Digital transformation is touching almost all industries. It is, in fact, interrupting business models and is expected to deliver $100 trillion of value over the next decade. Businesses are slowly transforming the ways they operate. They are going all out to drive business growth, beat the competition and meet customers’ needs who wish to gain seamless experiences through digital transformation, and engage through applications (mobile/web) and Internet of Things (IoT).
What is the digital transformation?
It is simply a way of moving all operations to occur digitally, or the tactical re-engineering of a business by making use of the latest tools and technologies such as big data, artificial intelligence, cloud, IoT and robotics to make easier the connect with customers and serve them. In the roadmap to digital transformation, integration of cloud includes transitioning from rigid legacy systems to agile cloud applications and utilizing APIs for innovation and growth. Via cloud-native integration and API management, and integration of data and business applications, IT teams can hence focus on providing a rich customer experience, and make other operations effective for digital transformation. Embarking on digital transformation implies integration – integration using cloud, SaaS solutions and the other existing systems in an effective and consistent manner.
Digital transformation via cloud
7 out of 10 decision makers acquiesce that traditional IT along with ‘cloud’ is the way to deal with business needs and offer feasible alternatives. To endure and thrive, to offer products and services at a great speed and agility, it is essential that it starts with the cloud – where cloud-native applications are created on top of scalable and adaptable modern application frameworks. Companies are thus investing in private cloud and SaaS applications where all the cloud application/services are in sync with not only each other but also with other systems running within the data centers. Further, technologies like SaaS and iPaaS aid in reducing operational expenses. The challenge, however, lies in cloud offering advantages where services can be delivered from various locations, controlled, used, integrated with dissimilar services while being sourced from different providers.
Cloud integration refers to the process where numerous applications can share data in the cloud wherein the applications can communicate directly or via third-party software. The ways cloud-native software applications exploit cloud functionality are:
1. Microservices: Cloud-native applications make use of the microservices architecture model. Here, each application functions on its own offering a variety of small services.
2. Containers: These are scalable, reachable, and can be moved from one environment to another. These can also be modified quickly hence are ideal for building and running applications comprising microservices.
3. Swift deployment: Continuous Delivery Model is used by IT developers to build, test and release software, and their updates as soon as they are ready without disrupting other functionalities, users or developers.
Cloud services are growing. According to Gartner, the movement to cloud is generating large revenues, driving innovations, increasing the bottom line of businesses and accelerating IT and businesses. Organizations are saving around 14% due to cloud migration. Further, cloud is being looked at as a means to establish a strong foundation for future innovations, applications, services and digital business processes. Though hybrid/multi cloud integration is considered an obstacle in early cloud deployment, Gartner predicts that ‘hybrid cloud will dominate these enterprise deployments.’
Hybrid cloud can seamlessly integrate IT operations and support digital transformation. The benefits are immense: operational efficiency and productivity, infrastructure optimization and reduced costs. The companies by using hybrid cloud can grow their business digitally – innovations in services and products finally expanding to new markets. Furthermore, hybrid cloud is being used by businesses for cognitive computing and IoT which can formulate new strategies, new markets, and new business models or rightly defined – digital transformation. Modern applications can be automated, made scalable, provide simplified maintenance and workflow; and fortunately, existing legacy applications can be containerized for obtaining the same operational benefits. According to IDC, “for an entire IT operation, the hybrid structure will be the glue that makes it work.”
Though security concerns exist for businesses planning to adopt cloud, the public cloud is being offered by leading cloud providers, they are secure. Businesses must use cloud securely through connections between network, data, users and cloud providers, possibly bypassing the hackers and enabling a secured business digital experience.
Cloud native applications assist in being agile and speedy for delivering software, automating routine activities, reducing downtime, whilst the focus shifts to innovation. Although there are challenges on the journey to cloud-native applications such as business and development model changes, technology maturity problems, product integration, feature gaps, expertise, operational tools, workflow, procedures etc.; nevertheless, application developers are working at a rapid pace to provide quality, fulfill the drawbacks, security, and compliance requirements, take solutions into production, and make available a highly beneficial container framework and an indispensable infrastructure.