There’s no doubt cloud computing is a key driving factor in the digital transformation (DX) impacting every single sector from retail to financial services, manufacturing to heavy industry. Through the cloud, new digital-centric businesses are emerging that are more agile and innovative than anything seen before. Enterprises are having to worry about these new, agile competitors, while simultaneously dealing with upheaval on a massive scale that they have never experienced before. The challenge is clear: disrupt or be disrupted.

[easy-tweet tweet=”The road ahead is more complicated than just migrating infrastructure and applications ” hashtags=”cloud, tech, data”]

For long-established enterprises, however, this is particularly difficult. They’re not like the new start-up competition; they have legacy systems and applications that cannot be virtualized and migrated to the cloud, and customers relying on the flawless and ceaseless delivery of their services. Furthermore, due to governance, compliance, and regulatory (GRC) requirements some of the digital assets have to stay on-premises. Therefore, the road ahead is more complicated than simply migrating infrastructure and applications to the cloud.

The role of the CIO

With this in mind, the cloud transition, and DX as a whole needs to be managed carefully to ensure the continuation of service and the best outcomes for the business. This responsibility has become that of the CIO, who must endeavour to maintain order and lay the foundations for the future. This is especially true when you consider how the change of pace is quickening and at the centre of DX are a variety of new technologies that span the edge, core, and cloud of the service delivery infrastructure. These technologies are the foundation for the ‘Pillars of Innovation’, namely Big Data Analytics, Cloud & XaaS and IoT, among others.

[easy-tweet tweet=”The DX journey is perpetual and depends on constant innovation ” hashtags=”cloud, data, tech, digital”]

The DX journey is perpetual and depends on constant innovation implemented through new business services. These are delivered via the Pillars of Innovation and the CIO is ideally positioned to oversee this. Fundamentally, the right tool to assure successful digital transformation needs to be future proof and:

  • Manage complexity as it expands over time in hybrid cloud environments
  • Scale to manage any number of services, users, and data
  • Support speed and agility necessary in highly competitive environments
  • Visualise the information in the context of the monitored business services

If the transition is managed properly, the benefits of the move to the cloud is clear – enterprises will gain the ability to increase infrastructure capacity with no additional capital expenses and quickly deploy new services as mandated by the business needs. However, it is important to consider that in the process, enterprises risk losing visibility and control over the data and the quality of service delivery. It is crucial that this risk is mitigated effectively.

The importance of service assurance

Enterprises must remember that successful cloud-based disruption is not only about delivering transformational customer and business services. It is about delivering them well. In the connected world, assuring the quality of the enterprise service delivery infrastructure, the applications that utilise it and all their respective interdependencies becomes a mission-critical business activity.

As the business environment continues to evolve and competition increases, there is renewed pressure on IT to reap the benefits of external cloud services, but there is rarely a plan to assure performance and secure the data stored in the cloud, beyond relying on the cloud providers. While cloud providers advertise they have integrated control, management, and security of respective cloud offerings, a better approach would be to trust but verify. Furthermore, cloud management solutions only monitor operational and performance metrics of cloud resources and applications. Cloud management does not analyse the interdependencies across service chain components such as network, compute, storage, databases, service enablers and applications. Last but not least, cloud management does not monitor holistically hybrid cloud and multi-vendor cloud environments. Therefore if an organisation becomes dependent on the cloud to support key aspects of the business then the CIO needs an alternative approach to achieve complete visibility across all hybrid cloud-based systems.

The right approach to service assurance overcomes this challenge by providing a holistic visibility across the entire service delivery infrastructure from the wireless Edge to the Core and in the Cloud. This is achieved by end-to-end instrumentation, continuous monitoring and analysis of the traffic data flowing over hybrid cloud networks.

The analysis of the monitored data provides a real-time and historic view of business services and their infrastructure across the virtual, physical and hybrid service delivery environments, enabling enterprises to spot and isolate any anomalies that may present a hindrance to business performance. Translating smart data into actionable insights in real-time is of huge strategic value to the enterprise both in terms of productivity and revenue.

[easy-tweet tweet=”Cloud will play a central role in the DX transformation of the majority of enterprises” hashtags=”cloud, data, tech”]

Cloud will play a central role in the DX transformation of the large majority – if not all – of enterprises over the next decade and service assurance is crucial to the success of this transition. The CIO must be able to confidently manage the quality of each new cloud service and application that is adopted across the business, and every new system must be accounted for and be aligned with the overall DX cloud initiative and enterprise-wide DX strategy. With this in mind, it’s clear how greater visibility has become essential to manage the quality of each new hybrid cloud service and application that is adopted across the business.

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Michael Segal is director of solutions marketing at NetScout  As Area Vice President Strategy at NETSCOUT, Michael is responsible for developing and executing strategic and content marketing plans. As part of an agile marketing organisation these activities include situation analysis, differentiation, positioning, messaging, content creation and continuous improvement based on the feedback loop from the paid, earned, shared, and owned (PESO) channels metrics. Michael's technical areas of expertise include SaaS/Cloud, virtualization, Mobile IP, security, IP networking, Wi-Fi/wireless, VoIP and remote access. Michael holds patents in areas of networking and wireless mobility.