Digital Transformation - it's dead, Jim? | SUSE Communities

Digital Transformation – it’s dead, Jim?


Digital transformation is not a new phrase in our lexicon, it’s something that feels as though it’s been a part of business language for many years. It’s very easy to make the assumption that because we’ve been talking about it for such a long time, surely everyone’s done it by now and it’s not relevant any more.

Alive and kicking

However, digital transformation is like life – it’s an ongoing process, not something you just do once and then it’s done and dusted. A large part of digital transformation is your cloud strategy, which I wrote about fairly recently. That is also something that isn’t a one-off task, but is instead an evolving, transformational process. It was interesting to see, after speaking to attendees at the Gartner event in Frankfurt, that a number of them still hadn’t defined their cloud strategy outside of “we need to move everything to the cloud for cost savings and agility”, while some hadn’t even begun writing a cloud strategy.

Looking at a chart showing the trends in Google searches for digital transformation in the US (the global trend is the same) over the past 5 years, you can see that while it trends up and then down fairly regularly, it still continues to grow on the whole. So if it’s been around for a while, why does it continue to grow, and is it still relevant?

Turn and face the strange (ch-ch-)changes

As human beings, we are naturally resistant to change. Fear of the unknown often stops us from progressing or starting something new, so we prefer to surround ourselves with familiar things. There are some that claim that they love change, but deep down inside, we all want to stick with the same pair of comfortable slippers and armchair (or in this case, IT infrastructure) that we know and love. While the comfy slippers and armchair might have negative connotations for your physical fitness as well as potential fallen arches, sticking with the same old IT infrastructure could be preventing your business from competing effectively. Not being able to react in an agile manner to changes in market conditions or customer requirements due to an aging IT environment could cost you revenue and customers, two things that shareholders and board directors generally like to see going up as opposed to trending in the opposite direction.

One way or another

At a recent IDC Directions event, it was announced that digital transformation spend will continue to grow by 16.6% CAGR by 2022, to exceed $1.97 trillion. I mentioned that a cloud strategy is a key part of many organizations’ digital transformation, and while this often includes public cloud, it’s fair to say that not every workload sits best in the public cloud.

A great many enterprises will continue to have a requirement for an on-premises (or at least in-house) environment, but then still have a desire and a need to consume some public cloud resources. Public cloud can be addictive though – once you get your first, heady hit of near-instant access to almost unlimited compute and storage resources, you’re hooked. Then when you throw in containers, software-defined networking, IoT and even a dash of AI or machine learning, it all becomes a bit compulsive. That’s where the cloud strategy comes in – it helps to control those urges to just stick everything willy-nilly into your preferred public cloud provider, making sure that you plan and use the right resources for your business and customer requirements.

I recently published a guest blog from an analyst at 451 Research that looked at choosing the right cloud for the right workload in more detail, so have a look at that for some great advice on choosing a cloud. Whichever choice you make for your IT infrastructure, SUSE is here to help – on-premises, public cloud, managed service providers or a mix of these, we’ve got an open source solution that can give you business agility with world-class support. If you’re looking for help and advice on best practices for moving to the cloud, then why not join us in Dublin in March 2020 at SUSECON? SUSE experts will be there to share their knowledge and experiences with attendees in workshops, hands-on sessions and presentations, plus you’ll get the chance to network with like-minded people and enjoy the craic!

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Matthew JohnsI have over 20 years' experience in the IT, cloud and hosting industry gained in a variety of roles spanning project management to product release and product marketing. I’m responsible for product marketing for SUSE OpenStack Cloud, and have been working with OpenStack since it was released in 2010. Outside of work, I enjoy running, cycling, great beer (craft, cask, keg - call it what you like as long as it tastes good), spending time with my family, playing the piano and charity fundraising – I’ve been supporting the Movember Foundation since 2006, and have run multiple races, climbed mountains and cycled around the UK for many charities over the years.