By Said Rechchad, General Manager – Southern & East Africa – DellEMC
When it comes to digital transformation impacting business, there are three types of professionals who stand at the crossroads.
There is the technology professional, tasked with ensuring the IT backbone and peripheries that serve the business are aligned and evolving. Then there is the operations professional who realises the value technology brings to help streamline a company’s processes and support structures. Finally, the line-of-business professional who knows that a competitive advantage often comes from how you leverage an organisation’s assets, particularly technology.
If you are one of these individuals – or find your role involves aspects of each – I risk preaching to the choir by underlining the impact of digitisation on the business landscape. Yet it is worth repeating, particularly for the sake of those who haven’t realised this fact:
The digitisation of the world is a paradigm shift, so much so that every company and vertical must embrace it or they will die.
Please don’t think I’m overstating this. The blood is already on the floor, be it blue chip companies falling from grace, startups disrupting industries or rapid changes among customer behaviour. It is dangerous to look at the world and think that business is anywhere near usual.
That being said, my interactions with companies reveal the above is no longer a debate. You are here, reading this, because you grasp that revolution. You want to change, but may not be sure how that can happen.
It is critical for company culture to align with digitisation. But this isn’t just an existential challenge. For a physical stepping stone into digitisation, look at infrastructure – specifically modern datacentres. Update your datacentre and the road to digitisation becomes significantly more paved. It is the heart of digital transformation.
The Three Outcomes of Datacentre Digitisation
I identify three outcomes when approaching your datacentre. You want to modernise without compromise, you want to enable next level automation and you want to create transparency.
Why these three? Modernisation without compromise is quite evident. There is little sense overhauling your datacentre if it ends up hobbling the processes and applications your business relies on. These will change and evolve with digitisation, but there is no point in turning over the cart. Your datacentre must rise to the challenge without scaring the room.
Automation can become your greatest advocate. By using modern practices, you can start automating many services that the business uses. This not only reduces operational overhead and frees staff to focus on more progressive tasks, but it creates a wellspring of useful and proactive governance. In addition, automation vastly improves the agility of your technology and helps cater solid service level agreements (SLAs) that help maintain the business’ confidence in that technology. In addition, through automation self-service becomes a reality, allowing departments to take the reign of technologies that aid them without encumbering IT and other departments.
That leads to the third point: higher levels of transparency, attained through automated reporting and auditing, keep the business confident that its momentum won’t be impaired by poor governance. These also give the business more ways to motivate for new ideas, for change or to even stay a certain course. Transparency means visibility – and what business leader does not want more personal visibility of their enterprise?
Define your Datacentre in Five Areas
Modern datacentres create this trinity of effectiveness. First, by using converged and hyper-converged infrastructure – buy rather than build – you reduce overhead and resource consumption while speeding up deployment. Deploying applications or updating hardware can be done in a matter of days or even hours, instead of months or years.
Second, modern data centres enable technologies such as all-Flash, which do more at much faster speeds. Reliability and performance goes through the roof in much smaller foot print in DC floors. At Dell EMC, 2016 is the Year of Flash, where All Flash has become the New Normal for all Customers types who are seeking uncompromising performance in the forms of Throughput and IOPS, as well as Capacity while remaining very affordable.
Aligning with this is the third point: access to the cloud. Even if you intend to keep everything on premise, you are still deploying a private cloud. This impacts your options in terms of applications, automation, data collection and more. Ignoring cloud is like holding onto a mainframe in the client-server era. A modern datacentre does not force your hand toward cloud – it expands your choices.
Chances are you will try at least some public cloud services or place servers in different locales. The effective shifting of workloads to different servers require modern datacentres, allowing services such as Virtustream and VMWare to give you true bang for your technology spend. It also empowers a new level of disaster recovery and business continuity.
This includes data security and protection. Only a fool would believe that security threats are not growing at an alarming pace, nor that a breach of systems couldn’t result in catastrophic damage to the business. These are things that should keep you awake at night… unless you are invested in modern datacentre architecture.
By exploiting the innovations that stoke the modern datacentre engine, new measures and breakthroughs to raise resilient, future-proof lines of defense are being adopted and improved all the time. From identity management and security analytics to specific workload protection, the first line through to the last has built-in resiliency. This extends from on premise to cloud and everything in between, from the edge of your systems to deep inside the heart of your organisation.
The fourth consideration is the ability to scale out: how will your technology investment keep pace with your business growth, without costing a fortune? Modern datacentres – through convergence and cloud-native applications – can grow and shrink with the minimum of interference or cost implications.
Finally, the modern datacentre unlocks the door of true software-defined environments. These are more secure and unparalleled in their flexibility. We are only starting to appreciate the changes brought by software defined systems and it stands to far exceed its promises. Do not miss this bandwagon.
The digital revolution or 4th Industrial Revolution is at hand and can’t be ignored. It is also within reach by looking at the data centres that deliver your applications and IT services. Talk to infrastructure and services leaders such as DellEMC to learn how you can join that revolution without disadvantaging your business.