Rick Vanover, Director of Technical Product Marketing and Evangelism at Veeam Software, tells Intelligent CIO what he believes are the current barriers to digital transformation in the Middle East and how these can be overcome.
Digital transformation is now requisite for survival for all enterprises in the Middle East, across all industries. The exponential growth that we are going to see in data from connected devices and increased mobility will contribute to a greater strain on legacy IT systems. But this transformation is not straightforward, and requires healthy investment, with a clear strategy on data availability to underpin it.
Many businesses and processes simply cannot operate in a ‘manual mode’ today, this is the central theme of any headline outage – a clear digital dependency.
The modern enterprise needs to be anchored with key technologies provided by virtualisation, modern storage systems and cloud technologies in order to be fully transformative. Having 24.7.365 access to data, services and applications must be the narrative thread that continually drives the digital transformation story.
This is where the sophisticated deployment of cloud technologies fits into transforming the enterprise from legacy to future-proofed. It’s not simply about adopting cloud as a whole, but investing in the right areas. Not enough enterprises are yet leveraging the lower cost and flexibility benefits of the public cloud, and there’s still an assumption that data must be kept on-premise due to perceived security issues.
Enterprises must go beyond simple application testing in the public cloud environment. It’s about using hybrid cloud in a way that benefits the individual organisation, and its workloads. For example, a university may choose to move some of its workloads to the public cloud – to benefit from its scale and responsiveness – at particularly busy times during the year, as it knows it will be dealing with a vast influx of data that an on-premise setup may not handle. But examples like this – of deploying a hybrid cloud model to leverage the respective merits of public and private infrastructures to transform the business – is still too rare.
The biggest challenge to adopting new technologies on the road to digital transformation can be a combination of people, processes and problems. The people (whether it be users or IT staff) can have objections to change or possibly do not have the bandwidth to take on another technology. Processes suffer a similar challenge in that there may be compatibility issues; especially with legacy applications. These create problems when it comes to adopting a new technology; as the migration processes can be difficult and many organisations need a compelling value to make the effort worthwhile.
In my practice, I advocate that the effort of change is worth it when you consider key benefits – such as a better Availability experience. This is a fundamental driver for many changes. For example, an organisation may need a robust disaster recovery strategy, but in order to get there some legacy applications need to change. They can’t have the rich disaster recovery experience without key modernisations; this becomes a business discussion: Can the legacy technologies give the business the Availability experience they need?