Ensuring a smooth transition to digital transformation

Andrew Martin, VP APJ Zerto | Oct. 24, 2017
Here are five tips to help you drive the greatest success in your digital transformation project.

This vendor-written piece has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter's approach.

Customer demands and increased competition have led to digital transformation becoming one of the top business priorities for organisations around the world. More companies than ever today are investing heavily in major transformation initiatives focused on integrating digital technologies such as social, mobile, analytics and cloud.

According to analyst firm IDC, 60 percent of Asia Pacific's top 1000 organisations will have digital transformation at the centre of their corporate strategy by the end of 2017, with hybrid cloud as the underlying architecture.

IDC also reports digital transformation initiatives are helping drive IT services spend across Asia Pacific with spending in the region excluding Japan expected to exceed US$95 billion by 2021, up from $73 billion this year. In Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam, the growing adoption of disruptive technologies have driven the growth of professional services, particularly IT consulting and systems integration services.

While the virtues of digital transformation cannot be extolled enough, companies need to be aware that the road to digitalisation may not always be smooth sailing and should be mindful of uptime and availability shortfalls.

Cyberattacks are becoming increasingly commonplace across all environments -- physical, virtual and cloud-based. Organisations need to ensure information and data is protected by having the right safeguards in place -- such as storing the data in a secure facility, having regular backups of data and  ensuring mission critical data or applications can be recovered quickly and restored in the case of a disaster such as a ransomware attack. In addition, the Federal government's data breach notification laws will also ensure that organisations hold greater accountability and improve the effectiveness of data leak prevention tools.

Below are five tips to help you drive the greatest success in your digital transformation project:

1.       Become agnostic to minimise disruption  

To make your life easier, you should focus on finding technologies that remove dependence on any specific part of your infrastructure such as storage arrays or even the hypervisor. By doing this you can make your enterprise applications more portable and move them to the platforms that make sense at that time without disruption.

Traditional IT infrastructures are built on technologies that are not open. For example, hardware based replication requires identical storage hardware at the second site. However, truly hardware-agnostic replication allows for unobstructed compatibility between storage systems and cloud platforms, providing ultimate cost-saving freedom without complication or impediment. This also allows users to leverage the latest storage vendors and network components.

2.       Leverage multiple clouds 

Moving applications without downtime or disruption between clouds is very difficult to achieve. However, having software defined replication products that are written into the virtualised layer can solve this issue and make cloud portability a reality.

It is also imperative that the solution enables the IT team to move data, workloads and applications to another destination with a simple mouse click. This enables easy migration into hybrid cloud and keeps data in two separate locations. Keeping data on premises and off, for example, can potentially save companies the cost of another physical location.

This is easier said than done, because at their core, clouds have a virtualised layer. Most clouds are built on a specific hypervisor. If you run VMware on premise but your CSP built their cloud on HyperV it becomes difficult to easily move workloads between them unless you have a technology that abstracts the hypervisor itself. 

3.       Greater agility, elasticity and scale with hybrid cloud  

As the department or agency progresses, grows and changes, the services you provide will require the infrastructure and capability of a growing data centre. Looking toward the next few years, it would be prudent for governments to look toward data centre solution providers that can provide hybrid cloud capability, allowing for agility, elasticity and scale. This should be true from both an infrastructure and commercial, or cost and billing perspective.

4.      Software-defined 'everything' for greater flexibility

Software is key to implementing a flexible data centre strategy. If governments are tied to isolated physical assets, they are inherently locked in to the capability of those. This means departments will not have the ability to adjust and makes it more difficult to move to the cloud. Moving intelligence to software gives governments a level of flexibility that isn't possible when it is held only on isolated physical assets.

5.       Make your IT resilient

Resilience is defined as the ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change. The ongoing wave of aggressive ransomware attacks highlight the increasing reliance on IT, and this is set to get even bigger as IoT concepts come to fruition. It's important that departments / agencies are resilient in the face of an attack and can bounce back quickly with as minimal disruption as possible.

Change is the only constant today. It's no surprise that companies need to embrace digital transformation and the opportunities it presents while being stronger and more resilient than ever before. Having a simplified and automated disaster recovery as a service solution in place can help businesses to focus on their strategic digital initiatives while providing greater peace of mind in the event of an outage.