Discover the role of server infrastructure in digital transformation
It seems digital transformation (DX) is on every business leader’s mind right now. In fact, the 2019 Business IT Trends Annual Report reveals that surveyed firms spent 38 per cent of their technology budget on DX.
DX is essentially the use of technology to optimise business processes across your organisation and, according to IDC Directions 2019, it holds the potential to increase employee productivity, improve customer retention, boost customer acquisition, lead to higher customer satisfaction and generate more revenue.
The role of data in DX
Data plays a central role in every DX project. As part of a DX rollout, you’ll likely deploy software platforms that drive your sales and marketing pipeline, customer service and fulfilment processes, and even your accounts and manufacturing functions.
The idea is to consolidate all your business processes into a single real-time view that is accessible to employees across your organisation. This allows your whole team to get an instant view of each customer’s entire life cycle to ensure every touchpoint they have with your company is up to standard.
This requires the free – and fast – flow of data between departments and software applications. For any DX platform to be effective, it must be populated with up-to-the-second data flowing in from every aspect of your operations.
Why your servers matter
This data lives on your servers, so you’ll need to ensure your server infrastructure can handle the load. Outdated server hardware will slow down – or completely interrupt – the flow of data between your software applications, and your employees will be left grasping at straws.
You also have a legal responsibility to protect your customers’ data and will need to prevent data loss that may arise from unreliable or damaged servers. This is known as your data sovereignty, and you’ll need to consider how your data will be protected when designing a server infrastructure.
Designing your server infrastructure
There are generally three different approaches you can take when designing your server infrastructure – on-premises, cloud and hybrid.
In an on-premises approach, you own the server hardware, store and actively maintain it at your place of business. While this tends to come with a higher capex investment, you get total control of your data sovereignty and don’t require an internet connection to access your data.
In a cloud approach, you outsource your data storage to a cloud vendor that keeps your data on their remote servers. This tends to be a cheaper option than maintaining your own on-premises servers, but you’ll need to rely on your cloud vendor to protect your data. And as you need an internet connection to access it, your data transfer speeds will only be as good as your – and your cloud vendor’s – network infrastructure.
A hybrid approach combines the best of both worlds. For example, you might choose to keep sensitive data protected on-premises while sending non-core data to a cloud vendor for the cost savings.
Bringing it all together
Designing a server infrastructure is really only one step in an effective DX strategy, so you’ll also need to develop a strong understanding of your workflows, internal collaboration requirements and customer expectations before you deploy a DX project. That’s why it’s a good idea to enlist the help of a DX deployment partner to ensure you put the right strategy in place to achieve your business goals.
For more information about how to get your digital transformation started, check out Digital transformation: What it is and why you should care.