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The three stages of digital transformation in the cloud and how to navigate them
By Keri Gilder, Chief Commercial Officer, Colt Technology Services 

Enterprises of all shapes and sizes are embarking on their own individual digital transformation journeys, and no two are alike. That's because digital transformation affects every part of the organization, and ultimately, it is geared towards meeting individual customer needs across a wide spectrum of requirements. With so many ways to transform an organization, how do enterprises know if they're on the right track?

The cloud plays a critical role in digital transformation - this is in part because the flexibility, and productivity that the cloud offers makes it such an important enabler of change. So, whether the goal is to move all enterprise data into a multi-cloud environment - at one end of the digital transformation spectrum - or gradually migrate data into the cloud at the other, digital transformation is inextricably linked with cloud adoption.

Wherever you look, cloud adoption is the glue that is holding enterprise transformation strategies together and making them work. The numbers back that too. According to the Cisco Global Cloud Index, by 2021, 94% of workloads and compute instances will be processed by cloud data centres, an astonishing turnaround from five years ago when enterprise data was strictly on-prem and managed in-house.

For enterprises, it's now long past the question of if they'll move to the cloud, but, to what extent and when. Cost is also no longer seen as the main driver. They've seen their competitors move to the cloud, they've seen their customers move, and now they're making their own move.

The challenges are therefore now associated with the fact that every digital transformation is different, and so how can organizations establish a common understanding around what to shift to the cloud and when, and whether they're making the correct move?

As is the case with any evolution, it's often helpful to think of digital transformation as a process, as enterprises evolve. These are the three stages of cloud migration that we most commonly see, as enterprises progress through their digital transformation journeys.

  1. Stage one: technology-centric - Improving and consolidating data and processes is a good starting point that cloud technology can help solve very quickly. For example, an American multinational chemical corporation in need of data-driven insights to sustain success in mature markets and to drive growth in emerging markets.
  2. Stage two: service-centric innovation - Choosing to focus on improving the service and customer experience while using the latest technology, is the second stage of innovation. An example of this is a big retail chain who developed an enterprise blockchain to guarantee traceability in the food chain, this allows both the building of more confidence and also the increasing of consumer loyalty; also resulting in strengthening of partnerships with quality suppliers by providing added services and visibility.
  3. Stage three: shifting gears in operating business models - This is the ultimate step of digital transformation, the one that digital-first businesses have already embraced. This is where cultural change and the attraction of talent comes into play; and where cloud technologies can be the most disruptive, from using crowdsourcing instead of in-house R&D. Or, for example, when a big car manufacturer develops an entire new concept of community transport to optimize the connection between personal transportation modes and public transportation, which only the cloud allows.

These three examples are incredibly different, but highlight the simple fact that no enterprises digital transformation is going to look the same. They also highlight that hoping for a ‘one size fits all' cloud migration strategy is not going to be effective if you really want to drive value for your organization.

Despite the complexity, we all know that in the simplest context, the future of business is going to be done in, and driven by, the cloud. So, then it is vital to work with organizations who can not only facilitate your agile, on-demand connections to the cloud, but also ones that can guide you along your digital transformation journey - whatever stage you're at.

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About the Author

keri gilder 

Keri Gilder is Chief Commercial Officer, Colt Technology Services, where she is responsible for driving Colt's commercial strategy, leading global teams across sales, presales and marketing, as well as working closely with the wider organisation to ensure Colt delivers on its vision of being the most customer oriented business in the industry.

Keri joined Colt in September 2018 from Ciena Communications, where she held several senior sales leadership roles in the business, most recently as VP & General Manager - EMEA, as well as being responsible for SubSea Global Business Development. With a background as an engineer and network architect, Keri is a respected leader who can also be credited with founding a global internal networking initiative at Ciena, that aimed to encourage diversity through motivating and inspiring women at all levels, to attract, develop and retain talent.

Published Tuesday, February 18, 2020 7:34 AM by David Marshall
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