Why Businesses Must Embrace Digital Transformation to Stay Competitive

CDW's Preparing for the Future SummIT explored the requirements of people, processes and tech in business innovation.

IT leaders gathered to share perspectives on innovation during the CDW Preparing for the Future SummIT in Nashville, Tenn., from June 25-26.

As executives from Cisco, Dell EMC, HPE, Intel, and others provided insights into how businesses can best stay on top of their games, five clear takeaways emerged:

  1. Organizations must break down silos to become more agile.
  2. Consolidation and modernization of IT assets can create opportunities to become more in tune with business requirements.
  3. Continuous digital transformation is necessary to remain a market leader.
  4. Smart use of data will sustain your current business and reveal new business opportunities.
  5. Cloud computing generally, and public cloud specifically, is a resource, not a panacea.

As keynote speaker for the summit, Tony Scott, senior data privacy and cybersecurity adviser, Squire Patton Boggs, and former CIO of the U.S. federal government, said leaders must understand how technology can best help business grow.

“Leadership will have to understand the strategic opportunities presented by technology and communicate this effectively throughout the organization,” Scott said.

In his address, Scott discussed four transformative influences:

  1. The pace of relentless digitization
  2. Security and privacy by design instead of after the fact
  3. Machine learning and AI
  4. 5G wireless networks

Traditional IT roles have seen entire ecosystems develop around those responsibilities, Scott said. Because of this, innovative companies have looked beyond boxes in an organization chart to fully understand how they can best engage with the environment around them.

“I’m starting to see some companies that organize differently. They have abandoned traditional org charts, particularly IT, and they think more about what ecosystem do I participate in?” Scott said.

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Business Growth Will Be Fueled by Data 

IDC reports the data analytics market will hit $203 billion in 2020, creating more opportunities for business to make better use of data, said John Stewart, global director of digital transformation, enterprise and government, at Intel.

Overall, data-centric revenues are up nearly $2 billion from the first quarter of 2017 to the first quarter of 2018, Stewart said. Major cybersecurity companies report that nearly 50 percent of their revenue has become data-driven rather than PC-centric.

For Intel, data-center revenue increased 24 percent in the last year with year-over-year growth in cloud service providers leading the way at 45 percent growth.

Intel’s enterprise and government segment grew only 3 percent in that time, but Intel plans to “accelerate our enterprise and government customers’ digital transformation by delivering leadership, AI, analytic and visualization-based hybrid cloud solutions, enabled by our partners and scaled through the industry,” Stewart said.

According to Stewart, principles of digital transformation include:

  • Multilayered security
  • Hybrid cloud
  • Virtualized network
  • Future-ready storage
  • Analytics and AI strategy

Breaking down silos that slow AI innovation will help Intel accelerate analytics and AI in particular, he said.

Streamline IT Operations to Improve Business Results 

Networks face unprecedented demands, with 63 million new devices expected to sign on to networks every second in 2020, said Tom Koppelman, vice president of Americas architectures sales at Cisco, citing Gartner’s 2017 Strategic Roadmap for Networking. 

Businesses must “rewrite” the networking playbook with an emphasis on security, scale, assurance and cloud, Koppelman said. For security, machine learning can identify malware quickly with 99.99 percent accuracy, while streamlining the IT workflow can resolve threats faster, he said. IT must also streamline to spend less time on individual devices. About 43 percent of IT time is spent troubleshooting, according to a Cisco survey.

Louis Hood, manager of cloud client services at CDW, shared how CDW helps its partners streamline that IT workflow for better results.

“Through discovery and analysis, CDW identifies areas of innovation and potential for operational change, clarifies direction and strategies, incorporates the needs and voice of the user, and seeks out gaps in tools processes or resources,” Hood said.

“Using our vast experience and understanding of available frameworks, tools and processes, paired with an objective approach, our team can assess and develop recommendations for shared resources or integration of the internal IT organization that will enhance the overall service levels,” he added.

For more articles and videos from the Preparing for the Future SummIT, click here

>>Download CDW's Modern IT Infrastructure Insight Report to learn more about how organizations are utilizing and benefitting from a hybrid IT approach.

Cecilie_Arcurs/Getty Images
Jun 29 2018

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