Digitisation, business transformation and the cloud

People working on computer around table

Written by James Leighton , CTO at UKCloud

It’s not uncommon to hear the word transformation, well, everywhere.  More relevantly, digital transformation is at the heart of everything, it seems, but at its core is a ‘channel-shift’ enabling customers, partners and even staff to engage and collaborate in powerful new ways. The cloud, artificial intelligence and Internet of Things are driving business connections in a way never thought possible before.

As businesses have continued to digitise their operations and embrace such trends and the proliferation of mobile devices and voice control assistants, the tech industry has invested in the rapid innovation this will bring.  Organisations (whether private sector businesses or public sector agencies) are seeking to connect and integrate traditional technology product providers, disparate service providers and modern public clouds to function as one holistic platform for their business operations.

IT industry leaders around the world suggest that only 10 per cent consider their organisations digitally transformed and almost 25 per cent are still in the very early stages of the journey. Organisations are having to modernise to survive and need to truly embrace new technologies. The early successes of digital transformation will mean that 2019 will be a year of accelerating digital transformation, with organisations beginning to understand the innovative ways they could look to revolutionise their operations and services by embracing this essential technology shift.  A recent survey by Gartner reveals that 56 per cent of decision-makers link digital improvements and a digital-first attitude to an increase in profits – not to mention the enhanced business agility, reduced operational risk and improved customer satisfaction.

For most organisations, the question previously was ‘cloud or no cloud’ but the benefits realised by ‘Cloud First’ has changed this. Then there was the argument between private, hybrid and public solutions. Private cloud has mostly offered poor returns, while multi-cloud has succeeded hybrid cloud as it has become obvious that there can be no one-cloud-fits-all solution and most organisations are consuming multiple clouds in order to use the best cloud for every requirement.

Multi-cloud enables modern applications to harness dynamic cloud native technologies such as Azure and Kubernetes, while also accelerating the modernisation of traditional applications that are typically built for VMware and Oracle environments so that they come together on the same platform. The diversity of multiple cloud technologies enables customers to avoid lock-in, harness their existing capabilities and enable greater agility to deal with uncertainty – all of which remove the blockers to digital transformation.

The majority of workloads that can be moved to the cloud are gradually being migrated there, starting with the ‘low-hanging fruit’ from which savings can then be reinvested.  The private sector has seen a quarter of all workloads already move to the cloud, however the ratio is lower in central government (10%) and lower still elsewhere – such as local government or the NHS.   In the UK, the public sector is rapidly adopting cloud-based services, in an effort to pass on eventual efficiencies and savings to the tax payer, yet the migration challenges and a lack of either capability, capacity or both in the sector mean that the majority of organisations have yet to move beyond the ‘low-hanging fruit’.

In the private sector, transformation has been driven by innovators introducing radical new business models – such as AirBNB and Netflix. The greatest advances have been made by enterprises taking innovative new business approaches and supporting these with flexible technologies such as containers and cloud-native applications (rather than legacy applications that have simply been shifted to the cloud).

In the public sector, there are examples of similar innovations such as Genomics England and the NHS GP-at-hand service, but the benefits which come from breaking down departmental siloes are yet to be realised.  There is massive opportunity in rethinking the way that public services are delivered and introduce joined up government (including Defence and National Securityservices) in the same way that the digital revolution is transforming industries elsewhere.  Hence, at the heart of making transformation happen is a passion and focus for delivering better value through the power of modern IT for benefit of UK taxpayers.

The benefits of ‘as-a-service’ has successfully been proven, now is the time to strive for the potential gains from digital transformation that are obvious to all. Certainly, in the UK public sector, we are seeing the perfect storm. Public sector organisations need to do more for less while adapting to political and economic uncertainty. New technologies are increasingly proven and are maturing to support more complex use-cases. And the consumers of public services; citizens, businesses, patients, and so on, all have ever increasing demands and expectations. “Digital transformation”, whatever it means to your organisation, is the way forward as seen from any perspective.

Originally posted here

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