Dushan Ratnam
Dushan RatnamSenior Product Manager, Hybrid Cloud

Several key factors are necessary for a company to complete a successful digital transformation.

Many companies fail to achieve their desired business outcomes because they focus too much on one or two areas, while less obvious areas suffer. Cloud adoption, or migrating applications to the cloud is one form of digital transformation.

Simply put, a digital transformation is the leveraging of technologies to transform your business processes, culture, products, and customer experience to achieve a competitive advantage.

Where is your organisation in the journey to the cloud?

You might be just starting, or you might be in the middle of a major cloud migration. You may even have completed your cloud adoptions and are now enjoying asset-light, trouble-free IT services, so your focus might now be on modernising what you’ve moved. Technologies evolve daily, so companies that fail to leverage the right ‘disruptor’ technologies may be left behind.

Whatever stage you’re at, moving to the cloud is not a set destination but rather an ongoing journey that requires you to assess, modernise, operate, and optimise continuously.

For a successful digital transformation, companies must pay equal attention to multiple areas. Critical areas include security, compliance, connectivity, data, people, culture, business processes, and change management. These are equally important for a successful digital transformation, but this blog will focus on two areas often seen as an afterthought – connectivity and people.

Connectivity is critical to your cloud strategy

Traditional networking technology was built for another era – the era of client/server applications, in which an organisation controlled both the hosting of the applications and network connectivity. 

Today, applications can be hosted in the cloud – anywhere and on any platform. Network data flows can also cross many boundaries, such as those of cloud hosting providers, communications providers, and enterprise networks. Getting the connectivity right is one of the challenges to successful multi-cloud and hybrid-cloud operations.

Many companies are retaining some of their applications in their private cloud, either hosted at the provider's location or, in some instances, taking back some services from the public cloud by building private cloud on-premises (‘repatriation’).

Connectivity is critical when such enterprises operate applications in a hybrid model, a mix of private and public clouds.

Connectivity at the edge

Connectivity becomes even more critical as the data processing gets closer to the edge, and applications become more distributed over private and public clouds. Current trends around 5G and Edge devices inevitably bring the cloud closer to where data is processed, reinforcing the need for cloud-centric connectivity design, right from the outset.

Many companies today operate in a distributed world, so knowing the differences between multi-cloud and ‘multiple’ clouds is critical when designing connectivity:

  • Multiple clouds refers to applications working in different cloud platforms, with limited data exchange between these two environments.
  • Multi-cloud is where applications operate in a true hybrid model, continuously exchanging data between private and public clouds.

 

You’ll only realise the full benefits of moving to a cloud when your cloud strategy is built on distributed applications working in a true hybrid fashion – hence, multi-cloud and not multiple clouds.

With a multiple clouds approach, you are treating hyperscalers like Amazon, Azure, and Google Cloud as another data centre for you to host your applications. This is not modernisation or digital transformation. This is cloud transition or ‘lift and shift’.

Having an infrastructure which is secure, always-on, and connected from anywhere to any location is vital to maximising your cloud capabilities when operating in this manner. So, digital transformation at any scale will only be fully realised with the proper connectivity around you that is built for your distributed world.

People – embracing new ways of working

Although a solid architecture for your digital transformation is critical, it’s only part of the solution. Many businesses prematurely declare their cloud migration as ‘mission accomplished’ before a full transformation. Digital transformation is a mix of:

  • ‘Digital’ – the technology around connectivity, security, cloud infrastructure, data, and compliance.
  • ‘Transformation’ – how you align your people, processes, and culture to adapt to the new environment.

 

Having one and not the other can make you miss some of your business goals. Many companies focus primarily on the digital and technology elements, thinking the cultural and business process shift would happen naturally – but it seldom works like that.

Truly adopting the cloud means working in different ways and using new skill sets, not only in IT but across your business.

Choosing the right partner for successful digital transformation

When choosing a partner to support your digital transformation, you must select an experienced partner to guide you on the technology side. Still, more importantly, the provider should also have the expertise to transform your cultural and business process to operate in this modernised environment.

BT is a leader in connectivity, security, and cloud products and solutions, but we also understand the critical role of cultural transformation. We have a dedicated team of smart transformation specialists to support your infrastructure modernisation, by creating the proper business process.

Our smart transformation team can help you:

  • Define the desired business outcomes of your cloud strategy.
  • Set out a clear change strategy which aligns with your cloud journey.
  • Complete a change impact assessment for people and processes.
  • Get executive and stakeholder alignment and training to fit your existing team into your modernisation workstreams.
  • Provide the right people to support your digital transformation, working together as one digital and business team.
  • Provide a solution that’s always right the first time.