It’s probably fair to call the 2020s the rise of the “internal” customer—but what do we mean by internal customers, and why are they so important? 

External customers are who you sell to; internal customers help you to ultimately make those sales: employees, shareholders, stakeholders, partners, and vendors selling to third parties. They’re important because there’s a measurable connection between happy internal customers and happy external customers. 

We’ve written about how a thriving company culture leads to better customer experiences. But digital transformation on a larger scale is about people, too. To that end, more companies are taking note of the human experience—from HR to sales to IT and every procurement decision they make.

digital transformation

Digital Transformation (and IT Roadmaps) Should Be Driven by People

Enter digital transformation—initiatives focused on people and empowering them to take their time back. For IT, in particular, this is requiring a fresh strategic roadmap. Building IT dream teams in the face of growing talent gaps means attracting and retaining talent. A key way to do that? Removing complexity for IT teams and empowering them with simplified technology centers and modern technologies that are a joy to use, rather than an ongoing headache. 

The result? IT will be less bogged down with those more mundane configuration, administration, and management tasks. They’ll get time back to focus on bigger initiatives that drive growth and innovation. They’ll likely be happier, too.

Central to all this is having the right foundation of human-centric technology to support internal efficiency, productivity, and ultimately, the well-being of our internal customers (and our bottom lines). So how do you do that?

Modernize IT Ops and Data Centers for People

Digital transformation boils down to giving IT teams the right foundationstreamlined infrastructure and operations. Simplicity is the goal, and putting new on top of the old can defeat the purpose. 

According to a new report from Gartner, “2022 Strategic Roadmap for Storage,” “I&O leaders must implement intelligent data services infrastructure powered by software-defined storage and hybrid cloud IT operations.” Why? 

  • Intelligent data services enable us to work smarter, not harder when it comes to data storage, protection, and analysis. 
  • Software-defined storage (SDS), a storage architecture that decouples storage software from its hardware, enabling greater scalability, flexibility, and control over your data storage infrastructure.
  • Hybrid cloud IT operations, combining on-premises and cloud-based operations for greater agility and flexibility of workloads. 

As more and more unstructured data comes into play, digital transformation initiatives will increasingly rely on all of the above to keep data safe. 

The report also states, “The most fundamental question facing I&O leaders is how to leverage the benefits of the cloud model to transform IT operations.” A key way to take full advantage of the cloud? AI. But not just any AI… 

Increase Efficiency and Reduce Tedium with AIOps

The report notes that “AIOps provides a framework and set of tools to offload the more mundane tasks of resource management, but primarily will address the challenges that simply can’t be resolved by scaling human resources.” AIOps can definitely address I&O leaders’ need for operational efficiency and better support, and it will achieve this by combining architecture knowledge with analytics.  

AIOps is:

  • An important part of the shift to a results-oriented, SLA-based delivery model where humans focus on observable insights. 
  • A way for I&O leaders to redirect IT hardware administration and support budgets to other business priorities and growth initiatives.

Gartner also predicts that AIOps and storage as a service will begin to replace some of the more tedious IT storage administration, maintenance, and support activities over the next few years. According to the report: “Storage vendors are investing heavily in AIOps and consumption-based deployment offerings that provide a seamless path to a more productive and resilient IT operating model.” Pure Storage has invested in AIOps, as well, with Pure1—an AI-driven data-services platform for data management. The Pure1 AIOps experience revolutionizes how IT teams acquire, manage, and optimize infrastructures.

Simplify Operations with Storage as a Service (STaaS) 

“At the beginning of 2020, there were no major storage vendors offering STaaS. At the end of 2021, every major primary storage vendor minimally offered block STaaS to compete against hyperscale cloud providers,” notes the report. 

A large and growing percentage of enterprise-class primary storage capacity is now being deployed on hyperscale platforms because public cloud storage options have become such a viable alternative. The report states that roughly 15% of enterprise storage capacity will be deployed as hybrid cloud IT STaaS by 2025, increasing to 50% by 2030, according to Gartner. Clearly, next-generation primary storage strategies are being shaped in large part by hybrid cloud IT operations models, in addition to artificial intelligence and SDS.

As the industry’s most reliable storage consumption service, Pure Storage Evergreen//One offers operational simplicity with the agility and flexibility of public cloud storage and the security and performance of an all-flash infrastructure. 

Be Ready for the Future: Unstructured Data and Intelligent Data Platforms

New challenges like edge computing, ransomware, and exponential data growth require new capabilities and new ways of doing things. To address the immense and rapidly growing amount of unstructured data alone, more and more companies are using distributed file systems and object storage. It’s forcing the unstructured data storage market to evolve into an intelligent data infrastructure platform market. And it’s giving IT more creative time, inspiration, and runway to innovate.

According to the report, 2022 strategic roadmaps emphasize extensibility, scalability, and ease of management—making for happier internal customers. “I&O leaders are looking for on-premises storage products that can address an increasing number of digital business use cases…. [They’re] demanding hybrid cloud integration, scalability, flexibility, life cycle management, ease of management, and analytics insights into data.”

This is the exact thinking behind the launch of FlashBlade//S, Pure’s latest generation of the FlashBlade® platform that delivers the scalability, flexibility, and investment protection to uncomplicate your unstructured data.

Choose Simplicity to Keep Internal (and External) Customers Happy

At the end of the day, the key to success lies in building a foundation that focuses on the people who will be using it every day. That means embracing the tools that give people their time back—STaaS, SDS, and hybrid cloud architectures—and equipping our people to use them. When developing your strategic roadmap for storage, start there. 

Download the full Gartner report: “2022 Strategic Roadmap for Storage”