These are the things guaranteed to sabotage digital transformation

7 Nov 2019

Séamus Dunne and Jan-Pieter Nentwig. Image: Luke Maxwell/

Most companies want to modernise their business, but taking the wrong approach can do more harm than good, as these Interxion leaders explain.

“The idea of a digital transformation is how to drive a business forward.”

That’s according to Séamus Dunne, managing director of Interxion Ireland, who said that digital transformation is very much synonymous with modern progress.

If an enterprise wants to bring itself into the future, it will undoubtedly involve a technological element. However, to say that it is merely a question of applying technology belies the complexities behind implementing these kinds of changes.

“It needs speed and innovation through IT, but it also needs a different economic model. You can’t keep investing in capital-intensive IT infrastructure,” Dunne told

He explained that although many businesses are keen to look towards digital transformation as a way to drive efficiency and reduce costs, it has to be done carefully. An attempt to modernise a business can present huge setbacks if not executed well.

‘Some industries will move slower but all understand the need for cloud adoption’

One of the main pitfalls, according to Dunne, is when businesses pour money into more resources than they actually need – a cost that is difficult, if not impossible, to recoup after the fact.

“It is difficult to forecast the capacity requirements and the capital has to be spent in big chunks of money,” Dunne said. “For most enterprises, this means ‘over-provisioning’, or buying more than is needed, and if your requirements go down, you still have the fixed cost.”

On cloud nine

This is why Dunne is a major proponent of cloud computing – it allows for more à-la-carte purchasing and personalisation. Being able to buy services such as Microsoft Azure, Salesforce and Amazon Web Services circumvents the need to invest heavily in your own infrastructure.

“You pay for what you use, so if you use a cloud service more, the costs go up. If you use the cloud service less, the costs come down. From a CFO’s point of view, that allows them to account for their IT infrastructure as an operating expense rather than a capital expense,” he said.

Dunne also warned that though enthusiasm about the latest technology is, broadly speaking, a good thing, going too fast can also be ruinous. “One of the biggest pitfalls is trying to move too much, too quickly to the cloud and not taking the time to plan the correct approach.”

“Many businesses have hundreds or thousands of applications to run their businesses. Some apps will migrate easily whereas others, such as legacy mission-critical applications, can be very difficult to move.

“Not every system needs to be moved to the cloud. If you have a stable, ongoing process in which there isn’t a need for change due to innovation, competition or customers, you likely do not need to prioritise moving that process to the cloud.”

‘Some industries will move slower’

Most companies these days have some kind of cloud element to their business, Dunne continued. He added that, in all likelihood, a hybrid cloud approach will become the dominant model.

While cloud is relatively ubiquitous in our modern economy, which includes both cloud-native enterprises such as Netflix and Uber and traditional industries applying cloud to their model, some sectors are slower than others to get on board.

Industries such as media and retail have adopted cloud quickly, while healthcare and public sectors may be growing their deployments more slowly.

“The drive for established enterprises to migrate to the cloud is driven by digital transformation and the explosion of data,” Dunne said.

“They are seeking increased speed, agility and innovation from IT, in order to compete and satisfy customer needs. They are also looking for a new economic model rather than having to spend on large capital projects.

“Traditionally, some move slower because of concerns about data security, regulatory requirements or latency or performance. These issues have largely been overcome by the public cloud providers, the use of the hybrid cloud model, and the growth of carrier-rich colocation data centres with high-bandwidth fibre connectivity and direct, private access connected to the cloud providers.

“Some industries will move slower but all understand the need for cloud adoption.”

Opening minds

Jan-Pieter Nentwig, enterprise director at Interxion, added that often when enterprises come to him for advice on digital transformation, their thinking is “very binary” when it comes to cloud migration.

“Oftentimes they are positively surprised when colocation comes into the picture, because it gives them a way to accelerate their cloud migration journey.

“Colocation centres, when it comes to Interxion for example, are usually highly connected. We have 700 carriers entering the building.

“If you are truly building up a hybrid application that interacts with an [off-premises] environment in the cloud, the connectivity between those two environments is key.”

To hear more from both Nentwig and Dunne about how cloud migration can shepherd a business into the future, check out the video in full above.

Eva Short was a journalist at Silicon Republic