Digital Transformation and Cloud: A Strategic Connection

Sayantani Bhattacharya | November 1, 2021 | 241 views

Digital Transformation and Cloud
Enterprises are rapidly embracing cloud technology by shifting from legacy data centers to the cloud. According to Globe Newswire, the global cloud computing market size and share will reach $1025.9 billion by 2026, from USD 321 Billion in 2019 at a CAGR of 18%. And why this rush? The strategic connection between digital transformation and the cloud is one of the evident reasons for this uplifting.

Further, the unprecedented changes worldwide in the post-Covid-19 era have accelerated the need to mark a digital presence. As a result, enterprises urgently need to be driven by innovation, intelligent processes, and automation to stay competitive. Additionally, they widely leverage modern technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning to ensure their position in the global market. As a result, a cost-effective, secured, and sustainable infrastructure is on-demand that can scale with demand spikes. 

Organizations reform their businesses to achieve goals, enhance growth, and attain digital transformation using the cloud. This article unlocks how the evolution of cloud technology has been a phenomenal factor in transforming the business. Moreover, some enterprise instances highlighted in this article explain why moving to the cloud could mark an effective digital presence.


Evolution of the Cloud- an Overview

Today, cloud computing is one of the key influences to attain business transformation. However, it is a disruptive technology, and the future of the cloud started shaping up during the 1950s when computational services were the forte of distributed systems and mainframe computing. During that era, the systems were giant and expensive machines that functioned over a time-sharing network within a restricted location. As a result, it encountered massive traffic and sluggish processing time. For quick and efficient operations, computing systems expanded the functions during the 1980s with cluster computing. In cluster computing, the computer nodes were connected via a high bandwidth network. However, the location restrictions persisted. Later in the 1990s, the internet and virtualization were introduced, which opened the avenue to interconnect the systems located at different geographic locations and allowed users to run multiple processes over the same hardware. It was during this time that accessing the applications from the remote location found their roots. 

During the early 2000s, the concept of Web 2.0 emerged, where the development of interactive websites was the prime focus. During this time, organizations like Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc., started introducing their web pages. Needless to say, that, the concept of social media also arose during this time. Later on, rapid technological development introduced the concept of utility computing that allows the applications, storage, and infrastructure to be available at metered service on a subscription basis.

These are the phases of the evolution of cloud computing to become what it is today.


Cloud and Digital Transformation

Enterprises agree that innovating the business models with the latest market demand is the key to success. Cloud computing is one of the crucial trends that drive the customer experience and help to gain customer loyalty. The direct impact of cloud computing in future business is that it fuels growth and leads towards business transformation by realigning your business processes. We know how the cloud is advantageous for the business, but considering the limitations and knowing how to overcome it will ease your digital transformation.

“Cloud computing changed the technological aspect and the market dynamics in the business world.”

Ariel Munafo, Founder and Board Member of MarkeTech Group (Interview with Media7)


What Are the Advantages of Implementing Cloud for Business Transformation?

Here is the list to remind you about the advantages of implementing cloud technology for your business:

  • Cost-efficiency: Shifting to the cloud helps reduce the cost of managing and maintaining data centers and infrastructure. Further, you can also opt for cloud services such as SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS that allow you to pay for the services that you use.
  • Scalability: The cloud provides almost unlimited storage capacity. Further, it also allows expansion of your operational requirement based on the business needs. You can quickly scale up or down your cloud resources at a reasonable cost. Otherwise, with legacy systems, expansion was expensive.
  • Easy Deployment and Security: Cloud Deployment is quick and easy compared to establishing an on-premise data center. Further, cloud providers emphasize security by leveraging protection and access control mechanisms to ensure customer data safety.
  • Improved Responsiveness: Cloud technology is fast and known for its quick action. It has minimal latency for dependent processes. As a result, your business provides prompt results and stays relevant in the market.
  • Enhanced Backup and Data Recovery: The data in the cloud is flexible, and hence it is easier to back up and restore whenever necessary. Otherwise, running back up of on-premise and legacy data centers was a time-consuming and cumbersome process.
  • Flexibility and Easy Accessibility: The cloud allows you to utilize its resources as per the demand variations. When the demand spikes, you can add up the features and resources, and when it drops, you can reduce the same. Further, it allows you to access data from anywhere, anytime, through the internet.
  • Collaboration and Resource Sharing: Earlier with legacy systems, cross-functional collaboration was not easy, and sharing the resources was tedious. Eventually, it affected the overall functioning of the business. With the cloud, your inter-departmental connection is accessible through the internet, making the resource sharing capability seamless to boost the role of cloud computing in digital transformation.
  • Reliability with Auto Updates: Cloud helps run easy backup and data recovery functionalities to avoid data loss for your business, which was a lengthy task for traditional data centers. Further, regular automatic updates with the latest technology retain the performance quality of your operations. These updates could be up-to-date versions of applications, servers, and processors.


What Are the Main Roadblocks for Cloud Implementation?

Although the cloud brings several benefits, certain aspects are the area of concern for business leaders. According to Statista’s survey in the last quarter of 2020 conducted with the technical managers and business executives, around 81% responded that security is one of the significant challenges of the cloud. Here we list some of the substantial areas where cloud needs to improve.

  • Data Security: As stated above, data security has always been on the top list of challenges for cloud-based services. Your company data is stored in a shared environment for your cloud service provider’s access to the public cloud. This accessibility for any third-party vendor might increase the risk of data leakage. Further, although the private cloud has an access control mechanism yet, it is vulnerable to cyber-attacks.
  • Working with Multiple Cloud Environments: As cloud technology flourishes, most organizations use multiple cloud platforms to optimize workloads and control costs for specific business operations. Such cases bring potential security threats while sharing or transferring resources between the cloud environments due to the involvement of multiple cloud vendors.
  • Data Governance and Regulation Compliance Challenges: You should check whether your cloud service provider has data governance and regulatory compliance to ensure that your critical and non-critical organizational data is safe.
  • Dependency on the Service Providers: If you are using service from a vendor, you cannot simply transfer to any peer cloud service provider due to incompatibility of technology or other services. Such situations are called vendor lock-in, which makes you dependent on the service providers.
  • Optimizing Implementation Overheads: Cost management has been one of the most challenging tasks for cloud users. Enterprises often tend to spend a lot of money on the cloud because they lack knowledge about estimating the investment, planning resource utilization, and monitoring the cost of services. As a result, it increases the overheads in several instances.


How to Overcome the Cloud Implementation Challenges to Augment Business Transformation?

Though specific challenges act as a roadblock for cloud adoption, digital transformation and the cloud are interlinked. Therefore, you can formulate some guiding principles for purchasing and adopting the cloud. Here are some of the ways you can plan to tackle the challenges of cloud implementation:

  • Emphasize on Security: Plan out specific security provisions, such as encryptions, multifactor authentications, keys rotation, and tokenization to safeguard data in the cloud. Further, you can also deploy firewalls preventing malpractices such as SQL injection attacks, etc.
  • Evaluate Your Cloud Vendor: Establish essential guidelines around compliance and regulatory needs for cloud services. Based on the guideline, you can evaluate your vendor. For example, their policies and work around user identity and access management, data security, response time, etc., can help evaluate your cloud vendors.
  • Classify the Resources: It is crucial to identify the cloud-ready workloads. You can Shift those workloads first and invest in app modernization to make the other workloads compatible with the move. This classification will help you to control the pricing changes.
  • Emphasize on Cloud Governance: Establish compliance protocols and governance methods in the security framework that explain the factors such as the number of users, services, and the approvals required for the cloud services.


Some Enterprise Instances of Successful Cloud Business Transformation

“The cloud is about how you perform computing, not where you do it.”

Paul Maritz, former CEO of VMware and Pivotal

The statement is well justified by the enterprises like Shopify, Salesforce, and Adobe that are growing proficient to compete with FAANG. In addition, industry leaders like Microsoft and IBM are also widely leveraging the cloud as a platform to expand their horizons and upkeep their lead. Here are some examples of how enterprises are leveraging the cloud to achieve their business goal.


How IBM Helped American Airlines to Attain Business Transformation?

Customer experience is the critical differentiator for any business, and it holds for American Airlines as well. The airline wanted to serve its customers with innovative digital services. However, the legacy architecture and platform were the primary hindrances against the transformation.  The airlines’ customer-service applications were based on monolithic architecture, managed in silos by different teams. As a result, addressing and resolving customer inquiries were sluggish that affected customer retention.

For the quick and efficient response to the customer queries, American Airlines needed to transform with the help of new technology features. As a result, there was a need to upgrade its technology stack, to enhance agility. As a result, the company leaders identified cloud adoption as the stepping stone towards their business transformation.

American Airlines collaborated with IBM, and IBM helped migrate some of their vital legacy customer-service applications on IBM Cloud to accomplish their goal. Concurrently, it also upgraded the legacy applications of the airlines to a microservices architecture to make them cloud-ready.

As a result, the globally leading airlines could innovate their response time with spontaneous customer queries. It also launched Dynamic Rebooking and operated through an app with easy augmentation facilities based on customers’ feedback. This instance of American Airlines has rightly justified the relation between digital transformation and the cloud.


How Adobe’s Digital Transformation Helped to Amplify Their Stock Price?

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about Adobe? Is it a PDF file, Acrobat Reader, or Photoshop? Well, that’s not what Adobe is confined to anymore. It is now a transformed software service for several global organizations and helps create a rich digital content stack today. In addition, it is one of the leading providers of specialized software solutions for businesses and individuals.

During its early days, Adobe used to sell its applications through licenses on CDs. However, after the global recession in 2008, Adobe realized that innovation is the key to survival and decided to transform from a license-based company into a cloud-based company. Since then, Adobe has shifted its operations from a licensed software model to a cloud-based subscription service. At present, the company completely operates functions in digital media through three subscription-based models – Creative Cloud, Document Cloud, and Marketing Cloud.

After Adobe’s cloud business transformation, the company’s stock price amplified significantly, with overall revenue growth ascending from 19 percent in 2011 to 70 percent in 2015. According to McKinsey, Adobe achieved a revolutionary annual revenue of USD 12.87 billion.


Conclusion

Needless to say, that although the concept of cloud computing was prevalent years ago, today, enterprises are adopting cloud not just to improve the ongoing business processes but also to drive new enhancements to stay competitive. At present, the cloud is one of the intrinsic pillars for this modern dynamic business world. It drives efficiency and enables responsiveness in business operations. Moreover, with the advantages and limitations, it is the key to delivering flexible, on-demand access to the services based on the changing business priorities. As a result, it would be wise to state that digital transformation and the cloud have a strategic link.

“Cloud computing is based on the time-sharing strategy we leveraged long ago before we could afford our personal computers. The idea is about sharing the computing capacity to cut the cost for those who leverage it.”

David Linthicum, Author, Cloud Computing and SOA Convergence in Your Enterprise: A Step-by-Step Guide


Frequently Asked Questions


How Does Cloud Computing Transform Business?

Cloud computing allows organizations to scale their platform as required to support dynamic business priorities. It helps in resource sharing while managing costs and makes businesses agile to ensure optimum customer service promptly.


What is The Role of Cloud Computing in Business?

Cloud computing is one of the crucial requirements that help develop the customer experience and fuel customer loyalty. The key role of cloud computing in business is that it drives growth and accelerates business transformation by streamlining business processes.


Is Cloud a Route to Digital Transformation?

Cloud computing has a key role in digital transformation. It becomes the catalyst that helps in transformation by optimizing the business performance to offer a high-level customer experience by distinguishing its strategy and solutions over the other competitors of the market.

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"NewVoiceMedia powers customer connections that transform businesses globally. Our omni-channel, cloud communications platform connects organisations with their customers worldwide, enabling them to deliver a personalised and unique experience and drive a more effective sales and marketing team. With a true cloud environment and proven 99.999% platform availability, NewVoiceMedia ensures complete flexibility, scalability and reliability. Spanning 116 countries and six continents, NewVoiceMedia’s 500+ customers include PhotoBox, MobileIron, TNT, Lumesse, Qlik, JustGiving, Canadian Cancer Society and Wowcher. "

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N-able Launches Cloud User Hub to Help Partners Tame the Microsoft Cloud

N-able | August 17, 2022

N-able, Inc. a global software company helping IT services providers deliver remote monitoring and management, data protection as-a-service, and security solutions, today announced that it has launched N-able Cloud User Hub, following the acquisition of Spinpanel in July of this year. N-able Cloud User Hub is a multi-tenant Microsoft 365 management and automation platform built for Microsoft Cloud Solution Providers and allows users to automate the management and security of all Microsoft tenants, users, and licenses. This is accessible within a single consolidated hub to reduce complexity, bring efficiency, and help N-able MSP partners profitably scale their Microsoft business. Cloud User Hub helps users to: Tame console management with a multi-tenant hub allowing technicians to perform common tasks across all Microsoft 365 applications, customers, and users through a single pane of glass. Scale up with advanced automation, freeing up technicians’ workload and reducing request turnaround times. Deliver Microsoft Cloud management with a security-first approach through granular role-based access controls for technicians, and comprehensive audit logging for all actions performed within Cloud User Hub. Simplify billing by eliminating the need for spreadsheets and manual tracking for billing. Optimize Microsoft spend with insights into Microsoft 365 usage to adjust licenses and reduce waste. This powerful combination of capabilities provides value for: MSP Technicians—Simplifies cloud management complexity driving efficiency and reducing errors. MSP Business Managers—Enables users to standardize best practices for common workflows, security settings, and support methodologies designed to reduce cost, improve quality of service, and to manage and scale their Microsoft business more profitably. Small and medium-sized enterprises—Provides faster resolution times, reduced ticket escalation, and strengthened security posture, increasing customer satisfaction. “Adopting and managing cloud resources is becoming a larger part of the MSP business, which is why we want to help our partners simplify their cloud management experience. If done right, adopting and managing cloud resources can lead to scalability, higher efficiency, and productivity for MSPs and their customers, Cloud User Hub empowers users to tame managing the Microsoft 365 cloud by providing automation and simplicity. Last month, Microsoft announced robust growth in its cloud-services demand, and with the channel spending huge amounts of time within the Microsoft environment, we want to continue helping our partners to streamline that experience, along with the management and transition to the cloud, as much as we can.” Mike Adler, chief technology and product officer About N-able N-able fuels IT services providers with powerful software solutions to monitor, manage, and secure their customers’ systems, data, and networks. Built on a scalable platform, we offer secure infrastructure and tools to simplify complex ecosystems, as well as resources to navigate evolving IT needs. We help partners excel at every stage of growth, protect their customers, and expand their offerings with an ever-increasing, flexible portfolio of integrations from leading technology providers.

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CLOUD STORAGE

Section’s Distributed GraphQL Hosting Allows Organizations to Quickly Launch and Scale Location-Optimized, Multi-Cloud API Servers

Section | September 29, 2022

Section, the leading cloud-native distributed compute provider, today announced its new Distributed GraphQL Service, allowing organizations to quickly launch and easily scale location-optimized, multi-cloud API servers. Organizations can host GraphQL in datacenters across town or around the world to improve API performance and reliability, lower costs, decrease impact on back-end servers, and improve scalability, resilience, compliance, security and other factors – all without impacting their current cloud-native development process or tools. Section handles day-to-day server operations, as its clusterless platform automates orchestration of the GraphQL servers across a secure and reliable global infrastructure network. “Distributing API servers and other compute resources makes all the sense in the world for developers, as long as it’s easy to do, Our new Distributed GraphQL service is simple to start, gives you immediate access to a global network, and automates orchestration so developers can simply focus on their application and business logic.” Stewart McGrath, Section’s CEO GraphQL is a query language and server-side runtime for cloud APIs that improves the efficiency of data delivery. According to a report by Akamai, API calls represent 83% of all web traffic, and InfoQ considers GraphQL to have reached “early majority” usage in its 2022 architecture trends report. With Section, GraphQL servers can be quickly deployed and immediately benefit from multi-cloud, multi-provider distribution. Application users will experience an instant performance boost from reduced latency, while API service availability and resilience is dramatically improved by Section’s automated service failure/re-routing capabilities. Organizations will benefit from decreased costs versus hyperscalers or roll-your-own distribution solutions, and can even run other containers alongside the GraphQL Server, such as Redis caches, security solutions, etc., to further improve the costs/performance/availability equation. Section’s distributed cloud-native compute platform allows application developers worldwide to focus only on business logic yet enables their software to behave as if it runs everywhere, is infinitely scalable, always available, maximally performant, completely compliant, and efficient with compute resources and cost. DevOps teams can use existing Kubernetes tools and processes to deploy to Section and set simple policy-based rules to control its clusterless global platform. Benefits of Section’s Distributed GraphQL service include: Proximity-based performance – moving API servers closer to users dramatically improves performance, and servers can be spun up/down as needed based on load to minimize cost Full and partial API caching – for improved performance; done well, this can minimize the need for database distribution, dramatically decreasing costs Roundtrip coalescing – Section’s data fetch capabilities can coalesce database and API calls to reduce backend chattiness Cloud independence – Section’s Composable Edge Cloud eliminates provider dependence by leveraging the world’s top infrastructure and cloud providers. Layer 3-4 DDoS Security – Network-layer DDoS protection is included by default across the entire Section network to protect against all Layer 3/4 attacks. Section’s DDoS protection includes dually redundant DDoS protection including two of the world’s largest DDoS networks. About Section Section is a Cloud-Native Hosting system that continuously optimizes orchestration of secure and reliable global infrastructure for application delivery. Section’s sophisticated, distributed and clusterless platform intelligently and adaptively manages workloads around performance, reliability, compliance, cost or other developer intent to ensure applications run at the right place and time. The result is simple distribution of applications across town or to the edge, while teams use existing tools, workflows and familiar rules-based policies.

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CLOUD SECURITY

Rapidly Evolving Hybrid Cloud Security Requirements are Driving the Need for Deep Observability

Gigamon | September 28, 2022

Gigamon, the leading deep observability company, is guiding the industry forward today, bringing application and network-level intelligence together for the first time to help network, security, and cloud IT operations teams eliminate security blind spots and deliver defense in depth across their highly distributed hybrid and multi-cloud infrastructure. Leading market intelligence firm, the 650 Group, forecasts the deep observability market’s CAGR to grow over 60 percent to reach $2 billion by 2026. They predict Gigamon will take a commanding lead with 68 percent market share in the first half of 2022. Together with an expanding ecosystem of technology alliance partners, Gigamon harnesses actionable network-level intelligence that amplifies the power of cloud, security, and observability tools, ultimately empowering large organizations to achieve the transformational promise of the cloud. A recent IDC global survey of 900 large organization IT executives and managers* revealed that 'strengthened cybersecurity posture and practices' is the number one benefit of deep observability intelligence and insights. And to overcome their concerns for security vulnerabilities, 79 percent of respondents indicate they have made good-to-excellent progress in leveraging network intelligence and performance metrics for security insights. When asked specifically where the alignment of NetOps and SecOps efforts and tools have improved security management, a strong majority of respondents cited the following: provide complete visibility into on-premises systems and cloud services, reduce false positives, improve speed and accuracy of triage, and validate remediation. To further underscore the urgency for organizations to address security blind spots, a recent Vitreous World State of Ransomware for 2022 and Beyond survey revealed more than 95 percent of the more than one thousand global respondents, consisting of large organization IT and security executives, had experienced ransomware attacks in the past year. The research also revealed that 89 percent of global security leaders surveyed agree deep observability is an important element of cloud security with 50 percent of global CISOs/CIOs strongly agreeing with this statement. “As a cloud-first dental support organization, we are continuously seeking new ways to fortify our security posture and equip our supported owner doctors with the latest, proven technology and highly skilled support staff, so they can focus on providing the perfect patient experience to patients with an extraordinary, differentiated care experience,” said Nemi George, vice president of IT and information security officer and IT service operations at Pacific Dental Services. “With the deep observability we gain from Gigamon, we can eliminate security blind spots at the network layer of our hybrid cloud infrastructure, deliver defense in depth, and confidently scale our operations.” A New Frontier: Deep Observability The Gigamon Hawk Deep Observability Pipeline harnesses actionable network-level intelligence to amplify the power of cloud, security, and observability tools, enabling IT organizations to assure security and compliance governance, speed root-cause analysis of performance bottlenecks and lower the operational overhead associated with managing today’s highly distributed hybrid and multi-cloud infrastructure. Gigamon extends the value of these tools with real-time network intelligence derived from packets, flows and application metadata to deliver defense in depth and performance management. Gigamon has an extensive ecosystem of technology alliance partners that includes leading observability vendors Dynatrace, New Relic and Sumo Logic. “We are proud to partner with Gigamon and integrate their network-level intelligence with the Dynatrace platform’s full-stack observability, application security, and AIOps capabilities to enable our joint customers to innovate faster and more securely,” said Bob Wambach, vice president of product marketing at Dynatrace. “Large organizations continue to embrace hybrid-cloud, multi-cloud, and cloud-native technologies as the foundation for their digital services and innovation. As a result, applications have become increasingly complex and distributed. The combination of Dynatrace and Gigamon gives customers unprecedented abilities to simplify cloud complexity. The actionable, network-level intelligence of the Gigamon deep observability pipeline provides additional network-security context to the precise answers and intelligent automation delivered by Dynatrace.” “At Trace3 we help our customers design, move and re-architect workloads to the Cloud. One of the challenges we face is maintaining visibility into key applications regardless of cloud architecture pattern, in alignment with guidance from well-architected frameworks,” said Chris Nicholas, vice president cloud and cloud solutions group at Trace3. “Gigamon Hawk helps us deliver actionable network-level intelligence against many advanced security and observability use-cases. The built-in performance tools help us accelerate troubleshooting while lowering operational costs.” “IT organizations are navigating an unprecedented increase in cyber threats across all vectors of their hybrid and multi-cloud infrastructure, and the underlying complexity and disparity of tools used to manage these environments introduces blind spots that can expose their organizations to risk, Gigamon is at the right place at the right time to capitalize on this high growth market and deliver more value to our customers by extending the value of tools they have already deployed and empowering them with actionable network-level intelligence for the hybrid cloud so they can run fast, stay secure, and accelerate innovation.” Shane Buckley, president and CEO of Gigamon About Gigamon Gigamon offers a deep observability pipeline that harnesses actionable network-level intelligence to amplify the power of observability tools. This powerful combination helps IT organizations to assure security and compliance governance, speed root-cause analysis of performance bottlenecks, and lower operational overhead associated with managing hybrid and multi-cloud IT infrastructures. The result: modern enterprises realize the full transformational promise of the cloud. Gigamon serves more than 4,000 customers worldwide, including over 80 percent of Fortune 100 enterprises, 9 of the 10 largest mobile network providers, and hundreds of governments and educational organizations worldwide.

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