By: Gregg Petersen, Regional Director, Middle East and SAARC at Veeam Software
Innovation is crucial to the continuing success of organisations in the Middle East. It helps create newer, faster and better products for customers, and also helps to harness a culture of creativity internally. You will have likely heard before how it has become imperative for businesses to evolve with technology as a central pillar. Those who refuse to transform and innovate (in the sense of technology and mindset) will struggle to stay relevant in an increasingly competitive marketplace.
The modern data centre is a particularly pertinent example here. It provides the fundamental building blocks needed to exploit the technologies of our increasingly connected future. These advanced data centres give decision-makers access to components such as virtualisation, flexible storage, and cloud offerings. In turn, this allows them to be innovative – by focusing on their business operations, and become less concerned about the nuts and bolts of the hardware used. This is mission-critical for any business that wants to encourage its stakeholders to adopt the always-on mantra.
However, a company cannot simply put the building blocks in place and expect changes to occur straight away. In fact, companies across the world remain hesitant to adopt new innovative practices around technology despite an increasingly globalised marketplace.
The recently published 2016 Veeam Availability Report showed that 83% of local enterprises surveyed are involved in data centre modernisation to enable 24/7 always-on business operations to cater for increasing user demands. In fact, 73% of local respondents indicated the increasing adoption of mobile devices, via remote working or Bring-Your-Own-Device policies, is a key driver for minimising application downtime and guaranteeing access to data.
Yet some enterprises continue to stick to old, flawed methods. Much of this resistance stems from the many rules and regulations that have been put in place. Companies should be mindful that rules help to guide organisations to embrace technological change. By encouraging companies to comply with aspects revolving around protection of information and good corporate governance, decision-makers can closely examine existing internal processes and structures and see where innovation can flourish.
This does not mean that retrofitting new solutions over long-standing systems will provide an instantly substantial solution. Ideally, businesses want to design and build something from the ground up. Such an approach would require changes to be made around systems using older technology. If a company continues to miss revenue opportunities due to incumbent technology, then what further justification is needed in order to drive change and modernisation?
Changing systems can also be costly, which can understandably lead to the reluctance of some companies not wanting to move away from legacy systems. However, change is an easier process to adopt when a company works with vendors who have accommodated their business approach to develop innovative solutions for their client’s business challenges. Companies need to have solutions that are available and accessible to all employees, especially as the modern online business culture has become always-on.
Those who adopt the always-on business model will increasingly work with service providers who, in turn, become trusted advisers thanks to their technical skills and understanding of how solutions can be integrated into existing business practices. Overcoming challenges can be resolved through a company’s relationship with vendors, who may have access to a roster of merchants across multiple sectors. Outsourcing is beneficial in that external costs are spread out over time, as services will only be used when required.
Outsourcing is also beneficial in terms of ever-changing technological demands. Technology is evolving at an exponential rate, meaning many companies do not have the luxury of time to adapt and adjust. Rather than weighing up the pros and cons of one service provider over another, it is more beneficial to understand how the strengths of each can be linked together. This means that companies should take advantage of how solutions from various vendors can benefit their business practice overall.
Companies should understand that, in addition to different systems and processes, they can also leverage their existing data. Much has been written about the explosion of data in the corporate environment, but awareness is still limited in terms of how to extract meaningful intelligence from it. This is essential to attach business meaning to data. A trusted service provider with the appropriate skills can structure data, simplifying the process for the company.
Decision-makers should scrutinise the technology and systems they have in place, in order to determine where change can happen – and whether that involves a bespoke approach or a thorough overhaul. However, there is no doubt that companies cannot afford to be complacent. Change is natural and must happen. Having a thorough, intricate knowledge of the technology landscape (or working with partners and suppliers that do) opens a gateway to potential revenue rewards through innovation and transformation.