Digital transformation: your journey to the cloud
By James Russell, Head of Cloud Practice
Digital transformation might just seem like another buzzword being thrown around by the technology industry. However, this is one of those buzzwords that you might not be able to ignore. Technology is changing the way organisations operate and the growing concern is that anyone without the latest technology will be left behind.
When it comes to how successful organisations operate, times are definitely changing. The, “if it isn’t broken then don’t fix it,” model simply doesn’t work anymore. Technology moves too quickly and your competitors are moving with it. It’s not about keeping up, it’s about not falling behind.
What is digital transformation?
It is difficult to create a single definition for digital transformation as it will be unique for every business. At a high level, it is the introduction of technology to all areas of an organisation resulting in operational improvements and how better value and service is delivered to customers.
The drivers for digital transformation tend to come from market newcomers, who can take advantage of newer technology without having to change an existing process or platform, or from competitors who have already invested in innovating their processes in order to win more business.
Digital transformation is made possible by lower cost compute power, storage and bandwidth, paired with increasingly affordable technologies such as cloud, mobile applications, artificial intelligence (AI), big data, internet of things (IoT) and machine learning.
The starting point of digital transformation is to understand why cloud computing is underpinning the digital revolution. To define cloud computing, it is the on-demand delivery of compute power, database storage, applications, and other IT resources through a services platform accessed via the internet usually with pay-as-you-go pricing. When you move some of your infrastructure to the cloud, that’s digital transformation. When customers can make payments through your website or can make appointments online, that’s digital transformation. When employees can manage and track their time via a mobile application, that’s also digital transformation.
What can I do to make a difference today?
Processes that involve paper forms or sign off from a number of key people can be moved online to give your business a competitive advantage. Slick, accurate, non-manual processes free up your staff time to focus on your clients. Microsoft is investing in technologies to enable this, namely PowerApps and Flow. Flow allows you to create links between a huge number of common systems in an organisation and empower super users to create their own efficiencies through developing their own online processes. Other workflow providers like Nintex, have developed workflows that are designed to benefit at organisation level, for example client on-boarding, or new starters and leavers processes.
Digital business transformation works best when it combines technology with human review and assessment. For example, AI can be used to review your clients’ behaviour and highlight higher risk behaviour, ready for review by compliance or risk teams, highlighting issues before they become one. Instead of doing one internet search on a client for client due diligence, AI can constantly and consistently monitor and flag up when it finds relevant information.
Other developments like content services platforms enable all of your documents, emails and information sources, wherever they are, to be found at the click of a button. This makes data protection, freedom of information and GDPR legislation easier to manage.
How can cloud technologies enable your digital transformation journey?
The cloud has changed much more than how IT is implemented and managed. The very fabric of businesses is shifting. With real-time access to data and intelligent new ways of viewing, analysing and using information, the cloud has created powerful new capabilities that disrupt entire business models.
One of the biggest challenges associated with cloud technology is choice, which can become overwhelming. There are public clouds, private clouds, hybrid clouds and multi-tenant clouds. The decision over which of the cloud offerings is best for you will come down to what your biggest business issues or challenges are currently. Once you have identified your priorities, you can look for the right solution.
- Is it about decreasing costs?
- Is it about increasing productivity in the workforce?
- Is there an aging data centre that needs to be replaced?
- Is the business looking to accelerate innovation?
The cloud can be the solution to all of these challenges and can also be the stimulus you need to start your complete digital transformation journey.
Data sovereignty in the Channel Islands and other offshore locations is a key consideration when it comes to cloud options. Many businesses have terms in their client contracts that state the data will remain offshore. This would immediately rule out the majority of public cloud offerings as they are based outside of the Channel Islands. C5 Alliance provides a solution to this problem by hosting a fully managed cloud solution in Jersey and Guernsey. This service can be utilised in a very similar way to public cloud offerings for infrastructure as a service but with the peace of mind that the entirety of your data is stored in the Channel Islands.
Digital transformation is as much about a cultural change as it is a technical change. It may involve your existing IT team working collaboratively with a service provider to access the right expertise and experience. The management of backups is a time-consuming task for IT teams. As an important aspect of IT infrastructure, backups can take up a lot of resources. If you were able to free up this time, your IT team could focus more on the business needs. As a simple step on your digital transformation journey, you could look to take advantage of ‘backup as a service’ (BaaS). C5 is able to offer a fully managed BaaS solution whilst maintaining data residency in the Channel Islands.
The use of cloud services can undoubtedly play a key role in any digital transformation but like many things it is about the journey. The journey can be made as smooth as possible through defined objectives to meet your business challenges and by utilising the right expertise. At C5, our ‘Advise, Build and Run’ service delivery model can enable the digital transformation journey through our best of breed solutions.
If you would like to discuss your cloud requirements, please get in touch with Richard Welsh, Chief Commercial Officer, C5 Alliance – Richard.Welsh@c5alliance.com