Learning to accept the winds and pains of change

Data backup has undergone major evolution in the past two decades — from mainframe to distribution, distribution to cloud, and cloud to Kubernetes. While every new technology and format brings massive benefits to the table, there is also another side of the coin.

Imagine the challenge of a business changing the way they back up their data over the past 20 years. Each transition brings major costs, challenges, struggles, and anxiety, especially as the amount of data they store increases exponentially.

These transitions come with more than a financial price. Increasingly, businesses are getting stuck on the ‘pain of change’: the perceived inertia and effort of changing from one solution to another.

It is understandable for business leaders to want to stick with their existing technology; why fix what is not broken? However, as the industry continues to evolve, the biggest loss that most experience is from doing nothing.

Holding on to fragmented systems 

It is a necessity for businesses to evolve and improve. Most organisations speed up the adoption and implementation of technology to enable business continuity in the pandemic.

There are also many others that remained on the lookout for new technology. They predominantly focused on solutions that keep the business going now rather than preparing for the future. As a result, many of these IT teams are faced with fragmented systems that use legacy technology. They often have to resort to adding to or patching the systems to prolong its use.

Businesses are also coping with dangerous cyberthreats that have the potential to shut down their operations. Last year, 137 Singapore businesses fell prey to ransomware attacks, up from 89 in 2020 according to the Singapore Cyber Landscape 2021 report released by the Cyber Security Agency. Threat actors now also have easy access to more sophisticated tools, such as the ransomware-as-a-service model in the dark web. This means it is crucial that businesses invest in data protection and cybersecurity strategies to ensure that they can recover from future attacks.

Yet, it can be argued that starting again from scratch to build a future-proof environment can provide little benefit if not done right. Adopting the exact same processes on a different technology might save money and may improve end user experience, but doing so skips any of the benefits of truly adopting new technology: transformation, competitive advantage, and innovation.

Embracing change to stay competitive

While businesses may shy away from the pain of change, there are endless drawbacks to avoiding these necessary pains. The only positive is circumventing the effort required to transition to a new system. However, keeping legacy systems means their existing technology stays stagnant as business and revenue grows, limiting the ability for businesses to achieve new goals. Most importantly, keeping older systems limits businesses from taking advantage of newer technologies.

Businesses must tread a fine line, balancing the pros and cons of upgrading. On one hand, implementing new technology requires investment, training, and downtime. Yet, doing nothing risks the loss of essential competitive advantage, along with operational and cost efficiencies.

Adopting new technology does not have to be a trial by fire. Businesses often change or add vendors to their solutions portfolio at various points in time. What is important is that existing technologies can align to current and future business demands. While these changes are also often time-sensitive, businesses should not be tempted to ‘lift and shift’ applications and data, with the plan to enhance their systems later. Instead, biting the bullet to make all necessary changes within one transition is usually the best bet.

Manage the pain of change with vendors

Vendors are a crucial element of this pain of change. They alleviate their customers’ pain of changing from older systems to newer alternatives by identifying the current challenges and the ultimate outcomes that the customers desire.

There are a range of vendors today that can help with an even wider range of solutions; a key criteria is the vendor’s breadth and depth of experience and capability. This is essential, as a vendor with the capabilities that span all workloads will rarely come across a scenario that it has not seen and overcome.

Additionally, good vendors understand that no two customers are alike, and that every transition plan must be tailored to each customer. Such plans need to cover design, control, implementation, and post-implementation support that provides confidence in the outcome.

The goal is to consolidate the technology in use. Most businesses will have more than one solution that will need to be consolidated into a secure, regulated, and controlled platform. One that makes it simple and easy to integrate with existing or new internal tools, such as security or automation. Leveraging the tried and tested market leaders will help the customer de-risk projects, timelines, costs, and outcomes. It will also help reduce the time to value, which is music to the boardroom’s ears.

Ultimately, the technology winds of change cannot be avoided. While every potential transition involves ripping the band-aid off, the end goal of vendors is to be a painkiller for the pain of change. Working with trusted vendors is one of the easiest ways for businesses to reduce the pain of updating their systems and moving into the digital future.