Is cloud technology the key to digital transformation?

Digital Transformation

Spending on digital transformation technology is expected to reach $1.3 trillion this year, according to IDC. [1] What’s more this figure is expected to double by 2021. So digital transformation is very much flavour of the month. But how much of this spending is being directed towards the cloud, and how crucial is the cloud to the whole transformation process.

Improving business processes

The idea behind digital transformation is the same whether your business is a large or a small one. It’s about leveraging technology to not just replicate an older process, but to actively make that process better and more efficient.

This might involve a number of technologies, such as the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, big data, and of course the cloud. But getting the benefits from these technologies isn’t always as easy as it might seem. For the more established technologies such as the cloud, the benefits are much clearer and that means it can be used as a good first step into a broader digital transformation.

Using the cloud allows modernisation of infrastructure and building in secure data practices. This allows the business to focus on what it can do to provide its customers with a better digital service. This then makes the cloud a good first step towards more complex and challenging digital transformation technologies.

Dealing with legacy systems

Many businesses still rely on older systems, often running on costly in-house platforms. While these might still be working effectively they do, of necessity, have a limited lifespan in the world of digital transformation. It’s pointless basing new systems around platforms that won’t be easy to update in future.

Creating a secure cloud platform makes it much easier to update and expand services as the needs of your business and your customers evolve. Historically, this may have been easier for large organisations, but the increasing commoditisation and falling cost of cloud services now puts this type of strategy within the grasp of SMBs too.

Choosing a cloud partner

Of course, unless you have the resources of a large corporation, it probably isn’t going to be practical to establish your own in-house cloud. For this reason, you need to find the right cloud partner.

You need a platform that allows your business to grow and to change, so your cloud partner needs to recognise this. They need to be able to give you scalability to expand your processing power, memory and storage to suit your needs. This may be as your business expands, or to cope with seasonal peaks in demand.

You also need a partner to deliver a robust and reliable system. If your business is relying on the cloud then downtime can prove very costly. You need to ensure that there is a suitable backup regime in place and that recovery plans are tested regularly. Of course to do all of this in-house would be time-consuming and costly. There is a major advantage to getting a partner to do the work of creating a solid digital platform, but you must ensure that it meets your needs.

Although digital transformation has been around for a while, many businesses, particularly smaller ones, are only just beginning to realise the benefits it can offer. As these companies start to shape their transformation initiatives, they can make things run more smoothly by putting the cloud front and centre in their strategies. This can provide them with a reliable and safe platform now, but crucially one on which they can build a strategy for their future growth and commercial success.

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[1] https://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS43381817