A digital transformation is no transformation without a plan, says Mirko Voltolini head of network on demand at Colt Technology Services, and that plan always comes down (up?) to the cloud.
Telco Transformation recently reached out to Voltolini to discuss Colt's experiences with enterprise digital transformation and the relationship between digital transformation and organizational transformation. Here in part one of a two-part Q&A with Telco Transformation, Voltolini describes what Colt Technology Services Group Ltd has learned about digital transforming its customers, why digital transformation is essentially synonymous with cloud transformation and how a DevOps style of approach can come in handy when handling those transformations for enterprise customers.
Next time, in part two, look for Voltolini to expand on these thoughts vis-à-vis 5G and the cloud.
Telco Transformation: When you have customers coming to you where they need some sort of digital transformation solution, are they coming to you mostly and saying, "I'm interested in this technology" -- NFV, cloud, IoT, whatever it is? Or are they coming to you and saying, "I have this business problem. What do you recommend for a solution?"
Mirko Voltolini: I think we have actually both cases. If you look at the market today, there are a number of enterprises within our CoreSite [community] that have started business transformation involving a digital element. Typically that involves some element of a cloud strategy, but it can also go into other directions like IoT, artificial intelligence and so on. It tends to contain a number of themes that are maybe more specific to their industry, but there are some common themes.
TT: So how has Colt's digital transformation informed the way that it helps and approaches its customers with their transformations? What has Colt learned from digitally transforming itself that it has translated to its customers' digital transformations?
MV: We have a very consultative approach with our solution market in pre-sales and end sales, and we'll also be participating in a number of engagements for customers in this respect. Our learning is that there are a number of elements to consider within the technology, within the transformation, the digital transformation space.
TT: The term "agile" keeps coming up in our conversation. To clarify, do you mean general "business agility," or are you referring to agile DevOps methodologies?
MV: I mean agility in general, although it probably has to take the shape of an agile methodology.
I look at how we approach every aspect of the business. In particular, let's talk about developing capabilities and solutions, which is what our customers do, developing services or products. Approaching the development of those capabilities from the agile point of view means a number of things. It can mean developing software in an agile way if that's part of the proposition, but it means a number of other things…Going to market with a minimum viable product rather than waiting 12 months before our capabilities fully develop is one of the aspects that we have learned to work with. Being able to fail faster and learn from that and fix it quickly.
TT: Colt has been expanding quite a bit globally, particularly into North America. (See Colt Blazes Into North American Enterprises.) What are the differences in enterprise digital-transformation demand you're seeing by region?
MV: I think primarily what we have seen is that certain countries or regions are at a different stage of digital transformation and sometimes maybe not so much a geographically related trait but more of a vertical type of difference. The pace and the progress that may be changing their business models are at a different stage. I think other than that there are a number of commonalities. There is a significant amount of progress and a significant focus in moving IT applications to the cloud. We have seen a significant growth in that, which is also driving bandwidth demand. We have cloud connectivity capability, which is booming at this stage, and we see that happening everywhere. Some regions are more advanced than others. Asia tends to be ahead of the market. They have a level of adoption of cloud and an on-demand consumption model for a network that has been ahead of what we have seen in Europe. Everybody's moving to the cloud. If you talk to enterprises, they all are savvy enough. They have a digital strategy that involves moving their business to the cloud in some shape, as well as automation -- using big data and using machine learning to analyze and automate decision-making through intelligent algorithms and IoT.
— Joe Stanganelli, Contributing Writer, Telco Transformation