Across industries, technology has become indispensable to the design, delivery, and management of the products and services we buy. And yet, business operations aren’t as automated or connected as you might think.
Many aspects of customer engagement and business processes still require human intervention. Even when technology is the primary conduit for reaching customers and managing business processes, leaders are running into barriers that slow down innovation, particularly when it comes to leveraging human and machine data.
The challenge is twofold:
- Digital sales momentum: While there has been a significant shift to digital channels for customer engagement, sales models are still evolving to support online vs. in-person interactions (e.g., digital marketplaces and links to storefronts within social media apps). As a result, there’s tremendous revenue upside if technology and data can be used more effectively to improve online experiences (e.g., personalization, AR/VR, and self-service transactions).
- Digital business optimization: Processes that support business operations—and the staff that drive them—are often siloed, manual or don’t fully support digital sales models (e.g., online bill pay, real-time order tracking, and even business intelligence and intent mapping). To accelerate customer engagement and staff productivity, especially for remote workforces, processes need to evolve.
It’s not surprising that a recent Gartner survey found more than half of CIOs see a need to deliver advancements that make their business more digital and technology-driven to accelerate innovation.
The good news: CIOs are more empowered to drive change and have greater control—as well as budget—to make this shift happen. The bad news: Building or enhancing a digital business takes more than a few mobile apps and a suite of back-office software hosted on a hybrid cloud.
IT leaders already know this. Building a digital business requires thoughtful consideration of how operational processes, business models, and customer and staff experiences must intersect and evolve. And at the heart of each decision is data and interconnected technology that enables you to leverage it.
The report from Gartner reveals the key areas where IT leaders are making investments. At the top of the list, unsurprisingly, is cybersecurity, infosec, and business intelligence with data analytics (56% of respondents are increasing investments). Those are followed by cloud, digital workplaces, and other initiatives.
Based on the needs called out in the report, here are four areas IT leaders should invest in to accelerate digital business and improve operational efficiency. With each, you’ll want to ask a few important questions.
Questions to Ask When Investing in…
Key Area #1: Application Agility
With the pivot from in-person to online engagement—for customers and staff—it’s critical to employ applications built on infrastructure that delivers real-time access to data and easily scales up or down with demand. This need is driving the rapid adoption of containerized applications. They’re efficient, portable, and can run on premises or in the cloud for agility.
Questions to ask:
- Does your vendor deliver a platform that’s designed to automate containerized resource delivery—on premises and in clouds—for new workloads that support digital channels?
- Can you use one platform for new and existing workloads to control costs while accelerating digital transformation?
- Does your vendor deliver a future-ready platform that can support the addition of new data services and other technology necessary for scalable, low-latency data access?
Key Area #2: Always-on, Always Secure Engagement
When engaging with customers and staff via digital channels, there’s an expectation that experiences will always be available and data will be protected. This has prioritized the need for business continuity and rapid restore, as well as security monitoring, zero trust, and ransomware safeguards. In our digital world, the ability to access data can have a direct effect on your reputation.
Questions to ask:
- Does your vendor offer availability software and the ability to rapidly restore data?
- Does your vendor provide integrated ransomware protection and monitoring?
- Do you have predictive support to help avoid outages and possible brand damage?
Key Area #3: Orchestrated Operations
Non-IT leaders may overlook remote deployment and proactive service, but IT teams know how critical this is. Infrastructure needs to be easily managed, monitored, and serviced, even if staff can’t directly access applications and systems. And when teams do need to be on-site, it’s important they know in advance so they can do multiple things at once. To deliver “lights-out” operations, you need robust automation, monitoring, and service management (including ITSM).
Questions to ask:
- Can your vendor offer a simple, mobile interface that allows you to deploy and monitor hybrid-cloud resources from anywhere in the world?
- Does your vendor have a digital marketplace for self-service acquisition and scaling of resources for your digital business?
- Does your vendor offer AI-powered planning tools to help you forecast needs and determine where to place any workloads for the best user experience possible?
Key Area #4: Elastic Infrastructure
With the move to digital business, the amount and type of infrastructure required to support digital sales and operations can be unpredictable—especially when it comes to storage. To minimize risk, IT leaders need on-demand purchasing and mobility so data and applications live where it makes the most sense based on cost, security, and available tool sets.
Questions to ask:
- Does your vendor offer a range of as-a-service consumption options with a flexible length of purchase so you get a cloud-purchasing experience both on-premises and in the hybrid cloud? (This is crucial and addresses one of Gartner’s callouts around IT investments.)
- Does your vendor offer the ability to move resources between clouds and on-premises to meet changing business needs and minimize lock-in?
Shifting your digital business strategy and planning ahead to support it isn’t just smart—it’s crucial to staying ahead of competitors, driving growth, and setting the pace in your industry. If you answered “no” to any of the questions posed here, consider rethinking your infrastructure provider.
Only Pure Storage® delivers a modern approach to infrastructure that’s directly aligned to support digital business. And we don’t just say that as a vendor. We’re constantly expanding digital sales and operations backed by our own products and solutions.
Explore how Pure Storage can help you enable digital breakthroughs for your business.