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Top Priorities for 2017: Cloud-Supported Digital Transformation

It’s prediction season for IT industry analysts who look into their crystal balls and share with us the technologies and trends that they expect to be adopted over the course of the year. Some predictions are practical and applicable today, some are promising but a few years away, and some are so far-fetched that they almost sound made up.

In the reality of right now, most organizations are focusing on technology that is already in-house or readily available, and how to best leverage that technology to support business operations and strategies. As organizations continue to modernize business processes and the technology that supports them, digital transformation will remain a high priority in 2017.

Digital transformation refers to the strategic optimization of business functions, processes and models in a way that takes full advantage of technology to better serve customers, spur innovation and create competitive advantages. Though not as sexy as artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, 3-D printing, and other darlings of prediction season, digital transformation is critical to long-term business success.

The pace of digital transformation is accelerating as organizations face increasing pressure to become more agile, customer-centric and efficient. This cannot be accomplished by simply implementing new technology. Digital transformation happens by updating or even reinventing how you do business in order to leverage technology and data and achieve business goals.

As the pace of transformation picks up, it can accelerate the failure of those businesses that are either unable or unwilling to transform. For example, startups using disruptive technologies and business models pose a serious threat to organizations using legacy infrastructure that can’t support modern business applications or analyze large data volumes. Right out of the gates, these startups are in a better technological position than well-established competitors.

The cloud is at the heart of digital transformation, but not simply as a cost-saving tool. Organizations are now viewing the cloud as an innovation tool that can support increasingly mobile and application-centric operational models and more effective data management. More workloads are being migrated from siloed, legacy infrastructure to cloud architectures that offer far greater agility, flexibility and reliability.

Cloud storage in particular is being mentioned as a key component of digital transformation in 2017. Cloud storage forms part of the ecosystem that connects employees, customers, partners and vendors, synchronizes activity across this ecosystem, and enables higher performance, better security and greater scalability. Cloud storage also facilitates digital transformation by supporting cloud-native applications, eliminating data silos, helping organizations manage vast amounts of unstructured data, and making it possible to implement a software-defined storage model.

Digital transformation can be a long, complex process that brings significant change to how an organization does business. However, transformation is no longer optional. Those organizations that innovate and learn to fully leverage technology in all areas of their business are more likely to succeed; those that resist are more likely to be left behind.

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