By Mark Wayne – Head of Solutions, Aptronics
Digital transformation has been a reality for organisations for many decades with the advent of enablers such as the internet, personal computers, commodity servers, artificial intelligence (AI), and mobile devices.
The technology progression of these enablers over my 28-year career in IT has been both fascinating and awe-inspiring to observe—the possibilities for digital transformation with the ever-growing speeds, versatility and options seem almost limitless.
Digital transformation began by taking basic analogue processes and digitising them to achieve operational efficiencies and cost savings.
Today, it has the potential to fundamentally revolutionise whole industries and provide a competitive edge; however, the advancements that enable digital transformation present a challenge for many organisations due to the sheer number of technologies and concepts available.
Navigating transformation is a complex undertaking, especially for established companies as it encompasses a business and technology change, rather than a greenfield adoption making it difficult to embrace more efficient and innovative ways of working through digitisation.
By contrast, new startups with simpler core IT systems are more agile and can accelerate their time to market, and deliver an improved customer experience, making it difficult to compete.
Today, digital transformation involves all organisational stakeholders as it fundamentally changes dimensions such as finance, compliance, governance, security, business models, human resources, processes and procedures, skills, marketing and more.
The impact of COVID-19 on digital transformation
The history of the handshake dates back to the fifth century B.C. in Greece.
It was a symbol of peace, designed to show that neither person was carrying a weapon.
This changed over time and handshaking became the most ubiquitous greeting around the world; however, it will probably never be the norm again.
COVID-19 has been immensely disruptive and driven fundamental business changes. The pandemic rapidly shifted workforces from centralised to decentralised and many processes that were dependent on colocation were rendered near-obsolete overnight.
Businesses had to seek ways to sustain a distributed workforce while maintaining and measuring productivity with a secure framework—those that had digitised the workforce fared much better.
Companies have realised that they can redesign their business models and benefit from a distributed workforce.
Many have been carrying the cost of unused corporate office space and are beginning to evaluate if this overhead could be removed by permanently transitioning to a remote working model.
As the COVID-19 pandemic rapidly reshapes our world, consumers have begun shopping online in greater numbers and frequency—for the first time in history, online shopping over the 2020 Christmas period surpassed traditional brick and mortar procurement.
The pandemic has heightened uncertainty and the strategies and mindsets of organisations have shifted—the willingness to embark on bold or experimental strategies has diminished.
Companies want to preserve capital and maintain liquidity and the costs and value of technology are being scrutinised in detail; however, organisations need to invest in new operating models to respond swiftly to the rapidly changing business environment.
They need to be agile to cope with future change and sustain themselves, yet digital transformation is typified by risk-taking and uncertainty which creates a layer of complexity.
As-a-Service IT models
Digital transformation is not a simple undertaking and not all IT spend is an investment.
One option for organisations wishing to enable transformation while reducing complexity, mitigating risk and managing costs, is to consider a utility-based As-a-Service IT model, like HPE’s GreenLake which involves a shift from a capital expenditure (CapEx) to an operating expense (OpEx) model.
Cloud is central to digital transformation—users want a public cloud experience; however, in many cases, data must remain on-premises for several reasons such as compliance and security, or using applications that are too complex to migrate, for example.
An IT consumption model mimics the public cloud experience but in an organisation’s environment or co-location facility.
How As-a-Service models work
A business’s immediate and projected capacity requirements are assessed, and the solution is installed with a buffer of capacity included.
There are no upfront capital investments—usage is determined by metering capacity, and the company will only pay for what is actually used.
Capacity can be scaled up, or down according to demand which improves forecasting and budgeting and enables CIOs to better utilise IT resources.
In traditional environments, it can be difficult to predict how much infrastructure will be needed in the future and many companies have lengthy procurement cycles, so err on the side of caution by over-investing in capacity which is often wasted.
These same protracted procurement cycles can also give rise to Shadow IT as business units circumvent IT and purchase their own solutions to speed up their time to market.
This introduces security and governance risks and results in uncontrolled costs.
IT consumption models can be applied to infrastructure, software and managed services and businesses can select the services they want to run As-a-Service.
As-a-Service can help CIOs to optimise costs, enable agility, create a faster time to market, and free up resources from mundane tasks like capacity planning so they can concentrate on the more strategic initiatives for their businesses.
Digital transformation with Aptronics and HPE
We live in a multi-cloud world and there are several public cloud providers in the market, along with many hosted cloud environments available to businesses today.
With all these options—and considering the pros and cons of each—many companies are moving to hybrid-cloud environments.
Where their workloads reside is determined by their business strategy and is based on factors such as finance and compliance, governance, security, lifecycles, process and procedure, security, and more.
Aptronics and HPE provide a range of solutions from ‘Cloud-like’ pay-per-use business models and services for traditional on-premises infrastructure to cloud-native serverless services.
Together they have the skills to design an organisation’s digital transformation and build a strategic roadmap that addresses unique business challenges through advisory and professional services.
Aptronics and HPE have a comprehensive portfolio that spans cloud, security, mobility, consulting, assessments, opinion and idea-sharing, infrastructure, toolsets, strategy formulation and more.
Aptronics, together with HPE, enables businesses to engage with a team of experts that can support initiatives ranging from on-premises traditional infrastructure (servers, storage, networking, and hyper-converged solutions) to OpEx-based As-a-Service models utilising HPE GreenLake.