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The Digital Age: Orchestrating data and unlocking opportunities

Technology has revolutionized the way we live, interact and do business with people worldwide.

As the saying goes, in today’s fast-paced digital age, “Change is the only constant.” And companies that fail to embrace it will eventually go out of business.

Leaders don’t follow

According to IDC, Digital Transformation (DX) will drive changes in enterprise business models and ecosystems by leveraging digital competencies.

To get there, business leaders need to transform and lead digitally powered organisations that can do more in delivering business outcomes rather than merely adapting to change. They must be capable of predicting the strategic outcomes and, in the best examples, actually drive and deliver it end-to-end.

As such, CIOs are under constant pressure by Lines-of-Business (LoBs) to transform legacy, siloed infrastructure into holistic and interconnected IT platforms for businesses to scale. The goal is to get to a point where businesses can truly enjoy cost-efficiency, agility and ultimately extract real value from the nearly infinite ocean of data.

Orchestrating the “data” symphony

When it comes to embracing the digital transformation, the most common pitfall among organisation is misalignment between business investment and IT needs.  Transformation does not mean that businesses need to invest into a variety of “digital” solutions. They need to strategically put themselves into the shoes of their customers’, take a “digital-first” approach to ensure an end-to-end customer journey and experience.

A staggering survey result from the Altimeter Group’s “State of Digital Transformation” white paper  reveals that while 88% of companies report undergoing a digital transformation, only 25% have mapped the digital customer journey and have a clear understanding of new or underperforming digital touch-points.

Understanding the changing behaviour of customers is pivotal to the success of digital transformation. As customers shift to a mobile-first, digitalized lifestyle, gaining insights into  content consumption, workplace collaborations and lifestyle purchase pattern through technology innovation is the most sensible way to reap the benefit of digital investment.

It’s high time that businesses bring CIOs into to the decision-making process and invite these proven IT experts to help map, manage and capture a larger share of their own particular marketplace.

Moving to the 3rd platform

Technology powers innovation.  Today, we’ve gone from simple mobile phones, to being digitally connected nomads with smart app-driven devices. As a result, demand for enterprise computing and data storage has exploded. Enterprise IT has also evolved from the monolithic 1st platform to the LAN/Internet and PC-centric of 2nd platform.  The emergence of cloud, mobile, big data and the Internet of Things — and the myriad of solutions built on them – has accelerated the move into the 3rd  platform. Besides supporting digital transformation, the 3rd platform will, according to IDC, account for one-third of all IT spending and 100% of IT growth in 2015 and beyond.

As organisations embark on their own transformation, the IT priorities will be around ensuring resilience and reliability of business operations, engagement with customers and speedy product and services delivery.

Often, businesses have a misconception that the digital transformation journey starts with Cloud, and moving step-by-step into big data analytics, mobility and social business.  Truth is, they can realized the move into the3rd platform with a clear digital strategy that maps out the customer needs, business outcomes and aligns workloads with the most suitable infrastructure, performance model and applications arrays. This strategy in turn informs the necessary business and IT alignment necessary to achieve the intended business outcomes.

Sounds complicated? Well, let’s take the recent Tour de France for example. When enthusiastic fans and media expect to get every bit of the breaking news and exciting moments at their fingertips any time via any device, it’s the CIOs’ responsibility to fulfil the needs through technology innovation.

Providing the world with first-hand, real-time data analytics from each of the 198 riders to fans, media and sports team across three countries within a span of 21 days is by no means an easy feat. The revolutionary viewing experience requires an accurate and seamless orchestration of digitisation, cloud, mobility, security, and data analytics capabilities – all conducted simultaneously.

Dimension Data took the challenge, and its global team spread across 11 cities and five continents delivered the solution within five months. Dimension Data powered 6,100 hours of TV broadcasts across 100 channels globally, provided live coverage to 2,000 accredited media and 3.7 million social media fans.

This first-of-its-kind big-data driven event delivered  impressive statistics. The live-tracking website drew 664,000 hits, with the highest number of unique visitors supported on a single day reaching 75,000!

Laser focus on cyber security

Underlying any digital transformation is the risk of security breaches. Enterprises are wary of moving mission-critical data to the cloud simply because of the lack of confidence to the ubiquitous digital space.

In the digital transformation journey cyber-security evolves into intelligence-driven solutions. EMC2 together with Dimension Data help organisations reduce the risks of operating in a digital world. Through visibility, analysis, and action, proven solutions give clients the ability to detect, investigate and respond to advanced threats, confirm and manage identities and ultimately, help prevent IP theft, fraud and cybercrime.

Get ready and move on

Turning business outcomes into reality with digital transformation requires continuous investment.

For most organisations, the true digital transformation has yet to begun. The key to success lies with aligning your business objective, growth model, pain-points, and customers’ insights to the imminent digital transformation.

By collaborating with IT partners in cloud, big data analytics, network, companies can master the digital disruption and deliver the business outcomes in ubiquitous new distribution channels and rapidly evolving customer engagement models.

Jahangir Naina

General Manager, Data Centre Business - Asia Pacific