Digital Transformation | Hybrid Cloud | IoT

Monday, June 12, 2017

Digital Transformation is Fueled by Disruptive Innovations

What's disruptive innovation, and why does it matter to leaders in the C-suite? It's how the savvy non-conformist will target market opportunities. How does this happen, when established companies seem to have the advantage? Creative software developers can quickly apply new technologies and digital business models to capture untapped demand.

Moreover, the most disruptive new companies will eventually reshape entire industries, swiftly pushing aside the legacy incumbent players -- it's a form of Digital Darwinism. The global networked economy will blossom, thanks to the pervasive Internet, while the adaptive entities will survive and prosper.

Over the next five years, global digital transformation will continue to have a significant impact on the demands and requirements of Internet Protocol (IP) networks, according to key findings from the latest Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI).

Over the forecast period, global IP traffic is expected to increase three-fold reaching an annual run rate of 3.3 zettabytes by 2021 -- that's up from an annual run rate of 1.2 zettabytes in 2016.


Apps for Next-Generation Internet of Things

According to the Cisco assessment, machine-to-machine (M2M) connections that support Internet of Things (IoT) applications are calculated to be more than half of the total 27.1 billion devices and connections. They will account for five percent of global IP traffic by 2021.

IoT innovations in connected home, connected healthcare, smart cars or transportation and a host of other next-generation M2M services are driving this incremental growth -- a 2.4-fold increase from 5.8 billion in 2016 to 13.7 billion by 2021.

With the rise of connected applications, the healthcare vertical will be the fastest growing industry segment (30 percent CAGR). The connected car and connected cities applications will have the second-fastest growth (29 percent CAGRs respectively).

Video Content Will Flood the Public Internet

That said, video will continue to dominate IP traffic and overall Internet traffic growth -- representing 80 percent of all Internet traffic by 2021, that's up from 67 percent in 2016. Globally, there will be nearly 1.9 billion Internet video users (excluding mobile-only) by 2021, that's up from 1.4 billion in 2016.

The world will reach three trillion Internet video minutes per month by 2021. Emerging mediums, such as live Internet video, will increase 15-fold and reach 13 percent of Internet video traffic by 2021.

"As global digital transformation continues to impact billions of consumers and businesses, the network and security will be essential to support the future of the Internet," said Yvette Kanouff, SVP and GM of Service Provider Business at Cisco.

Global IP traffic is expected to reach 278 exabytes per month by 2021, that's up from 96 exabytes per month in 2016. Global IP traffic is expected to reach an annual run rate of 3.3 zettabytes by 2021.

Busy hour Internet traffic is increasing faster than average Internet traffic. Busy hour Internet traffic will grow 4.6-fold (35 percent CAGR) from 2016 to 2021, reaching 4.3 Pbps by 2021, compared to average Internet traffic that will grow 3.2-fold (26 percent CAGR) over the same period reaching 717 Tbps by 2021.

Regional IP Traffic Growth by 2021

  • Asia-Pacific: 107.7 exabytes/month, 26 percent CAGR, 3.2-fold growth
  • North America: 85 exabytes/month, 20 percent CAGR, 2.5-fold growth
  • Western Europe: 37.4 exabytes/month, 22 percent CAGR, 2.7-fold growth
  • Central Europe: 17.1 exabytes/month, 22 percent CAGR, 2.75-fold growth
  • Latin America: 12.9 exabytes/month, 21 percent CAGR, 2.6-fold growth
  • ME & Africa: 15.5 exabytes/month, 42 percent CAGR, 5.8-fold growth

Global Business IP Traffic Highlights

Commercial IP traffic will grow at a CAGR of 21 percent from 2016 to 2021. Increased adoption of advanced video communications in the enterprise segment will cause business IP traffic to grow by a factor of 3 between 2016 and 2021.

Business Internet traffic will grow at a faster pace than IP wide area network (WAN). Furthermore, IP WAN will grow at a CAGR of 10 percent, compared with a CAGR of 20 percent for fixed business Internet and 41 percent for mobile business Internet.

Business IP traffic will grow fastest in North America. Business IP traffic in North America will grow at a CAGR of 23 percent -- that's a faster pace than the global average of 21 percent. In volume, Asia Pacific will have the largest amount of business IP traffic in 2021, at 17 EB per month. North America will be the second at 14 EB per month.

Note: the Cisco VNI Complete Forecast for 2016 to 2021 relies upon independent analyst forecasts and real-world network usage data. Upon this foundation are layered Cisco's own estimates for global IP traffic and service adoption. A detailed methodology description is included in the complete report.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Systems of Innovation for Ongoing Digital Transformation

Information technology (IT) advances are transforming the way we innovate in business, thereby disrupting the old guard and their predictable status-quo. It’s creating global market turbulence. Industries are converging, and new opportunities and threats are emerging, like never before.

So, how are savvy chief information officers (CIOs) leading this transition?

Back in 2015, the IBM Institute for Business Value conducted a market study that included the findings from over 1,800 CIO interviews from around the globe. The resulting insights are worthy of revisiting today, as we consider the digital business transformation outlook in 2017.

Introduction to the Torchbearer CIO

CIOs realize the barriers between formerly distinct industries are collapsing, as organizations in one sector apply their expertise to others – producing new hybrids and erasing prior traditional industry classifications in the process.

They believe it's the most influential trend that's transforming the mainstream business arena. Those deemed to be the ‘Torchbearer’ CIOs are particularly attuned to the shift -- in fact, a full 79 percent of these IT leaders expect industry convergence to have a significant impact.


How have these CIOs been preparing for a world of converging industries, intensifying competition and hyper-speed innovation? They’re focusing on three key goals in particular: 1) enhancing their organization intelligence and insight, 2) digitizing the front office and 3) strengthening the IT staff skills.

That said, only 57 percent of CIOs are reassessing their strategic direction. Many of the infrastructure decisions the IT department makes are no longer purely about technology -- they’re now considered core components of an organization’s essential business strategy.

Most Torchbearer CIOs have a plan of action. Seventy-one percent are considering the strategic implications of new technologies. They know they still have to provide basic IT services, as economically as possible. But they’re also looking for opportunities to create a competitive lead and improve the organization’s bottom line performance.

Moreover, the Torchbearer CIOs also place far more emphasis on building an agile organizational culture – one that supports rapid software developer experimentation and IT services prototyping – to help their team reach the market first with innovative new offerings.

In addition, the Torchbearer CIOs are eager to form partnerships that exploit the full potential of digital business technologies. They recognize that few enterprises can provide the full array of products, services and experiences that their stakeholders need and want.

Torchbearer CIO Lessons Learned

So, what can your organization take away from these study findings? What are the best practices that Torchbearer CIOs employ. Here’s four actionable insights:

  • Focus on disruptive innovation. Build an agile culture where rapid experimentation, informed by reliable intelligence, is the norm. Split big projects into smaller, more manageable chunks, allocate specific tasks to different teams and give them the freedom to get on with the job.
  • Pay close attention to what your external customers say. They can help you identify new trends, pinpoint problems with a product or service, clarify what differentiates your offering and establish what really matters to them, not just what you think they value.
  • Invest in technologies that will help you decipher the data you collect, and ramp up your organization’s analytical power. Identify the sorts of skills you’ll need to perform tomorrow’s jobs, not just the talent you need today.
  • Recruit for the future and collaborate with organizations that possess relevant expertise. Rotate existing employees every few months to help them develop an innovative, entrepreneurial spirit, strong business sense and the ability to communicate complex technological issues clearly.

Hybrid IT in Action: Systems of Innovation

Progressive CIOs have another significant thing in common; they know how to maximize their investment in legacy IT systems, and apply that solid foundation with the adoption of new platforms that -- when combined -- enable them to achieve superior transformation results.

For too many years, the decline of the mainframe platform has been predicted by those who have not been aware of the ongoing enhancements to these highly reliable systems. Many of the uninformed parties thought that mainframe extinction would be accelerated with the growth of cloud computing services. In fact, the mainframe has become a key component of hybrid cloud scenarios.

According to a Forrester Research market study, the mainframe is leveraged by 92 of the top 100 banks worldwide, 23 of the top 25 U.S. retailers, all 10 of the world’s largest insurers, and 23 of the world’s 25 largest airlines. Furthermore, successful CIOs have already unleashed the data and business processes that are embedded within their mainframe-based applications.

Starting with integrations between systems of engagement (SoE) and systems of record (SoR), they’ve defined innovative products and services that can tap the mainframe resource via APIs. Besides, containers and microservices are coming to the mainframe as more organizations adopt DevOps methodologies.

Forrester believes that integrating established apps with smaller new services will advance the mainframe environment towards faster application delivery, even greater scalability, and better overall manageability. They describe this evolved hybrid IT state as the ‘Systems of Innovation’ that so many CIOs apparently crave.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Cloud Computing Usage Forecast to Quadruple by 2020

Hybrid IT is a catalyst of progressive organizations. In fact, two-thirds of surveyed leaders say a blend of traditional and cloud infrastructure enables a strategic competitive advantage, according to a market study by the IBM Center for Applied Insights.

That said, savvy leaders are using hybrid cloud to power their digital transformation agenda, going beyond cost reductions and productivity gains. They’re also using cloud as a foundation for next-generation initiatives -- such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and Cognitive Computing.

New Insights into Emerging Cloud Trends

According to findings from the latest Cisco Global Cloud Index (GCI), cloud service traffic is expected to rise 3.7-fold -- that’s up from 3.9 zettabytes (ZB) per year in 2015 -- to 14.1 ZB per year by 2020.

The ongoing growth of cloud computing is being partly driven by the increased migration to hybrid cloud architectures that support the evolving demand for combining IT systems of record and systems of engagement.

Cloud computing adopters are now able to achieve greater operational efficiencies, utilizing hyperscale IT infrastructure models. Therefore, additional analysis of IT application workloads on these cloud platforms was developed for this year's study.


2016 GCI study uncovered the following:

  • Business workloads will grow by 2.4 fold from 2015 to 2020, but their overall share of data center workloads will decrease from 79 to 72 percent.
  • By 2020, database, analytics and IoT workloads will account for 22 percent of total business workloads -- that’s compared to 20 percent in 2015.
  • Hyperscale data centers will grow from 259 in 2015 to 485 by 2020. Moreover, hyperscale data center traffic is projected to quintuple over the next five years.
  • Hyperscale data center infrastructures will account for 47 percent of total data center installed servers and support 53 percent of all data center traffic by 2020.
  • By 2020, cloud data center traffic will reach 14.1 ZB per year, up from 3.9 ZB per year in 2015. Note, a zettabyte is one trillion gigabytes.
  • By 2020, traditional data center traffic will reach 1.3 ZB per year -- that’s up from 827 exabytes (EB) per year in 2015.
  • By 2020, 92 percent of workloads will be processed by cloud data centers; 8 percent will be processed by traditional data centers.
  • Workload density for cloud data centers was 7.3 in 2015 and will grow to 11.9 by 2020. Comparatively, for traditional data centers, workload density was 2.2 in 2015 and will grow modestly to 3.5 by 2020.
  • By 2020, 68 percent (298 million) of the cloud workloads will be in public cloud data centers -- that’s up from 49 percent (66.3 million) in 2015 (35 percent CAGR 2015-2020).
  • By 2020, 32 percent (142 million) of the cloud workloads will be in private cloud data centers -- that’s down from 51 percent (69.7 million) in 2015 (15 percent CAGR 2015-2020).
  • By 2020, data center storage installed capacity will grow to 1.8 ZB -- that’s up from 382 EB in 2015, or nearly a 5-fold growth.
  • By 2020, the total global installed data storage capacity in cloud data centers will account for 88 percent share of total DC storage capacity -- that’s up from 64.9 percent in 2015.
  • Globally, the data stored in data centers will quintuple by 2020 to reach 915 EB by 2020 -- that’s up 5.3-fold (a CAGR of 40 percent) from 171 EB in 2015.
  • Big data will reach 247 EB by 2020, up almost 10-fold from 25 EB in 2015. Big data alone will represent 27 percent of data stored in data centers by 2020, up from 15 percent in 2015.
  • Globally, data generated by IoT will reach 600 ZB per year by 2020 -- that’s 275 times higher than projected traffic going from data centers to end users/devices (2.2 ZB); 39 times higher than total projected data center traffic (15.3 ZB).

The Global Cloud Index (2015-2020) was developed by Cisco to estimate worldwide data center and cloud-based traffic growth trends. The ongoing forecast is particularly insightful, as the global networked economy and data center infrastructure become more intrinsically linked to commercial success.

Learn more about the shift to hybrid cloud. Frank De Gilio describes his approach - Guerrilla warfare with hybrid cloud.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Coexistence: Adopting an Optimal IT Infrastructure Model

Some mainstream IT buyers might think that most cloud infrastructure vendors and service providers are essentially alike. But there are key differences. Besides, given the body of market research to the contrary, there’s clearly no such thing as a "one-size-fits-all" cloud solution.

Furthermore, if you believe that a hybrid cloud should support an IT agenda to transform a business, then a viable solution must consider the preexisting systems of record within the enterprise. That’s why forward-thinking CIOs often seek information and guidance on two fronts.

First, they want to know how to extract costs from their legacy IT investments. Second, they desire to use that assessment exercise to free-up budget and fund innovation via a DevOps model that would streamline new cloud-native technology deployments.

That’s why pragmatic CIOs understand the reality of a coexistence environment, where current on-premises IT systems must be an integral part of the total digital transformation equation.

Applying the Best of Both Worlds

In previous global market studies, senior executive decision makers have stated that they are likely to always have a blend of traditional on-premises IT and cloud-based services. Cloud computing has enabled organizations to increase their overall utilization of existing IT assets.

Consider these highlights from a recent survey of senior executives:

  • 92 percent of surveyed executives said their most successful cloud initiative enabled creation and support of new business models.
  • Executives said they expect 45 percent of workloads to stay on dedicated, on-premise systems, even as cloud adoption expands.
  • 83 percent of high-performing organizations said their cloud initiatives are coordinated or fully integrated within the organization.

According to the latest worldwide market study by IBM Institute for Business Value, there are four main reasons why organizations are strategically combining cloud-based services and traditional IT into tailored hybrid solutions.

Fifty-four percent of surveyed executives cited the most popular reason for implementing hybrid cloud solutions as lowering the total ownership cost of technology.

Forty-two percent of respondents believe that operational efficiencies can stem from selecting the most compatible infrastructure and middleware.

Forty-two percent of respondents also said that cloud services are proven to accelerate innovation by enabling quick prototyping of new ideas for faster experimentation.

To meet customer expectations, forty percent of respondents reported that cloud’s agile and composable attributes enable faster time to market for new products and services.


Additional Findings from the Market Study

The optimal Hybrid IT environment will differ by individual enterprise. Case in point; executives say they need to decide which IT and business functions can be delivered through cloud computing with a projectable, positive business outcome.

In two years, most organizations plan to use software-as-a-service (SaaS) with a variety of applications. However, many believe that their adoption of cloud could be restrained by three major deployment challenges -- security and compliance requirements; cost structure considerations; and risk of operational disruption.

Despite these challenges, successful companies are delivering business value through hybrid cloud in three areas -- operations, finance and innovation. Seventy-six percent of surveyed executives said their most successful cloud initiative has significantly achieved expansion into new industries. Close behind were the creation of new revenue sources and new business models.

That being said, fifty-seven percent of executives from high performing organizations identified cost as the most important criterion in deciding which workloads should be moved to the cloud.

One way to achieve an optimal hybrid solution is to tap into the capabilities and data that resides on existing systems. The study also found that innovation advantages can be gained by utilizing application programming interfaces (APIs) and by enabling access to external technical talent.

Likewise, conducting rapid IT experimentation gives innovative organizations the ability to test and fail quickly. Cloud computing is proven to enable nimble development and testing. What’s more, quick and automated resource provisioning can shorten applications development time.

In summary, taking advantage of hybrid cloud services is much easier and more effective when companies rely on skilled and experienced technology partners that provide expertise on recent trends, best practice methodologies and proven hybrid architecture frameworks.

Hybrid Cloud Information and Guidance

You have a choice; you can select the vendor that has all the Hybrid IT components -- technology, products and professional services -- that you will ultimately need to succeed. Choose to deploy an optimal hybrid cloud configuration and gain a strategic competitive advantage that will give you a decisive edge in your industry.

Learn how to gain a flexible and secure IT service delivery platform with an optimal hybrid cloud solution that’s designed, engineered and deployed as the best-fit for your particular digital business transformation requirements and technical specifications.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Hybrid Cloud will Enable Streams of Data to Flow Freely

The world of business is changing. Disruptive shifts in power are forcing everyone to question the established status quo. In particular, savvy chief executives are tasking IT organizations to help create compelling customer experiences, support new business models and adopt agile operational processes.

That's why the vast majority of IT and business leaders are joining forces on the organizations’ most pressing commercial needs and wants. They seek an open and flexible business technology foundation that's an enabler, rather than an inhibitor, to meaningful and substantive workflow progress.

Forward-thinking executives believe cloud services can empower them to achieve their strategic business outcomes. Moreover, they want their whole leadership team to collaborate across the business, developing a comprehensive IT strategy that utilizes existing infrastructure investments and the elasticity of cloud services.

Innovation: Opportunities vs Challenges

Meanwhile, CIOs are still compelled to manage the legacy IT infrastructure, while supporting new demands for flexible systems that enable digital innovation. Leading organizations are already blending traditional IT and cloud infrastructures to achieve better business outcomes.

They're planning to adopt more new technology, such as cloud-enabled video services, enterprise mobility apps, social business, IoT and big data analytics. They're very busy efficiently supporting current business objectives with existing infrastructure, and yet they must ensure that IT drives strategic value for the company.

What's more, they're using Hybrid Cloud to springboard to next generation activities that allow them to capture new markets. But there are many others that are still assessing their immediate needs, while considering all the options. Embracing cloud is a work-in-progress. The journey begins with an understanding of the basics.

Cloud Services: Enabler of Disruption

Cloud is now viewed as an impetus for innovation and collaboration. CEOs identify business technology as the number-one factor they see impacting the success of their organization. For these forward-thinking leaders, technology isn't just part of the infrastructure needed to implement a business strategy. It's what makes entirely new disruptive strategies possible.

And without that technology in place to spark continual innovation, CEOs fear being left behind. As a result, CIOs foresee a huge shift in their own roles and responsibilities, as they evolve from an IT service provider to a business innovation enabler.

Often, the private versus public cloud question is not viewed as an either/or decision. Informed organizations are frequently opting to utilize both platforms – what's typically called an Open Hybrid Cloud services environment.


Hybrid Cloud: Pathway to the Future

Hybrid cloud computing dramatically increases your ability to create, deploy and integrate new digital services quickly -- allowing your organization to keep pace with a shifting economic landscape and increasingly competitive marketplace.

We define hybrid cloud as the secure consumption and integration of services from two or more sources, including private cloud, public cloud and/or traditional IT infrastructure.

A hybrid cloud allows access to data, applications and services where they are most optimally placed -- whether on a public cloud, private cloud or on-premise within an existing IT infrastructure, such as the traditional enterprise data center.

A hybrid cloud approach typically encompasses a wide range of choices including service providers, delivery configurations and billing models. It's designed with the flexibility to change and integrate environments, data storage and services as needed.

Once implemented, a hybrid cloud offers many benefits, including the ability to compose, orchestrate and manage diverse IT workloads, thereby exploiting the portability of stored data assets and associated software applications.

Hybrid Storage: Data in Motion and at Rest

The growing adoption of cloud computing is having a corresponding impact on IT storage evolution. Today's digital business imperatives rely upon easy access to data insights. Next generation enterprise storage solutions support the need to capture, manage and perform real-time analysis on exponentially expanding pools of unstructured data.

That being said, most current enterprise IT environments already include some combination of on-premise block, file and object storage technologies. Over time, utilization of the diverse mix of storage platforms can become sub-optimal.

Data is grouped into three common categories: frequently accessed data (hot data), infrequently accessed data (warm data), and rarely accessed data (cold data) that's stored on slow, less-expensive storage. As hot data cools down and is accessed less frequently, it can be dynamically moved to the optimal storage platform(s).

An adaptive, modular hybrid cloud storage model can increase your flexibility and enable you to choose from all the best-fit solutions. So, how do you deploy a storage model that supports the fluid movement of data? Russ Kennedy describes an evolved approach to proactively securing and moving data to the most appropriate platform, in his insightful editorial entitled "Hybrid cloud storage: Past, present and future."

Monday, July 4, 2016

The Business Case for Hybrid Cloud Services Adoption

Forging a viable business technology strategy for today’s global networked economy is a high priority for most forward-thinking CEOs across the globe. Their guidance to CIOs is to create the fusion between existing IT infrastructure and modern cloud services. Moreover, the shift to a Hybrid IT model must support the organization’s key commercial expansion objectives.

The savvy leaders who have a superior approach can extract greater value from their legacy IT investments, and launch new initiatives based upon public and private cloud computing services. This is the new normal -- CIOs must create the optimal blended environment for purposeful technology-enabled innovation.

Primary Motivation

A global study of 500 hybrid cloud decision makers revealed that organizations are increasingly integrating cloud computing and storage resources with traditional IT infrastructure to accommodate dynamic needs and specific business priorities, according to a market study by the IBM Center for Applied Insights.

This thought-provoking study found that improving productivity is currently the number one goal of cloud service adoption, as the most progressive senior executives plan to offload some of their IT resources and management complexity to the cloud.

A close second goal of digital transformation is improved security and risk reduction -- using the flexibility of a hybrid solution to choose which workloads and data to move to the cloud and which to maintain on-premise.

The other two most mentioned goals by survey respondents are IT infrastructure cost reduction -- i.e. shifting costs from fixed IT to as-needed cloud services -- and scalability to handle dynamic IT workloads.

Why Maturity Matters

Following their detailed analysis, the IBM report authors grouped the survey respondents into three categories, based upon the maturity of their hybrid management capabilities and whether they’re reporting a strategic edge that’s realized from their hybrid cloud deployments:

  • Frontrunners: are gaining a competitive advantage through hybrid cloud and are managing their environment in an integrated, comprehensive fashion for high visibility and control (as an example, through a single data-driven dashboard).
  • Challengers: are on the journey toward competitive advantage, but haven’t fully achieved unified management of their hybrid cloud environment.
  • Chasers: are not yet using hybrid cloud to drive competitive advantage and are in the early stages of gaining integrated control over their hybrid environment.


Benefits of Hybrid Leadership

What’s the big improvement of being a visionary frontrunner in your industry? They’re achieving noteworthy business outcomes with a hybrid cloud -- such as productivity gains, including cutting operational costs and maximizing the value of existing IT infrastructure -- at a higher rate than other organizations.

Frontrunners are also more effectively using hybrid cloud to drive digital business innovation, including the creation of new products and services and the expansion into new markets. They also apply hybrid cloud solutions to experiment with cognitive computing and the Internet of Things (IoT) -- which have the potential to enable the development of new business models.

Moreover, the frontrunners are using hybrid solutions as a driver of business process change, with 85 percent reporting that hybrid cloud service adoption is accelerating a progressive digital transformation agenda at their companies.

Hybrid Challenges and Opportunities

Most frontrunners say they have achieved measurable progress from their hybrid cloud efforts. However, more than one in four have experienced difficulty executing their plan to integrate legacy IT infrastructure and cloud computing environments.

Finding and retaining the technical staff with the desired experience is often a challenge, with one in three survey respondents citing an internal skills gap as a big unresolved issue. Furthermore, while companies adopt cloud services to improve security, it remains their number one concern.

In fact, frontrunners cite management complexity and security as a major obstruction to progress. Over three-quarters report that hybrid introduces greater IT management complexity into their environment, and 70 percent say that their hybrid environment causes them greater security concerns.

How are these early-adopters leveraging hybrid environments to achieve a meaningful and substantive competitive advantage? Study findings indicate that they apply a very intentional and holistic approach to implementing and managing their hybrid solutions.

Culture is a Key to Ongoing Hybrid Success

The established frontrunners also understand that the complexity of hybrid environments is best tackled through a collaborative approach to IT investment decision making -- bringing both the managers of IT organizations and Line of Business (LoB) leaders together on a common cause.

The IBM study findings also uncovered that in almost three-quarters of frontrunner organizations, hybrid cloud has elevated the extent to which the CIO is now acting as a trusted adviser to the overall business leadership team.

The collective C-suite and senior IT roles collaborate on key technology decisions that impact business goals. This newfound collaboration sheds light on the benefits of Shadow IT, where the progressive LoB leadership is already using forward-looking cloud services to advance their growth agenda.

Besides, 81 percent of the frontrunners report that hybrid cloud is helping to reduce Shadow IT growth within their organizations. Proving, once again, that savvy CIOs are the ones that are proactively embracing the shift to Hybrid IT models, and thereby regaining workload deployment momentum that was lost due to prior computing and storage resource provisioning constraints.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Savvy Digital Visionaries See Beyond Nearby Clouds

While the decisive CEOs have a digital transformation agenda, those companies executing plans to re-imagine their business models are in the minority. And yet, the early-adopters now using cloud computing are enabled to respond quickly to changing market conditions. In contrast, the laggards are undecided and risk falling further behind.

This is a global phenomena, where the industry and local market leaders are able to enact their transition with limited interference or threats from more traditional competitors. Just consider the current status-quo within the United Kingdom, as an example.

The transformation of UK businesses is still relatively immature. Many organizations are aware of the potential of open hybrid cloud adoption, but they fail to actively address the technical debt that defines their legacy IT environment. Besides, they tend to narrowly focus on a small snapshot of the bigger picture.

Clear Motivation to Overcome Inertia

While some British leaders have progressive transformational goals under consideration, much work is needed -- if they’re to reach their full digital potential. This is the key finding from the latest market study by the UK-based Cloud Industry Forum (CIF).

Their study was conducted in the fourth quarter of 2015. They polled 250 senior IT and business decision-makers from both the public and private sectors. What they uncovered was not encouraging: just 16 percent of organizations have a digital transformation strategy in place.

However in two years, 72 percent of those polled say they will be better prepared. What are they waiting for, before they act? Perhaps they need a little guidance to show them the way forward.

Maybe they seek someone who can describe how to distinguish between the herd of unimaginative me-too cloud service providers, and thereby offer an alternative point of view -- one that can demonstrate they've navigated boldly across a complex and disruptive digital business transformation landscape.


Seeking a Digital Polymath with Foresight

"Cloud computing is the agent of digital disruption, and we can see that there are significant benefits to be had by businesses that pursue both digital transformation and cloud computing strategies in tandem," stated Alex Hilton, CEO of CIF.

Mr. Hilton believes that cloud computing and digital transformation go hand in hand. In fact, 85 percent of UK businesses with a digital transformation plan have already benefited from a tangible competitive advantage.

Cloud services form the foundation of digital transformation and can facilitate rapid business change. That is apparent, it’s also clear from their research that transformation strategies serve to enhance the effectiveness and benefits of cloud computing implementations.

That's why the more progressive organizations have focused on developing multifaceted talent -- beyond basic technical-centricity. The notion of engaging a Digital Polymath is compelling. Harnessing the wisdom of a worldly open-minded individual that acknowledges the near-term challenges and opportunities, yet also has the vision to be able to anticipate the broader future.

Other key findings from the study include:

  • 13 percent of organizations that have implemented, or planning on implementing a digital transformation strategy, say that cloud is critical to it, and a further 80 percent say that cloud is important.
  • Implementing a digital transformation strategy benefits cloud users, and those that have are statistically more likely to report experiencing greater benefits from their cloud deployments.
  • 38 percent of cloud users with a digital transformation strategy say that cloud has given their organizations a significant competitive advantage. This figure is higher than the number that do not have a digital transformation strategy reporting the same (5 percent).
  • The cost savings of cloud users also increases if the organization has implemented a digital transformation strategy (26 percent average saving) compared to those who have not (9 percent average saving).
  • The CIO is the most likely to be the driving force behind digital transformation, and by some margin at 60 percent. The next most likely is the CEO in 18 percent of cases.
  • 59 percent of organizations that currently have, or are in the process of implementing, a digital transformation strategy say it will steer the use of technology over the next decade.
  • 43 percent of survey respondents report that the intention is to achieve better use of data and analytics, and 30 percent report it is to improve innovation abilities.

The UK market study results are somewhat consistent with the findings of similar surveys of business leaders in the North America region. Striving to merely reach parity with the more progressive market leaders in your industry is likely a blueprint for a myopic plan of action. When you eventually arrive at that destination, you discover that the goal posts have already moved.

The alternative perspective -- think ahead; imagine what's next; define that future state; design a distinctive digital agenda that's very difficult for competitors to simply replicate; execute in the now.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Leading in 3D - a Framework for Digital Transformation

CEOs across the globe now view business technology as a key component of their growth strategies. That’s why the role of today’s Chief Information Officer (CIO) has become increasingly challenging. Mounting pressure to innovate has left many CIOs flat-­footed -- essentially playing catch­-up trying to integrate new technologies, rather than driving them.

A recent International Data Corporation (IDC ) study examined CIO and Line of Business (LOB) executive perceptions of IT organizations, the changing role of IT leadership from being a traditional operational player to becoming a strategic partner in digital business transformation scenarios.

According to the IDC study, the way in which CIOs view themselves has a direct impact on how they envision their evolving IT leadership job and their relationship with key LOB executives.

Business Technology Innovation Disconnect

Of the 150 CIO survey respondents, 40.7 percent viewed themselves predominantly as custodians of operational infrastructure, 34 percent viewed themselves as service managers, and just 25.3 percent viewed themselves as business technology innovation officers.

Conversely, 40.9 percent of LOB respondents view their CIO as an innovation officer, with only 27.5 percent viewing their CIO as operational. IDC believes that this is indicative of the challenge that CIOs face in evolving their role --­­ where having to meet operational requirements is holding some back from reaching the expectations of their business-oriented counterparts.

"CIOs who stay operational will find themselves further marginalized over the next three years. For these executives to stay relevant, they must shift their focus to transformation and innovation and incorporating those innovations into their stable infrastructures. 'Just keeping the lights on' will lead the business to find other sources for technology leadership and innovation," said Mike Jennett , vice president at IDC.


Digital Transformation Leadership Framework

To help CIOs partner with and further educate the business, IDC has introduced the ‘Leading in 3D’ framework that enables CIOs to be directly engaged in every phase of business Digital Transformation – from innovation to hybrid cloud service delivery, with a special focus on IT's ability to manage the transition from one to the other.

IDC predicts that through 2018, two-­thirds of CIOs will have embraced Leading in 3D, which requires them to simultaneously Innovate, Integrate, and Incorporate:

  • Promote business innovation through visionary technology leadership and agile development. Critical to the success of “Leading Innovation” is the ability to work with business partners at the speed of business change.
  • Bridge the business and IT operations transformation with an integration agenda that transitions technology innovation to a stable, secure, and reliable business service for the enterprise. Critical to the success of “Leading Integration” is strategic architecture that serves as the framework for IT platforms.
  • Lead incorporation by selectively streaming new technologies, processes and methodologies to enable the transformation of existing information technology and enterprise processes. Critical to the success of “Leading Incorporation” is achieving the appropriate balance of risk and reward in the change management of IT operations.

According to the IDC study findings, there are interesting correlations between how CIOs view themselves and how they view their main area of focus. Moreover, 67.2 percent of operational CIOs will be focusing on innovation, while only 26.3 percent of innovation CIOs will put their focus there.

As a result, IDC believes that operational CIOs are getting the message. To be competitive in this rapidly changing environment of digital transformation, the IT organization and the CIO must undergo a transition ­­-- from a legacy focus on operations and service brokering to a focus on partnership, innovation, and new digitally­-enabled products and services.

Creating a Culture of Continuous Improvement

"Our research notes a fundamental shift in the role of CIOs as seen by themselves and the business, because of the digital transformation. While many CIOs have embraced this change, there’s still a large percentage that will benefit from evaluating their organizations as well as their relationship with their business counterparts as they continue on this journey," concluded, Jennett.

Successful CIOs of the future will be judged by their ability to manage all three of these connected disciplines on a continuous basis while anticipating the next wave of digital transformation. IT leadership will need to forge a lasting collaboration with business partners to drive the transformation engine --­­ from old to new, from unstable to stable, and from experimental to operational.

According to the IDC assessment, the creation of broad IT transformation strategies needs to be coupled with a culture of continuous transition. Employing program management offices, DevOps, and other coordinated IT disciplines will help to speed change and deliver new products and services within existing business and technology processes.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Growing Hybrid Cloud Usage will Double in Two Years

Cloud enables IT agility, empowers DevOps teams and helps to transform legacy business models. The fifth annual Future of Cloud Computing survey investigates key trends in corporate cloud usage. This year's insightful survey findings offer perspective from cloud service practitioners across all industry sectors.

"Cloud has been gaining momentum year­-over-­year since the Future of Cloud Computing survey was launched five years ago. Looking at the adoption rates and trends at such a detailed level, it's undeniable that the most successful technology leaders of today and tomorrow are scaling in the cloud," said Jim Moran, General Partner at North Bridge.

"Last year, we discussed the second cloud front and the rise of cloud­-native companies. This year, we're seeing the pervasiveness of cloud disrupt industries across the board as companies look to maximize and implement cloud as a strategic and integral technology," Moran added.

"We're also seeing the emergence of the cloud as the only way businesses can truly get more out of their data including analyzing and executing on it in real-­time. This will be a huge opportunity, but as the survey showed, because data rarely moves between clouds (Public/Private) companies must first learn how to interconnect disparate data sources into new applications."

Savvy business leaders are no longer debating whether or not to use cloud, but how pervasively they will use it in their digital transformation plans. The latest survey results highlight record levels of corporate adoption of cloud computing, both for business functions and in areas such as content management and application development in the cloud.

Even the most traditional IT teams are finally evolving. Some are taking back technology strategy from the forward­-looking Line of Business (LoB) leaders that led the way to progress. Therefore, North Bridge believes that digital technologies -- delivered from the cloud -- are becoming differentiating factors for more businesses.


Cloud is the Business Transformation Catalyst
  • Significant processing, systems of engagement and systems of insight are moving to the cloud ­­-- 81.3 percent of sales and marketing, 79.9 percent of business analytics, 79.1 percent of customer service and 73.5 percent of HR & Payroll activities have already transitioned to the cloud.
  • IT is moving significant processing to the cloud with 85.9 percent of web content management, 82.7 percent of communications, 80 percent of app development and 78.9 percent of disaster recovery now clou­d-based.
  • While business users have been a fan of cloud's ease of use, accessibility and scalability since 2011, the importance of cloud agility has jumped from fourth to second in importance within five years.
  • Among all survey respondents, the top inhibitors to cloud adoption are security (45.2%), regulatory/compliance (36%), privacy (28.7%), vendor lock-­in (25.8%) and complexity (23.1%).
  • Concerns regarding interoperability and reliability have fallen off significantly since 2011 (15.7% and 9.9% respectively in 2015). However, the cost of cloud services are now three times as likely to be a concern today, versus five years ago.

Raised Expectations for Public and Hybrid Cloud
  • Today, three quarters of company data in significant volumes is living in private or public clouds. However, company data in hybrid cloud systems is forecast to double over the next two years.
  • Corporate cloud computing strategies are focusing on public (up 43.3%) and hybrid (up 19.2%) while private cloud has taken a significant back seat in comparison (down by 48.4%).
  • SaaS is the most pervasive cloud technology used today with a presence in 77.3 percent of all organizations, an increase of 9 percent since 2014.
  • Accordingly, ROI expectations are high with 78 percent expecting to see results within three months. Fifty eight percent expect ROI in less than three months for PaaS services.
  • Among users taking the survey, the biggest factors preventing use of public cloud offerings are security (38.6%), privacy (29.8%) and expertise (22.8%). Regardless, the outlook for ongoing cloud service adoption is very bright.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Building the Playbook for Digital Transformation in 2016

Does your CEO have a bold goal for 2016? Does the goal include the word ‘digital’ or ‘transformation’ in the description? Well, if so, they’re not alone in their quest for a superior IT-­enabled competitive advantage that positions their organization for the future.

Business technology investment related to digital transformation (DX) projects will constitute the majority of growth in IT­-related markets over the next five years, according to the latest IDC assessment.

"The disruptive impact of digital transformation is about to be felt in every industry as enterprises 'flip the switch' and massively scale up their DX initiatives to secure a leadership role in the DX economy," said Frank Gens, senior vice president and chief analyst at IDC. "In the next two years, two-thirds of Global 2000 CEOs will put DX at the center of their growth and profitability strategies. By the end of this decade, IDC predicts that the percentage of enterprises with advanced DX strategies and implementations will more than double."

IDC recently shared their analyst predictions for 2016, highlighting key information and communication technology (ICT) issues that will impact the organizations that have set a goal to digitally transform themselves over the next one to three years.

As part of a related IDC customer webinar series, senior IT leaders and Line­-of-­Business (LoB) executives were provided guidance for managing their digital transformation investment priorities and implementation strategies.


The Ten Predictions for Digital Transformation are:
  1. By the end of 2017, two ­thirds of the CEOs of the G2000 will have digital transformation at the center of their corporate strategy.
  2. By 2017, 60 percent of companies with a DX strategy will deem it too critical for any one functional area and create an independent corporate executive position to oversee the implementation.
  3. By 2018, 80 percent of B2C companies will have created immersive, authentic omni-experiences for customers, partners, and employees; 60 percent of B2B­-centric companies will have done the same. 
  4. The top new investment areas through 2017 will be contextual understanding and automated next best action capabilities.
  5. In 2016, 65 percent of large enterprises will have committed to become information-­based companies, shifting the organizational focus to relationships, people, and intangible capital.
  6. By 2018, 75 percent of the G2000 will have deployed full, information-­based, and economic models or "digital twins" of their products/services, supply network, sales channels, and operations.
  7. By 2020, 60 percent of the G2000 will have doubled their productivity by digitally transforming many processes from human-­based to software-­based delivery.
  8. In 2016, the level of connectivity related to products, assets, and processes will increase 50 percent for all industry value chains.
  9. The sharing economy will give rise to the networked free agent and skill­-based marketplaces, resulting in more than 10 percent of work being sourced in this fashion within mature economies by 2019.
  10. By 2018, at least 20 percent of all workers will use automated assistance technologies to make decisions and get work done.

"Digital transformation is not just a technology trend, it is at the center of business strategies across all industry segments and markets. Enabled by the 3rd Platform technologies of social, mobile, analytics, and cloud, digital transformation represents an opportunity for companies to redefine their customers' experience and achieve new levels of enterprise productivity, said Bob Parker, research vice president at IDC.

If you think that IDC is merely profiling those smaller, nimble organizations that are out on the fringes of global commerce, then you would be mistaken. Consider the recent introduction of GE Digital​, a transformative move that brings together all of the digital capabilities from across the company into one organization. Now, this goal is bold.

“As GE transforms itself to become the world’s premier digital industrial company, this will provide GE’s customers with the best industrial solutions and the software needed to solve real world problems. It will make GE a digital show site and grow our software and analytics enterprise from $6 billion in 2015 to a top 10 software company by 2020,” said Jeffrey Immelt, Chairman and CEO of GE.

In summary, the DX economy will take its toll on the IT industry itself. By 2020, IDC predicts that nearly a third of today's IT suppliers will be acquired, merged, downsized, or significantly repositioned. In this environment, CIOs will have to constantly assess the solutions offered by their suppliers and be prepared to re-build their playbook in 2016 and beyond.