Apr 21 2023

CDW Executive SummIT: How Digital Velocity Is Helping Businesses Innovate Faster

Future-focused IT leaders are opting for digital velocity solutions which boost operational efficiencies and increase revenue.

In today’s competitive market, achieving digital objectives quickly is critical to success. To do so, businesses must embrace industry trends such as machine learning (ML), artificial intelligence (AI) and robotic process automation. At the 2023 CDW Executive SummIT, experts said IT leaders must bring these cutting-edge technologies into the fold.

“The IT industry changes so fast. Each trend has a major impact on customers today. If you don’t stay adaptive, you may fall behind and lose market share rapidly,” said Casey Bleeker, general manager of cloud and digital velocity at CDW.

Still, IT leaders should not make hasty changes. In fact, experts at the SummIT urged leaders to think critically about tech solutions before investing in them. “Don’t just invest in a piece of technology because it’s trending. Make sure it fits for your business and that there’s a role for it to play in your roadmap. Hear from your sales reps, your engineers to find out,” said Ted Stein, senior director of Americas for the cloud infrastructure and software group at Cisco.

However, once a business does reach a decision point about their hybrid cloud or IT asset management strategy, achieving speed to market will be key. Experts call this “digital velocity,” and it's changing the way businesses improve operational efficiencies and enhance revenue.

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What Is Digital Velocity?

Digital velocity affects everything from customer experience to application modernization and cloud optimization. But what does it really mean? 

“Think of the word velocity,” said Bleeker. “In physics, the formula for velocity is speed plus direction. Now, apply this definition to digital transformation: The adjusted formula becomes operational efficiencies plus revenue enhancement equals faster innovation,’” he said.

Operational efficiency + revenue enhancement = innovation

IT leaders can also think of digital velocity as a “system integrator,” Bleeker said. It can accelerate or expedite any process. In the cloud, it can serve as a platform from which to launch other workloads. With AI and automation, it can take something digital make it a virtual experience. This can be true for something as small as a PDF file or as large as a hybrid cloud infrastructure. “Digital velocity lets you take any idea and achieve it fast,” Bleeker said.

EXPLORE: How can IT leaders scale solutions to fit their business models?

How to Deploy Cutting-Edge Digital Infrastructure

As IT leaders track industry trends, there are a few key areas where digital velocity will make the biggest difference. Here are the relevant categories decision-makers should keep in mind:

IT Infrastructure: One of the major concerns for businesses is making sure the entire digital stack runs with stability and speed. Deploying solutions like Infrastructure as Code, robotic process automation and infrastructure automation can ensure that everything is up to date and running efficiently.

Software development: With robotics and automation applied to core systems, IT leaders can have more time to develop new tech solutions and measure business outcomes. This will also help executives gauge whether it’s smarter to buy new software or build it themselves.

Application Modernization: This is a critical step towards digital transformation, and digital velocity can remove technical debt that increases infrastructure costs. This frees up more resources to replatform (update) or refactor (rewrite) application code as needed.

DataOps: Applying AI and ML to DataOps helps businesses sort and categorize massive amounts of data. Freddy Guard, head of industry go-to-market for consumer goods at Snowflake, noted that businesses are inundated with data but struggle to extract real insights from it. Once the information is organized IT leaders can make more data-driven decisions.

FinOps: Reduced cloud computing costs and improved profitability are just two benefits of FinOps. With this IT utility model, stakeholders gain greater insight into spending on a product or software.

“We think of the cloud as a pattern, not a place,” Bleeker said. “Now, we can assign a business unit to any product to track how it’s performing against ROI.” This means greater alignment between business and technical processes.

Jason Hinton, strategy lead at Microsoft Azure, said this enhancement is particularly helpful during periods of economic uncertainty, when businesses are selecting which initiatives to pursue or leave behind.

DIVE DEEPER: How IT leaders can chart a path to sustainable IT.

Optimizing Tools to Create More Intelligent Workflows

Another essential element of digital velocity is making content workflows more intelligent so that users can access valuable information and perform their jobs better. The smoother the process, the greater the adoption rate.

Experts at the SummIT noted that employees can get frustrated when routine processes take too long or there is important data that is not visible. To unlock innovation, experts recommended optimizing the tools that employees use daily and leveraging AI to create more intelligent workflows.

That is a critical step, said Sibu Kutty, migration and modernization CTO at Amazon Web Services. Employees can then feel empowered by the tech, driving speed and agility across the enterprise.

Keep this page bookmarked for articles and videos from the event, follow us on Twitter @BizTechMagazine and join the event conversation at #CDWSummIT.

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