Data is the Differentiator: Unlocking Successful Business Transformation

4 min read

No matter the industry, hybrid cloud can help drive business transformation.

Humans have long understood the power of data when it comes to effective decision-making. 20,000 years ago, Paleolithic tribespeople kept records of their trading activity by making marks on sticks and bones, while even a modern-sounding idea like “business intelligence” is older than most of us perhaps realize. In fact, the term first appeared in 1865 in reference to a banker named Henry Furnese, whose facility with information collection and analysis is said to have given him a powerful edge over his competitors.

Today, we have more data than ever, and it’s multiplying at a rapid pace. But it’s not just the quantity that has increased. So, too, has the value of data to those that can harness it effectively. Think of the most successful businesses today, with the most innovative business models and products. From retail to transport to banking, whatever the industry they are transforming, these firms all share one thing in common: deep expertise with data.

It doesn’t matter if the data is in one cloud, spread across multiple clouds, at the edge, or located on-premises. Those primed to succeed at business transformation are modernizing their systems so they can collect and analyze data wherever it is, successfully separating the signal from the noise to drive ever more value or even, as IBM’s Institute for Business Value reports, to create entirely new business models.

Modernizing your business with a hybrid cloud strategy is a major theme at IBM’s Think Broadcast 2022. Learn how to attend from anywhere in the world here.

Think like an innovator

Expertise with data is only one contributing factor to running a successful business, of course. A mindset that is comfortable with change and which embraces innovation is also essential.

After all, the list of companies that were trailblazers in their day — but which fell behind younger, hungrier competitors — is long. But it does not follow that only startups and companies born in the online age have a monopoly on innovation.

As much as the Internet transformed the retail industry, in-person experiences remain a central part of shopping for most people today. What has changed is the nature of the in-person experience. Here, many of the companies showing the way forward are long-established firms with a deep understanding of their customer base and a willingness to modernize business strategies and the underlying technologies supporting them.

For instance, during the pandemic, major retail brands accelerated a move towards hybrid shopping that was already underway, making it commonplace for customers to order online and then pick up in-store or curbside. This blend of the virtual and in-person is now here to stay. Indeed, recent research from IBM’s Institute for Business Value found that a “hybrid” shopping model is the preferred retail experience of 36% of Gen Z consumers — the largest share of any age cohort.

Similarly, the finance industry has also adapted to new consumer expectations of 24/7 access from any device. Long gone are the days when it was necessary to stand in line in a bank waiting for a teller to become free; customers today may interact with an AI-powered virtual agent online or over the phone while a powerful mainframe computer uses AI inferencing to analyze transactions in real time in the background.

Business transformation at scale is driven by a sophisticated mix of cloud solutions and on-premises infrastructure, which, when done right, delivers a seamless experience to the end user. It’s data that drives these experiences, and it’s those firms that have modernized to fully exploit data wherever it is located, that are going to win in the future.

Hybrid cloud unlocks business transformation

An innovation mindset may be central to a business’ continued success, but without the right technology strategy, businesses are unlikely to see results. Meanwhile, how can those trailblazers that are already ahead of the pack guarantee that they continue to succeed, even as the data multiplies at an exponential rate? IBM research shows that by 2023 organizations expect to be using no fewer than 10 clouds.

Adopting a hybrid cloud strategy is key. This approach combines and unifies public cloud, private cloud and on-premises infrastructure to create a single, flexible, cost-optimal IT infrastructure. For instance, IBM has worked with Coca Cola Europe to move mission-critical workloads to the cloud, and Coca Cola Europe will use the IBM Multicloud Management capability to allow integration and management of its legacy systems and private and public clouds from a single dashboard. This will provide the organization with a consolidated view and one point of control over its entire IT infrastructure.

The efficiencies of hybrid cloud do more than allow businesses to exercise greater control over resources. Development and IT operations teams can optimize spend across all their clouds and benefit from improved regulatory compliance and security.

But hybrid cloud computing also fuels business transformation by helping companies discover new value in their data and modernize applications faster. Shorter product development time leads to accelerated innovation and gets new products in the hands of customers faster, while also resulting in faster delivery of applications closer to the client. Hybrid cloud also enables faster integration and combination with partners or third parties to deliver new products and services.

Conclusion

Whatever the industry, hybrid cloud can bring about continued business transformation, even as the world changes around us.

Of course, implementing this strategy effectively doesn’t happen overnight. To get from adoption to a position of deep expertise requires investment not only in technology but also in the skills of the people implementing it.

But those companies that effectively deploy hybrid cloud to meet the demands of today’s business will be best positioned to win not only today, but also in the future.

At IBM’s Think Broadcast 2022, explore how advanced tools, technologies and methods allow leaders to become the new creators of the ideas that will enable them to thrive and lead in an accelerated digital world. Let’s create something that changes everything.

Learn about Think Broadcast 2022 and add events to your calendar.

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