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4 key drivers of digital transformation in 2017
We are currently in the era of digital transformation (DX), comparable in significance and impact to the Industrial Revolution. In the 18th and 19th centuries, urbanization and industrialization forced radical economic and social change. Similarly, in recent years we have experienced equally sizeable shockwaves due to the move away from physical assets and toward data. Businesses and industries across the board are becoming more reliant on digital systems and processes than ever before.
The rapid rate of development provides opportunities, but also presents a number of challenges, especially for the CIO. This figure is central to a business’s smooth DX transition and will play a central role in ensuring communication and cooperation between all aspects of a business.
But what are the key drivers of DX, and how will they impact businesses of all sizes?
Digitization and employment
Digitization has already had a profound impact on the factory floor, and the number of jobs lost to automation over the past 30 years has now ticked over the six million mark in the United States alone. However, the impact of DX and automation on the global job market will start to shift, with the number of jobs in information security seeing a significant spike.
The most recent Arbor Networks Infrastructure Security Report shows a dramatic growth in volumetric DDoS attacks and demonstrates how the Internet of Things is forever changing the threat landscape. Last year, 20 percent of service provider respondents reported attacks over 50Gbps. This year, nearly one-quarter reported peak attack sizes over 100Gbps. This illustrates the extent of the threat of such attacks, and without adequate security measures, we can only assume this trend will continue next year.
On the factory floor, DX and automation have been blamed for replacing workers; however, the need for an expansion in IT security demonstrates how, in the future, DX and automation will actually be responsible for creating more jobs rather than simply taking away from the overall pool of positions. Since many of the jobs related to DX and automation would require software programming skills, the true challenge will be training and education of the workforce.
The CIO as manager
The role of the CIO is becoming an increasingly important one. With their knowledge of a company’s existing IT infrastructure and future demands, it will be down to the CIO to take the lead and manage a company’s DX strategy. Digital transformation is touching all aspects of business, and as a result, all enterprises need to be aware that every system upgrade, connection, or native and third-party applications added to existing IT infrastructure, on-premise or in the cloud, will increase service delivery complexity, scale, and operational risk.
It’s a situation that’s not only going to create headaches for IT teams, but could also have serious implications for the successful running of a business. As such, CIOs of companies spanning the entire global market will be vital to the success or failure of the business. It will be down to the CIO to manage the digital transition, maintain a sense of order, and lay the foundations for the future.
It’s clear that continuous deployment of new services onto IT on premises and cloud-based infrastructure is what the digital economy depends on 24/7. Managing this DX is highly strategic for business and IT leaders as a result, and risk mitigation and service performance are two of the most important transformational metrics.
Enterprises will begin to recognize the increasing value of business assurance. Doing this the wrong way, relying on incoherent data and silo-specific tools, will cost companies a lot of money when they are faced with service disruptions, sometimes running into millions of dollars an hour.
On the flipside, businesses will also recognize how accelerating DX and assuring a consistent service delivery relies on a real-time information platform that supports comprehensive IT visibility, capable of producing unique insights into operations.
DevOps chaos theory
DevOps principles will start to have much greater impact for large enterprises, with the true value of this methodology being identified through a new approach. As development velocity increases and the scale of the enterprise also increases, these businesses will develop a much greater reliance on DevOps principles in order to rein in the chaos associated with continuous development that's being spurred on by automation.
In this environment, Chaos (C) will become a function of both Velocity (V) and Scale (S). The hypothesis is that increase in velocity of new software releases and scale of Dev and Ops organizations will result in the new DevOps equation for Chaos of C~V*S². Since most Chaos will manifest itself in production environments, it will become vital for enterprises to identify the level of constraint placed upon the Operations team, helping to address what changes must be made, and what technology must be introduced, to prevent Operations from becoming a bottleneck to the continuous development cycle.
We are in an exciting era, with DX offering a wealth of opportunity for all industries and economies. Harnessing these opportunities requires strategy and forethought, as well as effective leadership and coordination on the part of the CIO. Monitoring and managing systems will be vital, as more processes are automated and data plays an increasingly central role in any company. Enterprises must recognize the drivers of DX, keep pace, and plan for the future.