Core Tenets of DX: Cloud and Digital Transformation

Building the Foundation for DX Technology

Chapter 4

Building a Reliable Stance for the Future

In any Digital Transformation (DX) journey, it’s expected that technology will help to move the business into the future. That’s why it’s crucial to build a strong “digital infrastructure” upon which to transform your IT systems. Digital infrastructure describes a dynamic environment that aims at enabling software-defined infrastructure and software-based policies to adapt more readily to business needs. This can be done on any type of datacenter infrastructure, from physical hardware to a hybrid setup to a fully-virtualized cloud environment. In every respect, digital infrastructure is the building block for adopting specific applications and automating practices that serve the business. In choosing the right digital infrastructure to embrace, your business should consider what “availability,” “accessibility” and “security” is desired of your technology systems to achieve objectives. If having a datacenter managed in-house is core to the business itself, then it makes sense to maneuver DX toward that goal. If not, then don’t be too married to the idea. Explore ways to offload these aspects to an expert third party, since this will enable you to better embrace activities that are core to the business.

Truths and a Lie About Digital Transformation

When considering whether cloud is right for your business, think of what level of agility you need in order to meet growing demands in your competitive industry.

  • Do you need multiple points of access to support a mobile-focused initiative?
  • How quickly will employees need to serve customers?
  • How fast can you recover from any given disaster scenario?
  • How do you enable your organization to dynamically respond to business drivers?

PUsing Cloud to Accomplish Goals

As you consider your IT vision for DX, cloud is just one strategy to deliver digital solutions and services to the business. What makes cloud enablement different from other IT strategies is the facilitating role it’s well-suited to play in the DX journey.
Cloud is a way to reduce the repetitive nature of managing applications and infrastructure. With physical IT systems, you often need to perform a hardware refresh every couple of years. With cloud, you can leverage increased flexibility by provisioning Infrastructure as Code for quick updates, and flip server operations over to a new location to perform maintenance. In addition, you can spin up AND shrink down any IT solution at a moment’s notice. This flexible capacity is like being able to build a staircase, then smooth out that staircase into a walkway whenever needed. Purchasing physical systems doesn’t allow for this quick downsizing, since you’re tied to sunken capital investments rather than operating costs that can be adjusted.

why some do NOT move to cloud

DX can assist in driving a faster, more efficient IT stance. Even if the cloud isn’t right for your organization in the moment, this doesn’t mean it won’t be a right choice later down the road. For this reason, it’s key to assess company goals not just for the next year, but for the next decade as well. This focused planning will ultimately determine which technology choices you make.

  • Legacy applications Some applications or services simply will either not perform optimally in a public cloud platform or be supported by your product developer.
  • Physical connectivity and bandwidth limitations If the consumer is located in geographical area with limited WAN bandwidth, it may be more effective to have IT assets installed locally.
  • TCO/ROI may not make sense If the application is very static and does not scale or flex, the cost justification may not exit for consumption-based cloud platforms.
  • Security and regulatory requirements While this is a diminishing argument, there are still existing use cases for some clients that do not allow for data to live outside of a secure, local datacenter.
  • People and Process changes In some cases, personnel and process may be either too disruptive or costly to allow for an immediate move to the cloud. This typically is a short-term barrier rather than a long-term strategic roadblock.
  • Business objectives in refactoring applications and workflow analysis Leveraging new tools where they make sense and standardizing on common frameworks will ultimately incorporate a distributed and secure design.

The cloud promises so much – almost instantaneous, pay-as-you-go access to enterprise-class software, services and infrastructure, the ability to rapidly scale applications to cope with the peaks and troughs of seasonal traffic, as well as cost-effectiveness. However, organizations must adapt to take advantage of the benefits that cloud offers in alignment with their wider business strategy.

Editor, Information Age
Nick Ismail

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