Given the exponential growth of data generated by mobile devices in the connected business landscape, organisations have no choice but to embrace digital transformation initiatives. But while technology is an important aspect of it, customer experience will be one of the most significant drivers behind this change.
The 2017 IT Spending Intentions Survey has found that 96 percent of organisations have digital transformation on their roadmap with more than half of those activities currently being implemented. And while maintaining a competitive advantage is an important reason behind this shift, embracing innovation in the areas of data and availability are other, often more important parts in this evolution.
As millennials are entering the workforce, their changing expectations regarding products and services are forcing enterprises to either embrace an always-on environment or risk losing their relevancy. In certain respects, digital transformation has surpassed consumerisation as the next pillar behind a shift in what the customer of the future will look like.
Access to data
In all of this, availability of data is fundamental. According to the 2017 Veeam Availability Report, 69 percent of global enterprises feel that availability is a requirement for digital transformation. Unfortunately, 66 percent of respondents say initiatives are held back by unplanned downtime caused by the likes of cyber-attacks, infrastructure failures, network outages, and natural disasters.
The deployment of cloud technologies fits into the move towards future-proofing operations while reducing the reliance on legacy solutions. Analytics and the real-time access of data are fundamentally required to create a digital dependency in this always-on environment.
But access to data now involves more than just a business advantage. Veeam’s Availability Report revealed that almost half of respondents surveyed see a loss of customer confidence due to data availability issues. Additionally, 40 percent experienced damage to brand integrity, which affected both brand reputation and customer retention when there is no access to reliable data.
Preparing for digital transformation
This is not to say an organisation can simply adopt cloud or other virtualised solutions to be ready for a digital environment. The reality is that new customers require enterprises that are investing in the right areas for transformation.
Those ones maintaining a focus towards on-premise access to data will start losing momentum as the new breed of customers expect a more inclusive solutions environment. They are accessing company information irrespective of device or location and rely on the business to provide the information they need whenever or wherever they want it.
As such, the Internet of Things (IoT) is continually driving a more connected experience with a myriad of devices being linked to databases. These must be available in a cloud environment. This is not necessarily only through a public cloud offering, but certainly through a hybrid solution that brings together data from all sources.
The biggest challenge for enterprises in this environment is knowing what to put (information, applications, and data) and where to put it (a public cloud, private cloud, or both).
Digital transformation and availability go hand-in-hand. How best to manage it for the improvement and enhancement of the customer experience will be vital.
By: Claude Schuck, regional manager for Africa at Veeam