Transforming digitally means transforming the human: new paradigms in cloud journeys
The phrase “digital transformation” has become one that’ appears in just about every article written about business and technology in the last five years. Clearly, it means different things to different people, and by dint of its repetition, it’s become one of those buzz phrases that can mean very little.
For the larger technology vendors, what the transformation refers to goes beyond the hardware and software on offer. Change applies just as much to business processes, people, and strategy, too. That’s because there are almost no roles in today’s world that involve a profession with virtually no digital technology at all. Transforming anything digitally will, therefore, by proxy mean a corresponding change in the way people work.
And of course, the most significant change in the way that people are working today is the cloud. Any process of digital transformation, therefore, goes in parallel with a cloud strategy. The details of how the applications and services based in the cloud are deployed and developed become the details of digital transformation. To say “we’re moving to a cloud-first approach” is a fuzzy statement; the cloud platform itself, the DevOps approach to cloud deployment, automation and scaling (it’s a long list) — these are all the details that, when adequately engaged with, will differentiate whether an enterprise will succeed in taking advantage of all the cloud has to offer in the long term, or whether it will struggle to transform at all, and potentially not survive.
The three vendors we feature below are well known, and indeed are household names in technology and business circles. While each has its own approach and supporting methodology, tool-sets, capabilities, and fortés, all three have been producing the technology that’s at the cutting edge of what’s possible for long enough to rightly laud their accomplishments.
But the nature of those accomplishments means that the solutions on offer from each are not necessarily proprietary. The underpinnings of the cloud are open source. Every technology giant has produced fantastic software, but in the main, for it to be widely accepted, the company has open-sourced its applications and tools. By distributing code for free, it gets certified-by-the-masses as fit for purpose. Further, of course, it gets developed and improved by the people who use it to create business outcomes. Instead of a single entity (like a board of directors) dictating where an application might go, what features it might offer, it’s the users in the wild who produce their own directions to achieve their business outcomes.
That’s a healthy situation and one that leads to companies (like those below) differentiating themselves by the support and expertise they can offer. When we seek digital transformation partners, therefore, we seek technology companies, but ones that are themselves immensely well-versed in how business practices and people practices need to change, too.
As companies transform digitally, they also need to transform their culture and policies, their overall strategy, even the employees’ mindset. Transformative technology cannot stand on its own and drive the necessary change through the business. These are the companies that bring the “something more” alongside their digital offerings because just deploying cloud technology doesn’t create a cloud-first mentality. Across the enterprise, DevOps mindsets of continuous change, continuous deployment, and continuous development need to permeate.
The final misnomer about “digital transformation” is that it is a journey. Sure, a journey describes a process of change, but the word journey implies a destination. That’s simply not the case: the journey itself is the transformation process, and it always has to continue. After all, there’s no point at which any company can stop innovating and safely state that they’ve nailed it. Any company treading water will be superseded by its competitors, however innovative their last offering.
A famous example of this is the research labs at Xerox, the place where the modern GUI (and the computer mouse, arguably) were dreamed up. But the Xerox PowerBook doesn’t sell by the million; that took quite a different mindset. We hope that one of the following transformative partners will be able to guide you on your journey.
Red Hat has always been a trailblazer, both in setting the standards for open source software deployment at all levels (cloud/server/desktop) in the enterprise, but also showing a practical and realistic combination of commercial, cloud-centric solutions and cutting-edge open source methodologies & code.
The OpenShift Container Platform currently forms a cornerstone of the company’s cloud offerings, allowing users an agile, massively scalable framework on which cloud-agnostic apps and services can be quickly spun up and deployed.
Red Hat offers its customers immediate access to the tools needed for a cloud-first topology, and the community’s open culture also shows the way that businesses can transform on every level — not just a transformation of the technology that underpins the organization.
As a company, Red Hat helps organizations across the world of any size transition from a data-center, on-premise foundation to take advantage of the cloud’s capabilities; among them agility, scalability, the ability to accommodate peaks and demands on compute, storage and bandwidth. In a process of continual refinement that mirrors the CI/CD mindset, Red Hat helps its partners along their journey, creating what’s needed for rock-solid and secure provision of services from IoT and edge, to AI, big data, elastic application delivery and much more.
You can read more about the Red Hat cloud-agnostic possibilities here on the pages of Tech Wire Asia.
“Every business is on a cloud transformation journey, but they’re finding it more difficult than expected. And the biggest problem stems from one area – people. To be successful, you need to change from a legacy mindset to a new way of doing business. Your teams need to know how to organize, deploy, and use the cloud.” So says Robert Christiansen, chief cloud strategist at HPE. The company’s all about finding the right mix of services for enterprise businesses, and its approach is one of pragmatism. If your company’s positioning requires on-premise solutions — perhaps for high security or particular data governance — then hybrid topologies are the way forward.
But whatever the choices, HPE is a provider with the infrastructure hardware and software ready in the wings. Companies wishing to deploy big data processing at the edge (rather than pushing data centrally, or to a cloud) can benefit from several appliances ready to drop in and get up and running fast.
But like all the providers featured here, using HP as a partner is a multi-faceted affair: part guide, part consultant, part supplier, and at least partly instigator. After all, who better to help a business transition to a more agile technological basis than an enterprise-scale business that itself lives by its own offerings?
You can read more about Hewlett Packard Enterprise here.
The Oracle IT offering supports millions of users, providing IT services for its customers via Oracle Managed Cloud Services and Oracle Public Cloud Services. But the Oracle company itself has transitioned to the cloud, and come a long way since its early database origins.
“We have transformed the company into a cloud-first company, and our IT group is one of the chief influencers in the process,” said the CIO of Oracle, Mark Sunday, at a recent meeting of the Oracle user group.
A testament to the company’s transformation is some of the stats its 21 data centers around the globe produces; its 70 million daily users run 29 billion transactions per day in the Oracle cloud. And as a user of its own products at enterprise scale, the company’s own experiences feed back into the overall quality of the Oracle platforms:
“The IT community at Oracle strives to be the biggest influencer and first adopter, as well as the best promoter of Oracle’s products and services,” he said and cited the company’s implementation of Oracle Sales Cloud. “We give valuable feedback that results in stronger products.”
In the same interview, Sunday reflected on the long-term partnerships into which the company enters. “With the cloud, technology is a renewal business, not a one-time sell,” said Sunday. “It changes the way we connect with our customers and the services we offer. It’s all about driving value and re-earning our business every day.”
To learn more about Oracle’s cloud services, read more here.
*Some of the companies featured on this article are commercial partners of Tech Wire Asia
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