Digital Transformation: Adapting Your Business Online

Marty Puranik

The Age of Digital Transformation

There is little doubt that the transition to cloud computing is driving an insatiable demand for digital transformation. Countless organizations around the world are embarking on a program to change the way business is conducted in the digital age. In 2018, $262 billion USD was spent on transforming business services, consuming cloud services and embracing AI and Machine Learning.

Digital transformation is the process of using digital technology to create or modify an organization’s existing business processes, changing the employee culture and improving the customer’s digital journey. The focus concentrates on the dynamic shift away from legacy computer systems to data-driven cloud computing infrastructure.

Adapting a successful cloud strategy empowers your business to stay relevant in the modern Workplace, it opens the door to new opportunities, helps you to hire and retain the best employees and it engages your workforce by providing a productive, happier and more collaborative place to work.

Private, public or hybrid cloud solutions can unlock the true potential of your business, and it is essential that you choose the best cloud service provider for your requirements. Cloud computing is built on elastic technology, meaning that services can scale up, down, in and out with demand. It creates an agile, flexible and low-cost infrastructure platform that can grow as your business develops.

Businesses have already invested significant costs into on-site computing resources, local data centers or colocation facilities. IT systems and business applications are often deeply embedded within an organization, often making the transition to the cloud daunting. 

However, it is difficult to drive innovation using yesterday’s technology. Transitioning business services and leveraging virtual computing, containerized applications and serverless infrastructure will help to drive change.

To make a success of digital transformation, it is imperative to have a roadmap of where you want the business to be. Identifying your existing business processes and workloads will assist in the decision making of what services are suitable candidates for the cloud. This might include your licensing model, what external services you consume, and what in house services are provided by your IT department.

The journey to the cloud is often broken into a phased approach, and partnering with a specialist cloud provider, and hiring internal cloud expertise will make the transition easier. Migrating existing servers and applications workloads using cloud migration technology is a great first step and very simple to use at scale. 

Many organizations are choosing to migrate some of the more simple services into the cloud, such as active directory, email, and file storage and then codifying the more complex services at a later date. Some businesses are choosing the greenfield approach where IT infrastructure is rebuilt from scratch in the cloud, this is commonly seen with ERP solutions.

Getting your business data into the cloud is essential, cloud Service Providers can ingest huge volumes of data, the majority of this data can be transferred over the internet, secured VPN or dedicated express routes into the cloud provider. For organizations with petabytes of data, secure transfer appliances can be provided to manually plug your data into the provider’s network edge locations.

Once your data is in the cloud, the benefits of Big Data services, AI and Machine Learning platforms can be consumed to extract, transform and load data into cloud services. This is commonly used to track customer buying habits, trends in your business and analyzing business milestones and objectives. Data Analytics can help your business understand your customers better, track their habits on your website and develop your digital marketing strategy.

The cloud drives collaboration within the workforce, multiple teams can work on the same projects concurrently, communications are improved through messaging services, 5G data communications and collaborative toolsets such as Teams or Slack. Collaborative API platforms enable applications to exchange data and share information securely, resulting in teams in different geographical locations that can collaborate with ease.

The security requirements put upon modern businesses is of huge importance, today more than ever before. Security is arguably the number one topic in the boardroom, protecting company assets, data, employees and ensuring compliance and regulatory obligations are met.

The cloud solves many of these problems for you, enabling you to leverage security experts and teams of system engineers hired by the cloud provider, who are ultimately responsible for the security of the cloud platform, allowing your IT department to keep the lights on and focus on day-to-day operations.

As well as the technical aspects of digital transformation, there is also the human element. Employees also need to change and be onboard the digital Transformation Journey. For some, the change may be unsettling and difficult to adapt too. More and more frequently businesses are focusing on the cultural change needed inside the workforce to truly embrace the transformation. Getting the right balance will give productivity a huge boost and make your employees feel empowered.

The digital transformation journey when done correctly will undoubtedly improve your customer experience, which will drive repeat business and loyalty. Having operational agility, the ability to change rapidly to the demands of the customer will drive the customer experience. Cultural changes, and in some circumstances leadership changes whilst giving the workforce the tools they need, the training they need and integrating digital technology will drive the transformation, making your business a more efficient and agile machine.

By Marty Puranik

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