As Covid-19 transformed society, IT departments scrambled to reshape operations and adapt the way they handle data management and access. One thing is sure – there is no going back to the way the world was per-Covid.
The genie is out of the bottle when it comes to how customers interact with companies. Relying solely on on-premises infrastructure no longer makes sense in 2022 (and beyond); instead, businesses need to adopt a new holistic approach to data management that fits their specific needs and how they collaborate.
Every year, IBM conducts wide-scale surveys covering executives (roughly 30,000 C-suite), consumers, and employees (approximately 50,000 to 100,000 in total) around the globe to check the pulse of the business world and discover new trends.
Unsurprisingly, during the first year of the pandemic, 60% of organizations were found to have accelerated their investment in digital transformation, 55% underwent significant course correction in terms of their digital transformation strategy, and 55% of CEOs made it a priority to become more agile. Contrary to prior assumptions, IBM discovered that instead of capital investments dropping due to the effects of the pandemic, they actually grew.
From the beginning of the pandemic, IBM found companies are not looking to close off. Instead, choosing to engage with ecosystems and grow partnerships, with commitment increasing in the vicinity of 300%.
This engagement is reflected in new technology adoption reshaping business operations. For example, 64% of organizations have shifted operations to become more cloud-based, with a staggering 97% of IBM customers worldwide now incorporating cloud-based systems into their business.
While the destination may be different for every business, and there are speed bumps along the way, the direction of travel remains the same for companies around the world.
These findings and many more were presented at a joint webinar with IBM’s Institute for Business Value. Click here to watch this session on-demand.
Mainframe or cloud? The answer is…yes
While cloud use is expanding (Gartner predicted a growth of 23%, $332.3B up from $270B in 2021), it is not the only strategy on the rise.
Redesigning the entire computing infrastructure of a business is expensive, time-consuming, and can lead to reduced market share and revenue. The more practical and efficient approach to digital transformation is taking advantage of and building on existing mainframe assets.
In other words, cloud and legacy mainframes are not mutually exclusive options, but rather are being put to greater use.
Results from the IBM Institute for Business Value Mainframe executive pulse survey show that the percentage of workflows on cloud-based and mainframe-based applications have grown in the last two years, a trend that is set to continue in the future.
Mainframes are not going anywhere
71% of executives say mainframe-based applications are currently core to their strategy. In addition, the percentage of organizations leveraging mainframes in a hybrid cloud environment will double in the next three years.
The key to digital transformation efforts isn’t throwing everything away and starting again only in the cloud. Instead, it is finding a way to marry these two strategies with an efficient and comprehensive Data Integration Hub that quickly and securely makes information available where and when it is needed.
69% of executives want to integrate hybrid cloud architecture to enhance legacy systems, making them more integrated and effective instead of starting from scratch.
A holistic approach to data management extracts maximum value from existing mainframe investments while offering the benefits of the cloud. An infrastructure modernization strategy should aim to get the maximum business value with the minimum amount of change. How can you become more “digital” without too much “transformation”?
The future of digital transformation, and data management, in particular, requires an array of different strategies and technologies. 67% of executives say their operations will include unique configurations of data and computing environments in the next three years. We are moving towards a mix of on-premises data centers, mainframes, private cloud, public cloud, and edge computing.
Businesses need significant self-analysis to identify workflows suited to each approach and how they can seamlessly transfer data back and forth between each.
Planning for the road ahead
It is easy for modernization to result in dead ends, and 74% of cloud-related transformations fail to meet the expected business value. So, how do organizations move from their current data management and computing environment to a new holistic one?
Optimizing each line of business separately often results in segmented operations with fragmented or siloed data. The real benefits of digital transformation lie in an interconnected Data Integration Hub that relies on an enterprise-wide hybrid cloud.
Every organization’s endpoint can still be unique, but embracing a universal approach can help ensure success. Here are our top three tips:
1. Adopt an iterative approach
Transforming data management is a daunting task that often requires moving away from a long-standing approach. But digital transformation doesn’t have to be an all-at-once strategy. In fact, it is much more likely to succeed when performed incrementally, with a step-by-step approach that can adapt along the way to a long-term goal.
2. Assess your portfolio and build your roadmap
There are as many digital transformation roadmaps as there are businesses. You can’t copy someone else’s; you have to do the work and examine each strategy’s capabilities for your operations. Make sure you understand your organization’s specific requirements from both cloud storage and from a mainframe, as well as the way the two interact. Build a portfolio of workflows and determine the optimal solution for each.
3. Leverage multiple modernization strategies
You don’t have to stick with just one modernization strategy. Being brave, trying many, and finding the right ones for you during an iterative approach help ensure success. Whether it is adopting new APIs, developing cloud-native applications, trying containerized applications, or the latest DevOps techniques – you won’t know which combination best fits your organization’s needs until you try.
These tips can be used as a data management cheat sheet:
Real-life case studies
So, what does this kind of data management transformation look like in real life? Consider these two customer case studies:
Avanza Bank – a true pioneer in digital banking
A digital bank that started 20 years ago with the ability to offer quick and convenient services compared to traditional banks. Nowadays, however, they are not only competing against other digital banks and incumbent banks; they also compete over their customer’s attention. In the words of the bank’s CTO: “When my customer has a few spare minutes, I am not competing with another bank. My competition over her attention is with Facebook and other social media outlets.”
Delivering a great digital customer experience is no longer optional, and this requires an efficient Digital Integration Hub that makes all the relevant data easily accessible to digital apps. In the fight for attention, slow response times can be the final nail in the coffin. Check out Avanza bank’s full case study for further details.
Top grocery retailer
Five years ago, a large brick-and-mortar grocery retailer formed a new arm in charge of all digital channels. The first step was to move everything to the cloud. They essentially cut and pasted their entire digital operations from their own servers to a global public cloud provider.
At the time, this was good enough, but with the acceleration of technology adoption and a shift in customer expectations, their digital demands have changed drastically.
The existing architecture was no longer suitable to build and launch new digital services at the required pace. Every small data management change required four different technical personas, and as their chief architect commented: “The wholesale cloud approach fails to support the growth strategy we are looking to implement.”
This created a long backlog of new digital services waiting to be launched. What this case demonstrates is that it’s not so much about whether you switched to the cloud or not, but rather, did you modernize your architecture in order to support an accelerated pace of digital transformation? Learn more in the case study on elevating retailers’ customer loyalty programs.
Is there a fast track to accelerate digital innovation?
To meet the demands of modern-day data management, IT teams have to rely on all the help they can get and extract value from every strategy available to them. This includes digital transformation built on top of legacy systems.
The focus should always be on the services provided and how data is managed to facilitate the best user experience possible.
One way to ensure your team can move fast and improve digital innovation is to use a Smart Digital Integration Hub. It decouples systems of record from digital applications to allow businesses to rapidly build cloud-native services while still relying on legacy systems.
Furthermore, it provides API/event-based data access by aggregating and replicating multiple system-of-record sources into a low-latency, high-throughput data management layer that synchronizes with the systems of record via event-driven patterns.
A DIH enables scalable, 24/7 data access, reduces workloads on the systems of record and improves business agility. Organizations can reap additional value by leveraging a DIH in analytics, data integration, and composition scenarios.