Mark Lewis examines the companies taking the lead in digital transformation by accelerating the development of their digital enterprise.
Some companies are born digital. Others have to work at it. No matter how their journey began, the most forward-looking digital enterprises have created an ideal back-office environment that supports what they do in the front office to grow their business. That journey is more urgent than ever.
Interxion commissioned IDC to survey 752 European enterprises, to understand how the rise of digital, as well as public and hybrid cloud, is affecting IT infrastructure and networking. The research found that 52pc of European enterprises said it is very important or critical that they can operate as a digital enterprise within the next two years. Additionally, 29pc of respondents rated their speed of progress toward digital transformation as “fast” while 6pc said they were moving “very fast”.
Why the urgency? The research found that the companies that are moving the fastest toward digital transformation are also the ones that rate digital as an important capability for short and long-term success. The faster these companies move, the quicker they accelerate away from their competitors, gaining an important edge now and in the future.
What is a digital enterprise?
Digital transformation is a fairly broad term but, for the purposes of this research, Interxion focused on a simple proposition. Enterprises today are challenged to achieve more, whether that means creating new products faster, improving customer engagement or playing a larger role in more global markets. To reach their goals, top digital enterprises use emerging technologies – big data, cloud, mobile, social media – to transform existing processes or do something new.
Who’s moving the fastest?
Our research found that IT infrastructure is often a key enabler of digital transformation. Among the group of survey respondents who are making the fastest progress toward digital – our ‘digital leaders’ – the flexibility and performance of IT infrastructure was the most influential success factor.
In terms of specific infrastructure capabilities, the hybrid cloud stood out as a priority for respondents. About 53pc of total respondents said they currently, or plan to, use a hybrid cloud solution – that figure was 72pc among digital leaders. The research showed a growing preference toward off-premises IT, with 50pc of respondents saying they expect to reduce their use of on-premises data centres within the next three years.
Why move off-site? European enterprises want to move infrastructure closer to their customers, and, as business becomes increasingly global, this often means working with third-party data centre providers for access to in-country facilities.
Ultimately, the research found that the top digital enterprises in Europe view their infrastructure decisions through a business lens. So, it is important that IT managers have an input into the overall business strategy of their company because, by thinking strategically about their infrastructure, these businesses are able to scale and improve their position in the increasingly competitive digital economy.
By Mark Lewis
Mark Lewis is marketing director at Interxion, a provider of colocation data centre services across Europe. Lewis brings 20 years of marketing experience to his role at Interxion, having held senior positions in global technology companies such as Sony and Vodafone.
A version of this article originally appeared on the Interxion blog.