The term “Digital Transformation” has been and continues to be mentioned practically everywhere within the industry at the moment. Depending on whom you talk to and why, you will get many different educated answers back on the definition of the term.
So from a “non-technical” viewpoint what does Digital Transformation actually mean and why should you even care?
Mckinsey, a well known consultancy firm states “Business leaders must have a clear and common understanding of exactly what digital means to them and, as a result, what it means to their business for a deeper look at how companies can develop meaningful digital strategies and drive business performance.”
Now I believe that the above statement is a catch-all statement to preach to the uninitiated within the CXO digital age but if you are like me, you may be discussing Digital Transformation from a different viewpoint. Let’s discuss a few non-technical changes first when we talk about digital transformation.
Cultural Changes with a Digital Disruption
This often gets overlooked when talking about change, however, it deserves a close look. Technology today is a critical business enabler that directly underpins everything we do. As generations pass so do historical ways of working. Once I was happy to read that newspaper on the commute to the office, now I read publications sent directly to my smartphone that have been chosen specifically to my interests. This is a good example of a cultural change that we have simply accepted, and this type of digital transformation is straightforward to understand. However, not all businesses are publication houses or editorial based organisations.
Being Lean and Agile with a Digital Transformation
Every business needs to be on top of operational efficiencies while maintaining an ability to be agile. However, achieving this is a “secret ingredient” that is not easy to apply to a recipe of success for organisations. By applying a “digital first” mentality, any given business can benefit from the technical infrastructure that promises agility and not bleeding edge technical concepts. Let’s face it, we are not going to regress as a species and decide digitalisation is not going to be part of our lives, it is only going to speed up our own digital transformation evolution. Cloud Computing started this trend and it’s only going to increase with the adoption of digital currencies and other major changes to the way we interact day to day.
Achieving competitive advantage with a Digital Transformation
Now, with a business mind-set, you can see where this makes sense. We have all been reminded, in various digital transformation workshops, seminars and events, of the Kodak rise and fall. Once the most dominant photographic company on the planet, leading the way with the development of digital photography, to quite simply lose out and eventually go out of business because they sat back and waited far too long to launch. This was incredible considering their market share and global footprint. However, I believe that many more surprises are in store over the next few years, showing us again that even some of the largest companies on the planet can get it wrong.
There are many more reasons for having a digital transformation strategy, but the few listed here are good examples of pressing questions to ask yourself and organisation that will prompt a discussion that at the very least will start you on that journey. Of course, you may think all change comes at a cost. Yes it does, but keep in mind that short-term pain can lead to long-term gain and never a more true statement can be made about digital transformation.
Digital Transformation and Intel platforms
Technology is always pigeonholed into categories and type, but in all honesty, it shouldn’t matter to the end consumer as long as the results are the same right? Intel architectures are very well known and also common within the end consumer (your computer at home?) as well as being in the workplace.
Intel platforms are cheaper per box, and scale well in smaller increments, but they aren’t the best platform for large scale transaction processing, and other high throughput computing concerns. Mainframe technology has been in place for decades and has been, quite literately, running most of the largest firm’s core data processing infrastructures in the world.
This sleeping dragon, so to speak, has had face-lifts, modifications, additions, and extras while embracing the world of Opensource technology too. It’s faster, more secure and more resilient than ever before which enables consumers of this technology to be ahead of the digital curve. I can access my mainframe application from my smart device securely; I can have the agility and raw power of cloud computing burstability within a single box. I can also create virtual machines with automatic failover – up to 8000 within a single unit. My point is this – I may be slightly biased to mainframe technology given my background, but why wouldn’t I be when the numbers add up, and this type of technology has evolved into an easy medium to use for a digital transformation?