Building tomorrow’s digital enterprises

By Arun Shankar   13 February, 2018
Building tomorrow’s digital enterprises

Deepak Narain, Director Systems Engineering MENA, VMware.

Digitalisation is not coming – it is already here. Across all sectors, organisations are looking at how they can go digital as they adapt to new business models, whether it is the sharing economy, multi-sided markets, data-sharing platforms or on-demand ecosystems.

According to IDC, 50% of the Global 2000, Forbes’ comprehensive annual ranking of the world’s largest public companies, will see most of their business depend on their ability to create digitally-enhanced products, services and experiences by 2020.

Research from Gartner found that CIOs expect digital revenues to grow from 16% – to 37% in the next five years, so saying you need to be digital and being digital are going to be two very different things. For legacy players, successful transformation means overcoming several obstacles; namely being agile, secure, able to scale and deliver cost efficiencies.

To be agile means meeting the demands of end-users – both customers and employees – to innovate and deliver in days rather than months in the pursuit of delivering a superior experience. For established, global enterprises with multiple layers of approval, this requires a complete unpicking of systems, processes and, in many cases, culture.

Having the ability to scale means adapting to the new norm: IT no longer happens within the silo of the IT department. It now touches every department and every aspect of operations, as the Internet has brought easy, low-cost access to applications and services by all. Finally, this all needs to be achieved while finding ways to reduce operational IT costs to reinvest into digital innovation.

Ideally, these new business models need to be built using the right materials for the job, and that goes all the way back to the right foundations. Retrofitting something originally designed to deliver an analogue way of working is only going to take an organisation so far.

“To be agile means meeting the demands of end-users – both customers and employees”

“To innovate and deliver in days rather than months in the pursuit of delivering a superior experience”

Most organisations will need to come up with a compromise – ensuring they secure the value of what already exists, without impacting on what it can deliver now and in the future. Whichever approach is taken – renovation or rebuild – it requires foundations, or an infrastructure, that allows an organisation to be agile, that keeps mission critical data secure, that is scalable and cost efficient.

Agility, security, scalability and cost-effectiveness are some of the hallmarks of the various cloud computing environments available. Talked about for years, cloud is now at a point where organisations have a multitude of options and providers to choose from.

This is reflected in their approach to IT – just 10% of US and Europe enterprises are reluctant to use cloud computing for new applications for IT projects, according to a report by 451 Research, commissioned by VMware and Atos. Elsewhere, Gartner has stated that by 2020 a corporate no-cloud policy will be as rare as a no-Internet policy is today.

The appetite for cloud is growing, along with the understanding that it can be the foundation on which to overcome the barriers to digital transformation. Recent research shows that increasing agility and enhancing scalability for demand were amongst the top three drivers for planned cloud projects. The report also found that almost 48% of enterprises moving applications into the private cloud, do so for security and control reasons.

That said, there is no such thing as a perfect solution. The proliferation of cloud computing has given rise to different environments which, if not managed correctly, can be no more suited to delivering new business models than the on-premise legacy infrastructure they are replacing. 70% of organisations are using private, public and hybrid clouds to take advantage of the benefits and restrictions, that applications needing different environments can use depending on their use and requirements.

The key is planning the implementation properly. For that, IT needs to work with lines of business to identify and prioritise requirements, whether speed to market, cost efficiency, testing and development or regulatory compliance. This should result in the right mix of environments being deployed to deliver an infrastructure which meets the needs of the organisation’s digital transformation both today and for tomorrow.

Yesterday’s enterprises cannot be merely transformed to prepare themselves for the digital era, they need to rebuilt, explains Deepak Narain at VMware.

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