Forbes Article: The Three Phases of Digital Transformation, Simplifying Migration To The Hybrid Cloud
POST WRITTEN BY GRANT KIRKWOOD, CTO & CO-FOUNDER – 20 JULY, 2017 Look around and you’ll see that digital transformation is so ubiquitous that it has touched nearly every industry imaginable. Gone are the days of rewinding tapes before returning them to Blockbuster -- they’ve long since been replaced by Netflix and its online streaming platform. Even farmers are incorporating digital technology into their practices to utilize data for a better crop yield.
Digital transformation, defined as the changes that occur in society when digital technologies are applied, represents a fundamental shift in the way businesses operate, completely redefining internal and external activities, processes, competencies and models. By incorporating cutting-edge digital technologies into their everyday operations, companies around the world are developing new business strategies that both enhance the value delivered to customers as well as position themselves for future innovation.
In my experience, the notion of digital transformation extends beyond the implementation of technology, necessitating cultural change throughout an enterprise. This transition forces decision makers to frequently question traditional processes and procedures, opening the door for continual development and improvement.
The cornerstone of digital transformation is the development of new software applications that create a competitive advantage within the marketplace. However, to enable these game-changing innovations and digital transformations, enterprises need to rethink how they consume infrastructure by taking advantage of a hybrid cloud solution.
Making the Shift
Digital transformation has permeated virtually every industry in today’s business landscape, making it critical for companies to adapt if they hope to keep pace with their competition. Due to IT complexities, not everyone will be able to handle the shift on their own. According to the recent IDC report FutureScape: Worldwide CIO Agenda 2016 Predictions, "By 2018, 70% of siloed digital transformation initiatives will ultimately fail because of insufficient collaboration, integration, sourcing or project management." You read that right: Experts predict a failure rate of more than two-thirds for digital transformation initiatives. Fortunately, there is a way to tip the scales in your favor.
Hybrid cloud solution providers can help enterprises successfully achieve digital transformation by enabling them to focus on innovative and transformative software development. By choosing to leverage a fully managed and integrated hybrid cloud platform, companies are freed from the responsibility of building and operating complex infrastructure. Instead, they’re able to consume the cloud resources required in the most cost-effective manner, giving them a platform on which to build innovative new software applications.
I have found that the best course of action for digital transformation solution development and implementation begins with a three-fold process that ensures successful cloud migration of mission-critical applications and software.
Phase One: Evaluation and Design
The process of digital transformation begins with an evaluation of the current application workload. At this stage, a company should work with their cloud provider to assess and prioritize existing applications, determining what should be transitioned immediately and what can wait. Migration targets should identify applications suited for specific private, public or hybrid clouds. This will help to streamline the process of cloud migration, ensuring that the most mission-critical applications are made a priority and that applications are placed most appropriately.
Following this evaluation, the cloud provider should work with the organization to design a hybrid cloud built to suit the migration of their applications. This cloud should be designed with the end goal in mind of creating a completely software-defined architecture that is ready to accommodate more dynamic workloads with an open framework of technologies.
Once the company has a roadmap of its new solution, it’s time to build the new hybrid cloud platform. This is a cloud provider’s bread and butter, as they’re able to expertly coordinate the procurement, deployment and integration of cloud hardware, software and services with ease, drastically simplifying the process for its clients.
Phase Two: Migration and Management
Once a new hybrid cloud platform has been built and integrated, business workloads can be migrated according to the plan. Some cloud providers offer migration services themselves, others rely on third-party migration expert partners, and some leave their clients to figure it out on their own. In my experience, a collaborative effort combining all three has the best results. The client’s IT team will have the most intimate knowledge of their applications, migration specialists will have experience overseeing complex migrations and know what pitfalls to avoid, and the cloud provider will be best positioned to adapt the software-defined architecture to the workload as it’s brought on board.
Once workloads are migrated to the new infrastructure, cloud providers should offer their customers day-to-day support of IT infrastructure and applications to ensure steady functionality. In addition, high-touch cloud providers will use ongoing monitoring to keep a close eye on the newly implemented solution and intercept any potential issues. By leveraging these services, companies can offload day-to-day IT responsibilities to their new partner, allowing them to focus on innovative software initiatives.
Phase Three: Innovation
Now that the architecture is up and running, the company can devote more time to innovation. With help from a cloud provider, enterprises can further define key goals as they develop new business processes and create agile software and applications designed to further enhance their organizations. Some cloud providers offer managed DevOps and agile software development toolchains, eliminating the need to build and operate this in-house. Without concerns of how to maintain and scale cloud infrastructure, or the need to maintain a development environment, the sky is the limit for future innovation, which is the true beauty of digital transformation.
By finding a trusted partner that can provide assistance throughout these three phases of cloud migration and management, a company’s in-house technology team is able to maintain focus on strategic initiatives that help propel their business forward. Digital transformation is all about achieving a competitive edge within the marketplace, and utilizing a hybrid cloud tailored to your company's needs makes that goal possible.
About Unitas Global
Unitas Global is a leading provider of enterprise cloud solutions. Each enterprise cloud solution provides clients with custom, highly secure cloud-based IT environments that are easy-to-consume, fully managed and backed by an end-to-end SLA, guaranteeing application uptime. By offloading day-to-day infrastructure operations to Unitas Global, our clients are able to refocus and optimize their internal IT resources toward their business-centric initiatives. Unitas is headquartered in Los Angeles, with clients and locations spanning the globe. For more information, please visit www.unitasglobal.com.
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