Digital transformation is seeing a renewed push as a technology priority in 2020, moving into 2021, due to the strategic advantage that transformation gives an organisation. As a recent KPMG report stated: “history has shown that companies that take a strategic future-focused investment approach during times of unrest were better placed when the global economy rebounded,” and a Harvard Business Review report found: “This digital scale, scope, and learning paradigm is already difficult for even established organisations to adopt. The pandemic is only making this more challenging by adding an increasingly important fourth dimension to digital operating models: virtual work. Today, rather than digitizing the relationship between firm and customer alone, the virtual model digitizes the relationship between firm and employee.”
In other words, companies want to undertake transformation and modernisation initiatives to position themselves strategically for the inevitable uptick in activity. Unfortunately, many businesses are running into challenges that prevent them from targeting transformation. A Veeam survey of over 1,500 businesses and IT leaders found that while more than 80 per cent of enterprises are in the process of, or planning for, digital transformation, a lack of IT staff with transformational expertise (44 per cent), and dependencies on legacy systems and technology (40 per cent) are very common challenges that restrict the business from moving forward.
Resiliency and the need to look back to look forward
A key outcome of transformation is resiliency; as the HBR report argues - a transformed environment is one that is able to adopt a broader and more innovative range of operating modes, both in terms of the systems and employees.
Events of 2020 have brought into focus the lack of proper resiliency within many businesses. Data backups, archiving and security are common enough within enterprises, but this is very different to the organisation having an IT environment nimble enough to make the changes that it needs to continue operating through any eventuality.
Consequently, many organisations have a desire to renew focus on data protection as part of the broader transformation strategy, but here, too, IT leaders are struggling. Eight in nine businesses struggle with data protection, with 42 per cent citing a lack of staff to work on new initiatives, 40 per cent saying a lack of budget is an issue, and 35 per cent claiming that a lack of visibility on operational performance is a concern.
Moving into 2021 and beyond, the highly disrupted work environment will continue, but businesses will start to rebound, and there is an opportunity here for those businesses that are able to resource effective, targeted, data protection and transformation exercises. It’s not just a matter of achieving disaster recovery – there is real strategic value to investing in data protection, including:
- A more agile workplace, enabling greater flexibility and dynamism.
- Efficiencies when it comes time to consolidate work practices to the cloud and similar environments.
- A better, more innovative customer experience thanks to the superior handling of their data.
- A greater sway with boards over future transformation exercises, following the proven success of the resiliency activity.
Resiliency drives growth
Increasingly, resiliency activities – including backup and replication – rely on the cloud. There are good reasons for this. Veeam Availability Suite, for example, addresses the challenges that enterprises face with their transformation and resiliency initiatives by leveraging automation, monitoring and proactive alerting to reduce the burden of resourcing the activities.
The Availability Suite also assists in the resourcing of further activity with capacity planning features that allow the organisation to track and trend the growth in data within the enterprise. Another area where Veeam helps organisations with resiliency is by assisting in the fight against ransomware. Across all forms of malware, ransomware is perhaps the most dangerous of all, for the costs that it inflicts on a business in terms of downtime, recovery, and reputational damage. Ransomware cost Australian enterprises $241 million in 2019, and there has been a significant increase in it through 2020 to date. Combatting it, meanwhile, is going to become even more difficult; a RMIT Online report found that an additional 18,000 additional cybersecurity professionals will be required to ensure Australia’s digital security by 2026. Veeam Availability Suite helps to alleviate this skill shortage and the lack of internal resources within many organisations through built-in alerts that automate the discovery and reporting of malicious activity.
Enterprises need to be resiliency-focused, and they need to do so on constrained budgets and limited resourcing. The organisations that will be successful at this will look at resiliency as a strategic opportunity to kick-start transformation activities and deliver a more nimble, agile, cloud-ready and innovative IT environment.