Red Hat and SAP recently commissioned Forrester Consulting to conduct an independent study around the potential benefits of data center modernization as a way to enhance innovation and digitally transform in support of business strategies and goals. We invited Forrester Consulting to share some highlights from the study, “The Modern Data Center: Vital For Digital Transformation.”
In this rapidly progressing digital age, where the customer is king and a real-time response is no longer disruptive but expected, the imperative to modernize and innovate is pressing.
Though data centers (DCs) may have once been safely tucked away within the domain of IT, this heart of the digital company can no longer manage to work in isolation. The responsible CIO understands that a modern data center — one that allows firms to handle increasingly complex data needs in real time while aiding in the shared goals of the business overall — is a vital component of an innovative, customer-obsessed company. In short, if the data center is not in service of the boardroom, then it is neither modern nor functional.
Forrester found that companies engaged in data center modernization achieved better business results and stronger partnerships with other lines of business (LOBs). In particular, there were several key findings from this research:
- Companies are modernizing now. There is no time to wait. As the heart of the organization, a data center that is capable of keeping up with the real-time demands of an innovative company is critical for success. There is widespread agreement on this point, as nearly all firms we spoke with had at least started to update their systems. Furthermore, half had already re-architected or are currently expanding on the initial upgrade.
- Technical and financial issues drive modernization. Not surprisingly, the desire to increase efficiency and performance while providing higher availability are key technical goals. But overarching business goals that the company holds in general also come into play. Improving customer experience (CX) and increasing security are also drivers of the modernization process.
- Challenges do arise, and they touch all corners of the organization. Technical issues like building flexible capacity, organizational concerns like upgrading and maintaining internal employee skillsets, and financial hurdles like dealing with rising and unforeseen costs plague modernization efforts. The need for comprehensive strategic planning of these initiatives is therefore crucial in order to weather these wide-ranging potential storms.
- The modern DC is a true business partner. Despite the possible challenges, the effort is necessary if firms truly want to succeed in this digital age of the customer. It is imperative to remember that the data center is not curtained off in IT; rather, it is a full partner in strategic business decisions.
Digital transformation, innovation, and customer obsession are necessary to win, serve, and retain customers, and a modern data center is, in turn, necessary to accomplish those goals. In order to modernize, IT executives should consider the following points:
- Modernize now, but continue to innovate. The need to modernize is not merely a need to keep up; it’s a need to lead, continuously. As such, infrastructure teams must remain agile, arming their infrastructure and operations (I&O) employees with the most current information and useful partners possible. Stay ahead of the curve in order to remain on the cutting edge; innovate or fall short.
- Keep an eye on business goals. A modern business technology (BT) agenda focuses not just on saving money but on making money. Divest yourself of old IT thinking and hone your business partner skillset to provide real value.
- Encourage collaboration between IT and LoB. Achieving key business goals creates empowered infrastructure employees who then create a more customer-centric environment.
- Adopt technology that meets your business needs. Look for solutions that enable efficiencies and faster business response, minimize security risks, and reduce costs over time. Ensuring that teams are armed with the latest, most useful technology is critical to success.