Before we talk about technology, what does ‘Digital Transformation’ mean to you? It seems to mean different things to different people. Largely, this depends on what sector you work in, what problem you’re trying to solve, what system you’re trying to improve, or what product you’re going to launch.
Originally, I thought of Digital Transformation as the process of digitising something that was previously analogue. Like going paperless for example. (But these days, how many analogue systems are really left?) Again it depends on your industry. I’ve recently expanded my own definition of Digital Transformation. I now view it as the improvement of any existing thing or system, analogue or otherwise, with the latest greatest innovative technology, which of course is digital.
Often this is the introduction of data analytics in some form, Maybe predictive analytics with machine learning, or even the use of bots backed by AI.
Digital Transformation is driven by consumer expectation
Definitions aside, we’re getting used to have ‘smart’ things at home. We don’t really care if there’s a clever system of AI leveraging predictive analytics. Most of us are just happy that devices are smarter, answering questions, giving us useful recommendations. And we want more of it. We’ve come to expect it of the services we consume.
“At least 40% of all businesses will die in the next 10 years… if they don’t figure out how to change their entire company to accommodate new technologies”
John Chambers | Executive Chairman, Cisco System
Aligning technology to Digital Transformation
So how do you equip your business with the right technology for this future? Unless you’re Microsoft or another “tech giant”, developing your own AI, building platforms for neural networks, or implementing hyper-scale compute in your own datacentre, isn’t an option.
Digital Transformation within your organisation, (even it’s just going paperless), almost certainly will involve an element of cloud.
The economies of scale, the reduction of operational overhead, and more importantly, the access to the latest innovative technologies, are irresistible, if not essential.
I love helping organisations to digitally transform with cloud, specifically Microsoft Azure.
Digital Transformation with Azure: a solid foundation
Fundamentally, the innovation you need to Digitally Transform, both today and in the future, I believe, resides in the Azure services.
What do I mean by this? Here are a few examples:
- At the beginning of your transformation? Azure IaaS enables you to run your VM’s more efficiently, reducing operational overheads and laying the foundations for some of the advanced capabilities. Another key point, turning on the analytics-based threat protection services immediately makes your environment more secure.
- Already using IaaS? Now is your time to really add value – it’s all about optimisation. Adopt new service models like on-demand capacity and compute. Transform your DR. Deconstruct your n-tier applications and use PaaS services. After all, why are you looking after the Operating system and SQL instance when all you’re really interested in is the SQL database. (From the clients we work with, it would seem many organisations in the UK are already using IaaS and are in the second wave of cloud.)
- Already using IaaS and PaaS? At this stage things start to get interesting. You can leverage data and analytics to bring you disparate repositories together and interrogate them. Use them to describe what’s happened in the past and predict what will happen in the future. Augment your service desk and websites with bots that learn, provide insights and reduce BAU operational overhead. Make innovative apps available to your consumers. Embrace IoT and smart devices.
The above is by no means an exhaustive list of the possibilities, just a few examples.
What makes all this possible? A simple connection to Azure.
Once connected, your datacentre and identity are essentially extended to Azure. The innovation is immediately available to start consuming, at your pace, whichever stage you’re at.
Our Azure FastStart Service automates much of the connection process and shows you how to get started. This reduces the process down from weeks to days.