The National Convergence Technology Center (CTC) recently attended an online “Using Microsoft in 2020 and Beyond” conference. One of the sessions featured a keynote by Brien Posey on digital transformation. While his presentation was framed about the value of Azure, Brien provided a number of more general insights to the current state and future evolution of the IT industry. Below are some highlights of his talk:
- He advises companies against migrating into the cloud just because it’s popular or because of vendor pressure. He told one story of a company that purchased an expensive on-premises backup system, then a few months later decided to spend more money to move its data to the cloud which needlessly duplicated the function of the backup system.
- Migrating workload to the cloud should do at least one of these:
Make it easier to do business
Make IT more resistant to physical destruction
Help achieve other business objectives
Accelerate digital transformation
- While “digital transformation” can be a vague and an ambiguous term, Brien defined it as “applying technology to all processes to improve efficiency and reduce costs.” This sort of transformation can often represent a radical departure from how things were done before. It changes the experience of both the employee and the customer and can therefore create discomfort. You’re casting aside familiar, reliable processes and practices.
- This kind of transformation can create real anxiety and fear among employees that they are being replaced. Companies need to recognize this fact and be upfront with employees. The digital transformation is there to help them, not get them fired.
- He cited a 2019 Harvard Business Review study that reported companies in 2019 spent $1.3 trillion on digital transformation, $900 billion of which (70%) was wasted due to poor decisions.
- Brien noted that one of the biggest threats in the workforce today is the “work from home” adjustment. Data centers were not designed to support a huge remote workforce. Storing data locally on personal machines may disrupt data backup processes. Using personal devices out of reach from IT departments increases the chance of malware infection.
- It’s not enough to simply decide “let’s move it all to the cloud.” Cloud computing is not a silver bullet for business problems. Companies need to carefully develop business strategies before investing in cloud migration, starting first with “IT resilience.” In this case, “resilience” refers to backing up data, developing redundant infrastructures, and allowing workloads the ability to failover.