Cloud holds the key to digital transformation

Monique Williams, South Africa Country Manager, Hyland.

The cloud is fundamental to digital transformation and maximising the value of data, AI and machine learning, experts have told on a Hyland webinar on cloud technology as an enabler of digital transformation.

Monique Williams, South Africa Country Manager at Hyland, said: “Now is the time to start the cloud conversation. IDC predicts there will be 163 zettabytes of data generated by 2025 – 10 times the data generated in 2016. Cloud-first approaches are critical to managing and securing this overwhelming amount of data.”

Cloud holds the key to digital transformation, and 80% of organisations view cloud-based content management as their preferred solution for digital transformation, and 75% say it is fundamental, she said.

Williams said some of the inhibitors preventing businesses from moving into the cloud space in the past had included concerns about cost and data sovereignty, but that these barriers to entry had fallen away in recent years. Williams said the cloud and managed services freed IT to configure and install solutions relevant to the business to make it more reactive to market needs and changes. In recent months, many larger corporates were aiming to go with cloud native software.

“The market has moved incredibly quickly in the last six to nine months. We have seen a wave of organisations moving – initially the banks and insurers, followed by organisations across sectors. The risk organisations run if they are not part of this wave is that they could be left behind, not deliver the right levels of customer service, or find that running their own data centres is more costly.”

Cliff De Wit, CTO and co-Founder of Dexterity Digital, said businesses were becoming more reliant on data and that there was a growing impetus amongst businesses of all sizes to turn their data into an asset to help drive business decisions. However, large volumes of data without insight was simply a cost centre, he noted.

He said that while organisations were collecting data at an enormous rate – with projections that 400% more data collected between 2020 and 2025 – only around 30% of that data was being analysed. Many organisations were challenged by having their data in silos, and many were struggling to mature their data strategies and achieve ROI, he said. The next step in understanding data was to employ machine learning and artificial intelligence to better utilise data and harness data as a true asset, he said. Data helps you transform – and sometimes transform the very fabric of the business to engage customers, optimise operations, transform products and empower employees.

“The cloud is an interesting paradigm shift both in terms of a general revolution but more specifically in terms of data and analytics,” he said. “Gone are the days when you wanted to build something you first needed to go and speak to the infrastructure guy and wait six weeks for them to build the server for you and then have that provisioned: now you can get a new machine provisioned in seconds or you can get applications that are run as a service from a cloud in seconds. A lot of the traditional barriers of the old days of computing have been removed by the cloud.”

He said the cloud was an economic breakthrough – if used correctly. The mistake many organisations made, however, was to use their on-premise models when they moved to the cloud. Cloud’s elastic computing models provide performance and scale when needed, but if organisations use cloud infrastructure the same way they have always used their on-premise infrastructure, they could be disappointed by the cost savings achieved.

“Running businesses from the cloud can help in terms of agility and scalability, but also in terms of things like compliance, off the shelf connectivity and extension, and standards compliance,” De Wit said.

Andrew Griffith, MD at nVisionIT outlined the benefits of his company’s migration to the Hyland Cloud, saying the company had gained peace of mind, with connectivity and access to their information at all times. Griffiths said companies today had to have the right attitude about technology: “It’s not just about back office server management anymore,” he said. “Your technology has to facilitate agility, allowing your business to scale, adapt and evolve."

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