Digital transformation is sweeping across the enterprise landscape with billions of dollars being spent on moving organisations to be more customer-centric, thereby creating new business opportunities and driving down costs through operational efficiencies.
These include a wide spectrum of initiatives from large-scale adoption of cloud technologies to an increasing focus on edge computing and delivering new customer experiences across channels like mobile and voice-driven interfaces.
While a lot has been said and done on this already, 2019 will see all the work till now delivering impactful results.
The following questions come to mind as the vectors for a successful digital transformation:
- What kind of differentiated customer experiences need to be delivered?
- How efficiently can software-driven infrastructure be deployed and scaled across the breadth of the enterprise?
- How can hitherto unexplored business opportunities that have the potential to create significant new lines of business be enabled?
- How does employee talent strategy need to change to align with digital transformation imperatives?
Digital transformation in this region is accelerating with many enterprises that have either gone mainstream or are on the cusp of major deployments. The three areas that will see major growth in 2019 are: edge computing with intelligence, security; and manageability; hybrid cloud as a single borderless entity; end-user computing delivering smoother customer experiences; edge computing with intelligence, security and manageability.
“By 2022, as a result of digital business projects, 75% of enterprise-generated data will be created and processed outside the traditional, centralised data centre or cloud, which is an increase from less than today's 10%,” according to market research firm Gartner.
As the deployment of edge devices increases within enterprises fuelled by growth in various kinds of mobile devices and Internet of Things (IoT), the dialogue is starting to shift towards big data, security and manageability at scale.
The technologies that delivered SDDC (Software Defined Data Center) for the cloud are now being brought to the edge to enable intelligent processing for decision-making and data management supported by granular security paradigms such as micro-segmentation at the edge and manageability of devices at scale.
The value of edge computing becomes even more apparent when we consider the large-scale deployments that are happening with millions of distributed networks of sensors, cameras or other end-devices on the edges of the enterprise cloud as businesses scale out. Technologies to corral such large distributed networks in a secure, controlled and automated manner are available now. In fact, endpoint security has advanced to a point that isolation followed by a remote ‘wipe’ can happen if an intruder or tampering is detected anywhere on the IoT or end-device network.
Technologies are offering greatly enhanced capabilities like broader deployment/reach, more intelligent operations, faster innovation and better protection to customers than currently possible.
When Managed Service and software-as-a-service (SaaS) support are added to the mix, even the deployment of millions of IoT devices can become effortless. Edge Computing and IoT computing technologies like these can not only accelerate business agility to scale, and manage and secure their growing infrastructure elements, but also enhance the customer experiences that can result from it.
Hybrid cloud as a single borderless entity
The old debate about public versus private cloud has now shifted to the reality of hybrid cloud. This consists of both private and public cloud environments being managed as a single, borderless entity.
There are proven technologies to enable workloads with applications and data to be moved securely and without any disruption across public and private clouds to suit business requirements of burst capacity, cost management or business continuity through disaster recovery. This will enable enterprises to focus more on cloud capabilities rather than be overwhelmed by their management complexity.
Great innovations are also afoot in bringing ‘Cloud to On-prem’. It involves cloud-optimised tools provided by cloud partners as plug- and-play which operate on premises with a common control plane shared by the cloud environment.
There are also other cloud-optimised resources like databases being made available on premises in a managed service model. This is a testament to the need for hybrid cloud infrastructure and its ability to service diverse business needs.
End-user offerings delivering smoother customer experiences
There is widespread consumerisation of the enterprise as employees and customers demand consumer-like experiences. There is growing need for enterprises to provide resources and tools that enhance employee productivity through customisation of applications for their function without hampering their freedom. They need to be available at the time they are needed based on the role/profile/location in a secure environment.
End User Computing (EUC) offerings in the market have advanced to a point where customised client environments are readily made available to employees in a secure and virtualised manner. By balancing employee experience and needs with enterprise resources and security imperatives, employees can be supported well and satisfied as they interact with advanced technologies and grow their skills. All of this can be done anytime anywhere on any device of their choice in a highly secure environment which can be closely monitored.
On the threshold of major growth
When IoT and edge computing, the two critical components of digital transformation are fully enabled, organisations will be able to focus on business applications and provide them with local intelligence and compute power rather than on remote cloud infrastructure.
When coupled with flexible end-user offerings, such digitally transformed enterprises are more likely to innovate and differentiate their businesses.
Digital transformation has been in progress over the last few years and has already been making a huge difference to enterprises and their customers. However, with the maturing of edge computing, hybrid cloud management and end-user computing technologies, the picture of where digital transformation is heading has gotten a lot sharper.
It is exciting to note that as enterprises get ready to make major shifts in deploying these three technologies in the region, digital transformation is on the threshold of major growth in scale and depth in 2019 delivering impactful results for the enterprises.
The writer is vice-president and managing site director at VMware, India R&D.
Ramkumar Narayanan is vice president, technology, and managing site director, R&D, at VMWare India. The views in this article are his own.