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Becoming a digitally transformed business

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In a fast-moving connected world, companies are tasked with digitally transforming their businesses to stay relevant and competitive. Claude Schuck, regional manager for Africa at Veeam, examines this era of organisational evolution.
“Digital transformation entails making a change to the mechanisms of a business to embrace new technologies that will result in a more efficient organisation. The Always-On enterprise environment drives more services from the data centre that are coupled with a growing amount of data. There is simply no patience for downtime or data loss,” he says.
Recent Veeam research shows that application downtime costs businesses $16-million per year in lost revenue and productivity globally. The digital transformation is putting further strain on data centres as it involves updating legacy systems and investing time and money. However, having a modern data centre anchored with key technologies provided by virtualisation, modern storage systems, and cloud technologies can pave the way to meet this digital demand.
Given predictions that there will be almost 21-billion connected devices by the end of 2020, this transformation push could not have come at a better time. The growth in terms of devices delivers a clear need to provide round the clock access to data and applications. Veeam research shows that more than two-thirds of respondents have invested significantly in data centre modernisation specifically to increase their levels of availability.
“Many business applications provide rich data options, such as photos and video. This drastically increases demand for storage in the data centre. However, another challenge is making the data and applications available at all times, just in case something goes amiss,” he adds.
Schuck believes that missing out on the digital transformation can lead to loss of business revenue and even reputation.
“It used to be that a first impression was made on a good handshake. But today with the demands on uptime being what they are, this could change to whether a company website is available or not.”
Despite the pressure to change, Schuck feels that it is not the standards that are evolving but rather the delivery and implementation that are becoming more complex. This brings with it heightened expectations around the availability of critical services, often resulting in more processes to navigate through.
“Organisations have to strengthen controls and deliver complete visibility in a new way to address this Always-On availability requirement of business. Fortunately, there is opportunity for innovation in the data centre and beyond. But for this to happen, the back-end IT infrastructure must change. The digital transformation and the ability to become Always-On will depend on this.”
Questions that need to be addressed include whether the data centre is virtualised and investments have been made in modern storage systems? Of critical importance is whether the data centre is capable of extending functionality to cloud and service providers. Once the company is able to provide answers to these, the path to the modern data centre and an Always-On environment can be confidently embarked on, concludes Schuck.