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Opinion

What's the value of digital services? Enough for resellers to take note

Unprecedented business upheaval is creating demand for digital services, and opportunities for the channel

The value of data and digital services is skyrocketing as we collectively continue our trajectory towards an information-driven economy, fuelled by digital transformation. The slew of M&As earlier this year only serves to highlight the worth of digital services, applications, and software for traditionally hardware-focused players, particularly as they now underpin modern businesses.

Digital transformation is impacting every sector, across every industry, on a global scale. The enterprise has never experienced this level of upheaval before and established brands are scrambling to update or replace IT systems before they are overtaken by disruptive brands leveraging digital strategies. And here lies the opportunity for the channel.

The new business reality

Business is now grounded in software and applications, whether on-premise or in the cloud, which are relied upon to drive new models and growth. The performance and reliability of digital infrastructure is therefore paramount, and resellers should take this opportunity to further cement their place in the ecosystem.

Success through digital transformation is linked to the performance of applications, data centres, and cloud computing. While these can be valuable drivers of growth they can also be pain points in any business. Many CIOs and IT departments have been left wondering how to keep pace with change; how to adjust and upgrade systems, to monitor constantly evolving networks and infrastructures, and to avoid crises. The stakes are high, but this is where the channel can come in, provided its approach places an emphasis on data, and not the application.

The volume of data and information which businesses already process on a daily basis is huge, which includes the channel itself. However, its effects are compounded by the widespread adoption of IoT technologies in both consumer and enterprise markets. The advent of connected devices, smart infrastructure, complex networks, and the constant availability of digital services mean businesses in the channel are sitting on a trove of valuable data.

This must be protected and properly utilised in order to support operations and the bottom line. Enterprises - and resellers - need to be aware that every system upgrade, connection, or third-party application added to existing IT infrastructure will increase service delivery complexity, scale, and operational risk. As such, the role of the CIO or equivalent is more important now than it's ever been.

The new role of the CIO

In a much more complex operating environment like this, it's down to the CIO to manage the transition, maintain a sense of order, and lay the foundations for the future. The CIO is uniquely placed to supervise digital transformation strategies due to their unique understanding of IT infrastructure and how it can evolve to better serve business growth. These are the people that the wider channel community should keep in mind when developing their new business models. After all, digital transformation is no longer shorthand for upgrading IT. It's the mantra for modern business and without it companies will fall by the wayside, overtaken by web-scale organisations that are realising and exploiting the value of digital services.

In addition to being left behind, businesses that fail to implement a digital transformation strategy put themselves and their customers at significant risk. The spate of DDoS attacks via IoT devices we've seen recently are evidence of the dark side of the digital transformation; insecure networks exploited by hackers, with disastrous consequences. As an ever growing number of smart devices are connected to the burgeoning IoT ecosystem, effective management of these systems naturally becomes more complex. Gaining a full system-level view will be absolutely vital for curbing such attacks in the future.

End-to-end application and infrastructure monitoring across an IT estate, both on-premise and in the Cloud, is essential. Analytics - past, present, and future - will enable businesses to understand, predict, act, and automate. The reliance on digital services, networks and architectures means there is greater room for disruption and service failures. These can only be avoided by keeping sight of valuable data in real time, at all times, and by detecting and isolating problems before they impact users.

Everything is interconnected. Today, digital services must be delivered continuously, and constantly operate at peak performance levels. If you don't have a comprehensive view of your IT infrastructure, you will not benefit from the real value of digital services.

Jeff Jones is vice president of channel sales at NETSCOUT

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