How to Create a Digital Transformation Strategy
In today’s digital environment, continuous innovation and IT transformation are critical to remain successful. Development of a reliable digital transformation strategy allows companies to improve customer service, increase reliability and security, and also stay competitive. Several basic stages of digital transformation can be identified for better understanding of main principles.
Step 1 – Analysis of current business processes and existing IT infrastructure
Full audit is required to identify bottlenecks in current business model and IT environment, create transformation roadmap and start digitalization. Parameters to be evaluated at this stage:
- current architecture and its efficiency
- server utilization productivity
- state of active and passive network equipment
- software applications
- short and long-term risks
- security system
- business continuity plan
Step 2 – Investigation of technology landscape to add to digital transformation strategy
IT department identifies all possible ways to improve ineffective processes and get rid of legacy applications. Experts try to find a solution to cover detected challenges and to choose the best option based on criteria that is most suitable for a specific company. Technologies listed below are an integral part of any digital transformation strategy and should be considered in detail:
Containers are relatively new on IT landscape and one of the most actively developing segments of the IT industry, focused on simplicity of cloud usage. Containers allow to run multiple applications on the same machine with quick provisioning and full resource isolation. Docker is one of the leading container technologies. It is similar to a regular virtual machine but more agile and fast as it has almost complete independence from the underlying infrastructure and reduced resource consumption. Therefore technologies shift from traditional virtual machines towards containers. Large enterprises use them to create a cloud IT infrastructure and run R&D workloads.
Cloud Solutions (SaaS, PaaS, IaaS)
On-premise IT infrastructure becomes obsolete every 3-5 years, because company IT resource requirements are constantly growing. Currently, there are three main models of cloud services and one of them can become an essential part of any digital transformation roadmap:
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). IaaS is a flexible solution for creating own infrastructure with virtual servers and machines. Companies get the same resources but reduce capital costs and remove the whole range of tasks for maintaining and updating outdated in-house equipment
- Platform as a Service (PaaS). PaaS is the youngest cloud service model. The PaaS solutions essence is that not just a set of simple virtual machines is allocated, but a whole platform. This allows simplifying application deployment in a cloud
- Software as a Service (SaaS). Only SaaS applications are directly accessible by end users and fundamentally differ from IaaS and PaaS class solutions in a way of provisioning, scaling and billing
SaaS solution is available immediately after a sign-up process that is especially beneficial in conditions of rapidly growing small and medium-sized businesses. According to that fact it is reasonable to assess various SaaS products in a digital transformation strategy – SaaS companies can overcome digital transformation challenges cutting project timelines from months to days.
А highly specialized and fully automated solution to migrate workloads from on-premise datacenter to a cloud, as well as a multi-cloud environment, helps companies to implement cloud transformation strategy. The products are 100% covered with RESTful API and ensure high automation ratio and integration with current management systems.
Workloads management (budget and provisioning control)
Except numerous benefits of cloud IT environment, companies may face some digital transformation challenges such as waste of cloud spending and weak IT budget and quota control. Hybrid Cloud Management Platforms help to eliminate those barriers providing full budget transparency and provisioning control. The platforms are considered as a ‘must have’ in any digital transformation strategy. They provide a budget-driven IT resource control and forecast cloud costs, budgets and quotas assignment per business unit, project or user. Hybrid Cloud Management Platform helps to prevent budget exceed with predictive insights, sophisticated reports and resource optimization based on deep analytics of historical data and current IT environment usage.
IT Resilience and Disaster Recovery
Online presence of businesses is rapidly growing, and cloud computing and networks become more important. It leads to an increasing number of cyber-attacks. As a result, cybersecurity has become a crucial basis for business success. Planning of digital transformation will no longer be complete without an analysis of security risks, potential vulnerabilities and actions to prevent cyber-attacks.
Also, such an essential topic as Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity can be covered with a cutting-edge specialized software. There is a tendency to think that Disaster Recovery strategy is needed to be included in a digital transformation plan only for high-tech companies which losses from a short-term downtime are measured in millions of dollars. But would it not be less critical for companies with lower revenues to lose money and ruin their reputation?
Having a well-developed Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity strategy is vital for fintech, telecommunication companies, tech companies and manufacturing. Fully automated Disaster Recovery software allows to replicate workloads from virtual or physical environments to any cloud platform with minimal RPO and RTO values. The solution boots devices directly from cloud-native snapshots and enables companies to minimize downtime. Sophisticated failback to production helps to return workloads back without any data loss and in a planned maintenance window.
Step 3 – Economic analysis of implementation costs and benefits
During the implementation of a digital transformation strategy every company should assess economic benefits for improving processes through introduction of new technologies and eliminating outdated software. In order to make a final decision, it is necessary to evaluate implementation costs and potential future benefits.
According to the latest research, an investment into hybrid cloud management platform can save up to 35% of your monthly cloud bill.
Virtualization and clouds aim to reduce capital expenditures (CAPEX) and switch to operating expenses (OPEX). Usage of such solutions helps to free up CAPEX in order to move capital costs to other directions.
Step 4 – Analysis of the effect
Predictive insights provide an opportunity to evaluate benefits of new technologies:
- expensive and complex technologies – a comprehensive calculation is needed to evaluate a positive effect of using a new technology
- simple and ready-to-use technologies – deployment of a pilot version and team assessment is possible
Step 5 – Analysis and adjustments of digital transformation results
Continuous trends analysis, other business units experience and taking into account new industry standards to strengthen digital transformation adoption are crucial aspects of success. If you still hesitate to start digital transformation, learn more about successful transformation strategies from the examples below.
Success stories of digital transformation strategies
Adobe on Microsoft Azure
Adobe wanted to help its customers to understand how people engage with the content created through the Adobe Creative Cloud, so it built the Adobe Experience Cloud to integrate data analytics with content, audience and campaign management. By partnering with Microsoft to connect Experience Cloud with Microsoft Azure and Dynamics 365, Adobe can offer businesses a 360-degree customer view and the tools to create, deliver and manage digital experiences, backed by a globally scalable cloud platform.
Expedia on Amazon Web Services
Expedia is committed to continuous digital transformation to create a great users and customers experience. With on-premise data centers in Chandler, AZ it is hard to enable a quick and responsive service with minimal network latency all over the world. So starting from 2010 Expedia uses AWS and plans to migrate 80 percent of its mission-critical apps from its on-premises data centers to the cloud in the next couple of years.
Target on Google Cloud Platform
Target decided to move to Google Cloud with a goal to increase elasticity and agility after wasting millions of dollars during downtime on Cyber Monday. With the execution of a few simple commands Target span up a new database on a bigger server and redirected the traffic. Infrastructure, that took weeks to provision, can now be provisioned in a matter of minutes. Target leverages Google Cloud to create an online experience that has increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Nick Smirnov, CEO and Co-Founder at Hystax Inc.