Kathy Gibson is at IDC CIO Summit in Zimbali – Implementing new technology is not just about new systems: it is about changing the way organisations do things to unlock new value.

“People are astonished at how these things are moving, but we are doing genuinely new things with technology,” says Jonathan Tullett, senior research manager: IT services, Africa at IDC.

“It is all about the developers who create the applications that innovate things for business,” explains Ian Jansen van Rensburg, lead technologist and senior systems engineering manager at VMware.

“Industries and cities are all under pressure to innovate,” he adds.

It’s true that the data centre is coming into the factory, the oil rig, the power plant, cars, labs and more, Jansen van Rensburg says.

“We are actually bringing the data centre into these environments, with the cloud edge.”

Business wants to drive innovation, he adds. “Companies that are born on the Internet are giving other companies a run for their money.”

It sounds simple to be able to compete: devices link to a telco and then to the data centre.

It is a lot more complex, however: companies need a strong digital foundation to be able to get that working.

“This is where you can have consistent infrastructure and operation and intrinsic security.”

The problem for CIOs is where to begin. Jansen van Rensburg recommends that they modernise the data centre and integrate public clouds as a start.

From there, they should aim to transform networking and security while empowering the digital workforce.

Easier said than done, though: to modernise the data centre, virtual compute enables the cloud foundation, says Jansen van Rensburg.

VMware’s Cloud Foundation can then be split across clouds to enable a private cloud foundation that can work with public clouds and a hybrid cloud environment is enabled.

In building the digital foundation, three things are critical: any cloud, any application, any device.