It is a fact that today’s customers expect a lot from their suppliers and providers, whether that is a supermarket, bank, energy provider, insurance company or any other business they buy products or services from. The digital revolution has been a major contributor to customers’ rising expectations, with a recent customer survey from Salesforce “State of the Connected Customer”, finding that 75% of customers expect businesses to use new technologies to create better experiences, and 73% say that one extraordinary experience (tailored, contextualised engagements across different touch points) raises their expectations of other companies.
This offers businesses an opportunity but also a challenge, to update systems and infrastructure sufficiently in order to offer new services and extraordinary experiences, at scale.
The challenges of digital transformation are many. Legacy systems are costly to replace, businesses might not have the necessary skills and expertise in house and budgets are always reducing.
So, what does digital transformation mean?
Firstly, businesses need to understand how critical their data is. Businesses that are data-driven and data-centric outperform the competition.
Secondly, businesses must modernise their infrastructure in order to increase efficiencies and provide better customer service. A modernised infrastructure can allow businesses to streamline operations, automate tasks where possible, control their data and leverage the public cloud in order to succeed.
Finally, businesses should prepare for scale. Building a scalable platform from the outset means they can keep pace with the growth of the business quickly and without high levels of extra investment.
But how does a business get there?
Cloud infrastructure is an essential part of any data centric business, but it’s not always as easy as adding some public cloud services to your existing on-premise infrastructure. Traditional infrastructure is usually organised in application focused silos and data won’t be able to flow as required between this legacy infrastructure and the cloud, unless you add automation, public and private cloud elements. In fact, the most successful hybrid cloud environments are built on a private cloud platform which can provide the flexibility, automation and simplified data management that businesses need to serve their applications and manage data in any location.
Many businesses are turning to hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) which is a popular building block for a modernised hybrid cloud infrastructure. HCI contains every element of the infrastructure stack in a single, virtualised block. It is built in a modular way, allowing blocks to be added easily as and when additional compute or storage is needed.
HCI meets the needs of the data centric business, allowing them to serve the most demanding cloud-native applications from day one, and allow data to flow between locations and applications, in public or private clouds. When the business grows, the HCI environment can grow with it. HCI is managed centrally and simply and the day to day monitoring and management can be done by generalist IT administrators, without the need for specialist storage, virtualisation or networking administrators.
Because it is so simple, HCI enables the automation of custom provisioning and encourages and fosters self service, which means businesses become more self-sufficient and free up time which can then be spent innovating.
Businesses looking for HCI solutions should evaluate NetApp, which is designed for highly performing environments, with high availability, scalability and simplicity. All the key requirements of a modernised infrastructure.
NetApp HCI also integrates with NetApp Data Fabric which connects everything in the hybrid cloud together. It also unlocks other advanced services such as file services, object services, replication, data visibility, and backup and recovery.
Find out more about NetApp HCI solutions in this white paper.