In the first blog of this series, we talked about what is digital transformation and why do small businesses need it. We hope that our efforts to bring you insightful information on new developments are helping you to understand them better. For the second blog, we bring you the key ingredients that are required to make the perfect digital transformation recipe.

What is it that should drive this digital transformation? Data. As organizations prepare their digital strategies and work on their relationships with the IT resources, data can play a key role in optimizing the efforts to engage customers and achieve efficiency with cost savings. But this is often restricted by the fact that organizations are not equipped to effectively handle such amount of data for their benefit.

Data Collection and Usage

Companies collect a large amount of data on a daily basis, but very few of them are logically used for growth. According to an expert from Microsoft who spoke at the CDW’s summit, “Modernizing IT Infrastructure for Digital Transformation”, 2.7 billion zettabytes of data has been collected by organizations so far. That is a humungous amount of data to sort through.

A major contributor to this volume is video data – the higher the resolution, the larger the file. For example, many retailers want video data to record reactions of customers to advertisements or products which gives them an insight into how different people respond to specific types of displays. A high definition video will make it easy to identify the gender, ethnicity and age group of the person, which helps to better understand the target audience.

Now, data needs to be securely stored and analyzed for organizations that want digital transformations so that well-informed decisions could be made. But with this amount of data, on-premise storage is no longer a possibility for many companies.

Here is when the cloud comes to the rescue. The cloud is a scalable and cost-effective resource that can be adequately called the next-generation data center.

Increased Comprehension with the Cloud Technology

The cloud is so much more than just a storage alternative. Many cloud platforms let organizations analyze the data to identify growth opportunities. Artificial intelligence and machine learning can now scrutinize data that would take a lot of time, efforts and money to do manually.

But what about the data analysts? Automation will crunch the required numbers for them, quickly and with more accuracy. But like bookkeepers need a growth switch and turn their experience into strategic advisory, data analysts need to get involved in more advanced discussions that drive important decisions.

Driving Disruption before being Disrupted

Digital transformation is the new disruption as we evolve with technological advancements. Having a collaborative platform for all teams can open up opportunities that otherwise can be overlooked. Cross-departmental learnings and sharing of ideas will help create the perfect digital strategy according to your business and identify the right tools that are needed to achieve that goal.

An Effective Digital Transformation

A digital transformation may not be a new term, but it is now attracting business owners who wish to change their business strategy with the help of the Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI).

But what are the elements that lay the foundation of a successful digital transformation? Every business is different. Some will have to invest more than the other.

Below are the key elements.

1. Traffic Growth and Virtualized Networks:

Online traffic is growing rapidly. According to Cisco Systems Networking Forecast, the global IP will reach 278 exabytes by the year 2021. This is approximately three times the amount in 2016, which was 96 exabytes. Network virtualization is even more crucial for businesses to maintain agility. For any work process, a private cloud-based software infrastructure can significantly reduce the time required (from weeks to hours and from hours to just a few minutes) to deploy new services.

2. Critical Insights with Data Analytics:

As we mentioned before, data is the key ingredient for a successful digital transformation. Shortage of skilled data experts and proper equipment for analytics can be a challenge. Businesses gather so much data every day, but when that data is analyzed and used effectively, you get powerful results. Strategies should be driven by outcomes and performance that will be more future-proof.

3. Balancing Work with Hybrid Cloud Architecture:

More than 50 percent of organizations today are using the hybrid cloud (a mix of public and private cloud services) and the rest are planning the implementation in the upcoming years. This has become a priority element for digital transformation. Businesses can create their own mix of public and private clouds, keeping in mind the market needs, compliance issues, and total costs.

4. Layers of Security that Protects the IT Infrastructure:

With all the development in technology, cybercrime has also evolved immensely. According to Juniper Research, the cybercrime business is set to reach $2.1 trillion by this year. This means the security of data is of prime importance, now more than ever. Organizations need to build secure platforms and use encryption wherever possible. For cloud-hosted applications via a third party, like QuickBooks cloud hosting, the vendor is responsible for data security.

Thus, data will drive effective digital transformation. For our last blog of the digital transformation series, we will share the ultimate guide with a few tips and tricks for small businesses. Watch this space for our next blog and more relevant content.