital transformation clients have already decided on the strategic direction of their transformation journey, and come to us looking for an agile, scalable and efficient platform through which to deliver a hybrid IT strategy combining public or private clouds. And our tried and tested two-phase approach, which facilitates the IT side of the transformation strategy, has brought them the success they are looking for.
Datum’s platform for digital transformation – someone to lean on
Through our extensive partner network, including our service provider clients, we offer our clients a one-stop-shop for all IT infrastructure and communications requirements – our extensive partner network allows us to facilitate whichever hybrid or specialist scalable solutions our clients require.
Our digital transformation platform is based on a two-phase approach, which gives our clients the opportunity to take stock, review and consolidate during phase 1 before beginning the transformation in phase 2:
- Phase 1 – Consolidation: All disparate elements of a client’s IT infrastructure are consolidated in Datum’s secure, resilient datacentre (a ‘landing zone’) so that workloads can be mapped, structured and organised.
- Phase 2 - Transformation: Once everything is up and running, we work with our clients to define how to deliver applications and workloads. This often means transforming to a combined hybrid private/public cloud and datacentre solution.
What can be achieved?
Improved efficiency and increased competitiveness – a key aim of digital transformation. Adopting a hybrid model enables companies to benefit from a largely OpEx cost model and save the substantial capital expenditure required for a scalable in-house IT facility.
Hybrid solutions to support in-house IT staff. There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution for digital transformation, which is why hybrid solutions are a critical part of any transformation strategy. With IT infrastructure and workloads safely ensconced in a managed facility, IT staff can focus on business/process improvement projects rather than the day-to-day concerns associated with running a large, in-house IT facility.
Consolidation of infrastructure, applications and workloads. Businesses are running more and more business applications and connected devices, and are increasingly needing to collaborate, consolidate and automate. This is hampered by the logistical challenge of managing distributed IT infrastructure that is often spread across multiple on-premise business locations. Consolidating the IT estate and workloads at the beginning of the transformation process removes layers of legacy technology and IT silos, which hamper the transformation.