Dear enterprises; you’re running out of time

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A recent Computing survey found that one third of UK businesses have no digital transformation strategy.

Frankly, this research is worrying, to say the least, because enterprises need to embrace digital transformation to protect themselves from disruptors that have gone on to change the very industries that gave rise to them in the first place. AirBnB, Uber and Netflix to name just a few have ensured their place in history by disrupting industries in ways that many thought impossible. In their wake, they’ve left countless casualties.

They say hindsight is 20/20, but we can always learn from the mistakes of those who have failed to embrace digital transformation. Kodak, once the largest camera manufacturer in the world was almost entirely displaced by digital photography because they rested on their laurels and failed to adopt new technology.

But that’s an old story now. Today digital transformation can appear in much more subtle ways, the shift to the cloud, for instance. Just last week, Mary Meeker the influential internet guru who publishes the annual Internet Trends report, said: “Cloud adoption is reaching new heights and creating new opportunities.”

Cloud zealous businesses are able to gain an edge over their traditional competitors through access to capabilities, processes and functions such as data mining and unparalleled computing power.

The ‘born in the cloud’ firms that so often disrupt well-established industries aren’t encumbered by legacy infrastructure like their incumbent counterparts. This allows them to create brand new business models from scratch without worrying about disrupting their own business, taking the fight straight to the competition.

But digital transformation also gives incumbents the opportunity to compete with these born in the cloud upstarts, but only when such a strategy is well executed. Imagine if Blockbuster had adopted online streaming to compete with Netflix, which now has more subscribers than cable TV, maybe, the story would be different.

Times are indeed changing; Meeker highlights that since 2013 the percentage of total IT infrastructure spending spent on the cloud has grown from 23% to 37% with traditional data centre investment taking the biggest hit.

One of the biggest shifts Meeker identifies is the changing concerns associated with cloud adoption. In 2012, only 7% of respondents were concerned with being locked into a single cloud vendor. In 2015 that figure reached 22%, the third biggest concern behind data security and governance. What this suggests is that enterprises value agility and the ability to move between best of breed cloud and data centre providers when it suits them. Indeed, 68% of companies identify agility as one of their most important initiatives when considering digital transformation. This echoes the advice of global analyst houses such as Gartner who implore enterprises to value agility when evaluating network options.

As the ancient Chinese text of the Tao Te Ching says, “Whatever is flexible and flowing will tend to grow.”

But digital trailblazers and converts cannot simply rely solely on the cloud ecosystem to keep their winning edge. As a finely tuned engine needs valves, injectors and spark plugs to fire on all cylinders the cloud-savvy enterprise needs powerful connectivity to connect the engine of its business and push it ahead of its competitors. To truly be agile and embrace digital transformation you need to breed agility into everything you do.

To enable enterprises’ digital aspirations we built the Colt IQ network, a 100Gbps optimised network connectivity distributed to 200+ data centres and carrier hotels around the world providing the best in class service optimised for cloud services and built to be agile.

Don’t become the next Blockbuster. Get aboard the digital transformation train before it and your competitors leave you behind.

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