Mark Davison at Dell EMC World in Las Vegas – To many people the hype around digital transformation is viewed as being confined mainly to the US, but nothing could be further from the truth as the reality of the 4th Industrial Revolution hits home globally.

In fact, says Aongus Hegarty, president of Dell EMC in EMEA, for many companies in the region, digital transformation is top of mind.

“IT is certainly the number one conversation I’m having with customers in EMEA,” Hegarty says. “Digital transformation is overarchingly transforming business and business models and it’s influencing all industries. Most companies realise it is a threat to their business, but there opportunities are anchored in it too. Those that are taking it on are certainly the ones having the first advantage to drive change.

“The majority of customers are struggling with digital transformation, but we try to simplify it for them by breaking it down to IT transformation, workforce transformation and security transformation,” he adds.

And it’s not just large corporates that are taking on digital transformation head-on. Many smaller companies in EMEA, Hegarty says, are also rapidly realising they have to adapt to this new world.

“In fact, many smaller companies in the region have become disrupters because they are flexible and nimble enough to embrace digital transformation,” he says. “There are some very innovative approaches that different companies have taken.”

Martin Mayr, senior vice-president at Cancom AG, says that the channel has a crucial role to play in helping their customers ease into the digital age.

“Partners always have had a more important role in EMEA than in the US because of the number of different regions, different languages, different cultures,” Mayr says. “And there are two major reasons for an indirect model as opposed to a direct one: Firstly, the cost of sales; and secondly, scale.

“With the world changing so rapidly and the likes of cloud becoming an enabler of digital transformation, the world is also becoming a lot more complex,” Mayr continues. “It is no longer just about client, about infrastructure, about petabytes. It’s about the management of processes and understanding the nature of the customer’s business. Is it on-premise or off, is it hybrid cloud? And within all that there are many different flavours. It is not ‘one size fits all’ and solutions need to be tailored.

“So the role of the channel is, and will be, more important than ever,” Mayr adds.

Srood Sherif, group CIO of Kuwait Finance House, agrees that the world is rapidly changing.

“I think the buzzwords of cloud and digital transformation have changed the canvas of IT, especially for financial institutions,” Sherif says. “From a banking point of view, we are trying to digitise the customer experience while at the same time, on the infrastructure side, we are trying to build the necessary infrastructure to enable any solution that comes in to be easily integrated.

“All this generates a lot of pressure on IT, but it is something we have to do,” Sherif says. “The world is heading that way, so you better be on the wagon rather than chasing after it.”