Customers still in early stages in digital business transformation: EMC-VMware study

A new report from EMC and VMware has data on enterprise digital transformation that, except in virtualization, shows customers are far, far short of where they want to be. The sunny side of the story is that many are taking moves to get there.

CIOs-Want-Hybrid-Cloud_snackableA new State of IT Transformation report prepared jointly by EMC and VMware on the status of enterprise customers’ digital business transformation efforts indicates that in most areas, these organizations are still in comparatively early stages of their digital transformation efforts, particularly when it comes to use in production environments. The vendors don’t see this as bad news however, because while the present adoption rates are weak, the target forecasts are much stronger.

The methodology of the report is unusual. It is not based on survey data but on an analysis of over 660 EMC and VMware customers worldwide who participated in EMC IT Transformation and VMware Accelerate workshops assessed the state of their digital business agendas.

“When we do these workshops we ask attendees to answer two sets of questions, about where they are now, and where their target state is for the next 18-24 months,” said Denise Partlow, Director of Product Marketing Cloud Professional Services, at EMC. “We have been doing these workshops for quite a while and we benchmark customers in them.” This is, however, the first time the data has been made available publicly. The plan is to release the data in subsequent annual reports.

The data are divided into three sections: Transforming Operations; Cloud Infrastructure – Defining a Strategic Platform; and Applications – Empowering and Accelerating App Development.

In terms of Transforming Operations, most organizations said they wanted to improve their IT service strategy to run IT like a customer-focused business. Few of them are anywhere close to doing that at present, however. For example, 90 per cent say they want a documented IT transformation strategy and roadmap with executive and line of business support. Only 39 per cent have it, while 55 per cent admitted nothing was documented at all. It gets worse. 95 per cent say they want an IT organization with no siloes. Only four per cent say they have it now. 88 per cent of companies say they have not begun, or are in the very early stages of beginning, developed IT skills in business-facing service definition and cloud technology. While the top priority in service strategy is to develop an efficient service catalogue and self-service portal, 76 per cent have nothing in place, or have underdeveloped efforts. Even those in the top 20 per cent have only a partial catalogue.

CIOs-Want-to-Remove_Silos_snackableThe applications numbers are similar, with more than 80 per cent reporting lacking a scalable, infrastructure-independent application framework. While most want to get their application development lifecycle done in a few weeks, 68 per cent said it now takes 6–12 months or more to complete.

These numbers would appear to be disastrous, but Partlow said that’s not the case at all.

“First, these are the companies coming to us for help on their transformation, so they aren’t the most mature ones to start with,” she said. “If you have made the most progress, you likely aren’t going to ask for help. Secondly, they do have target goals, and they plan to reach them. If the customers are the same, we would expect to see progress in which everyone would be at the middle maturity level by 2020.” The unpublished data from past workshops indicate that this progress is slow, but fairly consistent. Comparing these results from when the workshops started in 2010, the percentage of lowest scoring areas has dropped by an average of 11 per cent, with service strategy faring the best.

In the cloud infrastructure category, most organizations said they wanted to have a hybrid cloud architecture for their production applications within the next 18-24 months. Less than 20 per cent are in production now, however. 90 per cent are still in the evaluation or proof-of-concept stage. In addition, 91 per cent said that had no standardized method of evaluating workloads for hybrid clouds, and only three per cent had evaluated their application portfolio for suitability for hybrid cloud.

“Even though the current numbers are low, almost all the organizations wanted to have their apps in a production apps production environment by 2016-2017, so I would expect to see a significant acceleration over the next couple of years,” Partlow said.

The virtualization numbers in the report are anomalous from all the others. They are much better, reflecting the fact that virtualization is now a more mature technology. 96 per cent want complete virtualization of compute, storage and applications, and top performers are already over 80 per cent virtualized there.

“This isn’t really a big surprise, because we would expect people would be doing well,” Partlow said. “The more interesting thing is that levels for network and desktop virtualization, which have been much less developed. They have made a lot of progress in the last two years, with the telcos standing way out on network.” The number who reported being over 60 per cent virtualized has doubled in desktop virtualization and tripled in network virtualization.

For channel partners advising customers about these moves, Partlow said some significant metrics show the value of moving.

“A recent report we did with IDG found people with a significant number of workloads in a hybrid cloud had a 50 per cent IT cost reduction over those who did not,” she said. “People have also seen up to a 28 per cent cost reduction in a move to ITaaS.”

The bottom line is that digital transformation has moved from being a positive differentiation to close to table stakes today.

“It is almost becoming a must-have,” Partlow said. “You will be left behind if you don’t move to that digital business model.”