Cloud computing is one of the technologies turning the way businesses are run upside down. New emerging powerhouses such as Airbnb do not own a single hotel and yet have a larger market cap than any hotel chain in the world. Even the largest established businesses are adapting to disrupt industries with General Motors investment in rideshare start up Lyft. Digital transformation (DX) will affect all businesses. According to a survey which was conducted ahead of Code Computerlove’s ‘Leading your business through digital transformation’ event earlier in June this year, 86 percent of business leaders think digital transformation is necessary within their organisation.
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Established enterprises are facing far more significant challenges than their startup competitors. New players such as Airbnb and Uber have a huge advantage, they can operate almost exclusively in the cloud. Established enterprises often have legacy systems and applications that cannot be virtualised and migrated to the cloud. Furthermore, regulatory compliance may require that some of the digital assets have to stay on a company’s premise. Therefore, the road ahead is more complicated than simply migrating infrastructure and applications to the cloud.
The cloud offers enterprises the very attractive proposition of being able to increase the infrastructure capacity whilst also being able to deploy new services as and when they are needed. This new found flexibility does, however, have its drawbacks. Enterprises may lose visibility and control over the data and the quality of the service which they offer. The CIO is the key figure who can ensure that a business maintains control of its digital assets to assure continuity and quality of services. They are in a unique position to design a digital transformation strategy that pulls together disparate systems and assures the continued smooth running of the business.
It is vital that the CIO handles cloud-based assets like any other IT resource. They will be deployed to support enterprise functions and mission critical systems so they need to be closely monitored. Once an enterprise embraces digital transformation, the CIO needs to be able to have complete visibility across all cloud-based systems within the business. They should be in a position to veto any initiatives that do not comply with the overall corporate IT business assurance strategy.
For the CIO, being able to monitor activity continuously across the entire service delivery infrastructure, both on-premise and in the cloud in real-time is absolutely vital for being able to support business agility to quickly introduce new services in a digitally connected world.
Digital transformation is serious business
An ongoing challenge facing businesses in 2016, is that companies are relying on a mix of public cloud services providers, private cloud and on-premises technology which make it difficult to have a holistic view of the infrastructure. With more and more systems relying on the performance of external services, it’s a challenge to pin down the root cause of a service disturbance when it occurs, due to complex dependencies of multiple service delivery elements both on and off of a companies’ premises. This is evidence as to why the CIO needs to provide oversight for the enterprise as a whole.
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What is needed is a complete end-to-end view of the entire service delivery infrastructure. Without this visibility, service failure and even criminal activities, such as hacking and Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, can go unnoticed. With so much of modern business activity reliant on the effective operation of the network, it is vital to be able to identify and address issues quickly and effectively, lest they have serious consequences for the organisation
Sitting on Cloud 9
Cloud assurance will play an absolutely vital role in the DX transformation process for a great majority of enterprises in the coming years. The CIO will be the figure who is in the strongest position to provide a business assurance oversight across the entire business. They need to be able to manage every new cloud based service and application which is adopted by the business. By providing this oversight, the CIO will be able to identify any anomalies or threats as well as ensure that all new cloud applications fit in with the overall IT assurance strategy. Balancing the smooth, continual running of the business throughout the digital transformation process is no easy task, however, the CIO is perfectly placed to build unity into the IT strategy and ensure businesses reap the benefits in the coming years.