According to a recent survey by Tech Pro, 70% of enterprises currently have a digital transformation strategy in place or are imminently planning to do so. This is not surprising. Even before the pandemic, market pressure was driving companies to seek new growth opportunities and deal with competition. The current economic downturn has increased that pressure considerably and accelerated the pace of digital transformation globally.
With 87% of enterprises believing that digital transformation will disrupt their industry, there’s an increasing demand for data analytics, automation, AI, ML and IoT: technologies that enable organisations to stay relevant to digital consumers, operate more efficiently and effectively and find new opportunities. Underpinning all this, however, is the adoption of cloud technology, without which, digital transformation would be impossible. Here’s why the cloud is so important to digital transformation
1. Big IT on a smaller budget
Digital transformation requires significant use of IT and for many enterprises, this would be too expensive to deploy in-house. Indeed, many organisations already struggle with the burden of maintaining existing in-house infrastructures. Cloud adoption provides a more cost-effective solution that removes the need for capital investment in hardware or the requirement to maintain datacentres. Instead, by using the infrastructure of a cloud vendor, cap-ex is replaced by pay-per-use op-ex that is less expensive overall and for which charges can be more easily managed and even predicted. Enterprises that have migrated have saved considerably on IT and have also been able to downsize their in-house datacentre footprints. Deutsche Bahn, for example, completely shut down its datacentre, sold the premises and redeployed its staff to carry out more business-related IT projects.
2. Cloud delivers agility
One of the biggest attractions of the cloud is the speed at which servers and applications can be deployed and the accelerated pace of application development, testing and launch. With time to market decreased, enterprises can move swiftly to take advantage of new products and services and react far quicker to changes in the marketplace.
Additional agility comes from the fact that cloud users don’t need to spend time provisioning and maintaining IT resources. This means enterprises can focus their attention on business-oriented projects, such as product development or automation.
3. Unlimited scalability
No other form of infrastructure offers scalability on the same level as the cloud. Its ability to offer instant access to vast computing resources is a major advantage for digitally transformative organisations, ensuring that websites and applications always perform as needed, regardless of demand or size of the workload.
What’s more, as users can scale up or down as needed, it’s highly cost-effective, with enterprises only paying for the resources they use.
4. Availability assured
In today’s 24/7 economy, enterprises do not stop; operations go on around the clock and consumers demand uninterrupted access to their products and services. Organisations undergo digital transformation to make sure they can operate ceaselessly, whether maintaining websites and services online, automating manufacturing or gathering real-time data from IoT devices.
Maintaining 24/7 operations means ensuring that critical applications remain available at all times. The advantage of the cloud is that it provides high availability of 100% uptime, usually guaranteed by service level agreement. This is possible because of virtualisation. As cloud servers are virtual, instances can be moved between hardware, eradicating downtime caused by hardware failure. Even if a natural disaster took a datacentre offline, availability is maintained by moving instances to another datacentre.
5. Security and compliance
As organisations digitally transform and begin collecting and processing more data, security and compliance become increasingly important. Establishing this in-house can be a challenge, with the cost of security tools and lack of expertise being the major obstacles.
In a cloud environment, significant areas of security are undertaken by the service providers who employ expert security teams and deploy advanced tools to protect their client’s systems and data and help them comply with regulations. Indeed, service providers have their own stringent regulations. As a result, cloud environments are highly secure. They are protected by next-gen firewalls with intrusion prevention systems and in-flow virus protection, enabling threats to be detected and isolated before they reach a customer’s server.
6. Technology upgrades included
The pace of technological development means hardware has a limited lifespan. The heavy cost of upgrading to newer machines on a regular basis, a necessity for staying competitive, is a burden for enterprises with in-house datacentres.
Cloud migration removes this issue. Cloud vendors, too, have to remain competitive and routinely upgrade their hardware to make sure it meets the needs of their customers. As a result, those who adopt the cloud can benefit from the latest technology, such as Xeon processors and SSD hard drives, without capital investment. Additionally, when migrating to new hardware in the cloud, virtualisation means it can take place seamlessly and without disruption.
7. Remote working and collaboration
Digital transformation replaces obsolete working practices and legacy infrastructures with those which deliver agility and support innovation. The cloud is the natural home for this, improving collaboration and enabling remote working. Recent years have seen the development of a wide range of cloud-based platforms that provide ever smarter ways to work. Cloud-based collaborative platforms offer a suite of essential tools, including project management, video conferencing, file sharing and syncing. Files are immediately updated and are accessible online; access privileges and authentication can be implemented for every employee, and people, projects and progress can be monitored and tracked 24/7, in real-time.
Digital transformation has become increasingly vital for enterprises. It enables them to be more cost-effective, agile, innovative and competitive, allows them to react better to the market and meet the needs of ever more demanding customers. Cloud technology is the foundation on which digital transformation is built, offering the ideal environment to deploy advanced technologies and carry out the workloads on which modern organisations depend.
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