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How visibility can contribute to digital transformation

(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/ESB Professional)

Benefits that companies stand to gain from digital transformation are not as widely discussed in the media as the associated obstacles. In real life, making the most of digital technologies is a challenge and not one which is easily avoidable. The process of digital transformation is time-consuming and requires additional investments, both financial and in terms of resourcing, while the outcome is not always easy to predict. A common issue is that digital transformation means different things to different people, so there can often be confusion within IT teams and the C-suite as to what is the most cost-effective and secure way to complete digital transformation.  A 2016 report by IDC (opens in new tab) predicted that 70 per cent of siloed digital transformation initiatives would ultimately fail by 2018. Poor decisions can complicate the work of organisations that are looking for their unique ways to digitalise. Visibility is extremely important to these organisations as it can play a major role and help guide organisations through transformation challenges. Here are three benefits that visibility can bring to digital businesses.

Benefit #1: Optimise investment opportunities

Digital technologies, when and if integrated efficiently, can provide organisations with a substantial edge over competitors. Cloud adoption is at the core of this trend, enabling a company to cut costs and scale up faster. Unfortunately, the majority of organisations rush to the cloud, but only a few analyse its usage or consider its optimisation. ISACA Research (opens in new tab) found that 32 per cent of organisations do not calculate the return on investment (ROI) of their use of cloud computing, suggesting that companies risk significantly overpaying for the cloud.

Visibility within an organisation helps to optimise digital strategy in accordance with business objectives and users’ needs. It means that before integrating cloud technology an organisation needs to review what information assets and resources it has, and how frequently they are used. The importance of this evaluation cannot be understated, as it helps set out which digital strategy is the best for individual enterprises. For example, before migrating from SharePoint to SharePoint Online, it makes sense to remove dead site collections. This approach will enable a company to pay for what is actually used, making digital transformation more cost-effective

Benefit #2: Tightened security

When an organisation is going through the process of digital transformation, its IT infrastructure is a hybrid, combining traditional IT and the cloud. While most cloud providers offer their customers advanced security controls, it is up to the individual company to secure its perimeter and systems which are aligned with its digital transformation goals. Within hybrid IT infrastructure, sensitive information is spread across various applications or cloud storages, which leads to a larger threat surface Therefore, the speed of its transition increases, since employees can now access cloud applications from different locations. This flexibility increases agility, but also raises cyber security concerns. If an attacker steals credentials to the corporate cloud storage, they will access the keys to the kingdom.

To tighten the security of operations in hybrid IT infrastructure, IT departments need advanced tools and capabilities to detect and mitigate all incidents with minimal disruption to business continuity or custom expectations. As well as this, it is also necessary to learn about existing vulnerabilities and threats in time. Clear visibility helps IT departments to achieve these goals. Implementation of specific methods to monitor user behaviour within the entire infrastructure will enable IT staff to respond quickly to any suspicious access attempts and intervene immediately. As with any other project, with digital change comes a high-risk transitional period. With higher visibility combined with tightened security, the likelihood of a seamless and secure digital transformation is much higher.

Benefit #3: Increased productivity

When an organisation begins its digital transformation, it usually acquires various technologies to improve its customer service. For example, cloud technology allows companies to use outsourced IT teams to assist its clients with a higher speed 24/7 customer service offering at lower cost. This however, requires an in-house IT team to control all changes that outsourced IT administrators might perform. A single wrong user permission might require the IT team to terminate all business processes unless the change is fixed, because they will need time to find the roots of the problem within the complex IT infrastructure. Therefore, it is likely that this downtime may cause a delay in processing customer orders. If clients do not reliably receive order confirmations from a company, they will likely begin to lose trust in the enterprise, which may result in switching to a competitor. Unwanted changes might also result in slow page loads, login errors, screen freezes, session disconnects, and an overall poor user experience. All of these issues combined can lead to a loss of customer satisfaction and potentially to a loss of a customer.

Clear visibility enables IT departments to dig deep into timeout root cause and identify who has changed what, when it was changed and where the change occurred. Visibility therefore provides an opportunity to revert unwanted changes operatively and streamline internal operations to the highest standard. The speed to deploy and improve performance with the cloud, SaaS, and business applications must be put at the forefront of these operations to enable further visibility and decrease security risks.

Digital technologies can help companies transform and enhance services, however, it is necessary to understand what’s going on beneath the software and services that run the business. As organisations look towards digital transformation, they are faced with a technology landscape that is constantly evolving and driving change across enterprise. Visibility can become a core part of the process, enabling business leaders to understand how to scale up their businesses in the most suitable and efficient way.

Digital transformation within businesses is an ongoing and tricky minefield to navigate. If IT teams, C-level executives, and the wider workforce work together to address needs across the organisation, and ensure clear visibility of the possible security risks, then companies will successfully overcome the challenges of business and digital transformation and start to reap the benefits.

Matt Middleton-Leal, EMEA General Manager, Netwrix (opens in new tab)
Image source: Shutterstock/ESB Professional

Matt Middleton-Leal is GM, EMEA of Netwrix, a visibility platform for data security and risk mitigation that allows organizations to see and control exactly what’s going on in on premise, cloud and hybrid IT environments.