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Size no longer matters in business. Agility reigns. Resiliency, efficiency, and productivity differentiate winners from losers. Scale is just a variable today. Whether you’re a tiny disruptor or part of the old guard with a legacy and global footprint, your performance measures your value. 

How did this happen? Technology. The Fourth Industrial Revolution happened, and here we are, running headlong into an ever-escalating merger of man and machine, flesh and data. To say this paradigm shift is Promethean is to invoke the origin of fire — a moment that changed the future of all mankind. 

This is no mere trend. It’s a generational shift. The rush to move goods and services into digital channels hasn’t even begun to approach market saturation. According to Research and Markets, the digital transformation market will hit $3.3B in 2025. This evolution is in its infancy.

And yet, you can ask a dozen different people what digital transformation looks like and get as many answers. How do we define this important idea? What does it include today? What will it look like tomorrow? 

Digital transformation defined

Simply put, digital transformation is a holistic strategy to integrate disruptive technologies into every area of business, fundamentally changing how companies interact with customers, pursue innovation, and deliver goods and services. 

That’s not shorthand for “moving to the cloud.” It’s a fundamental shift in mindset that discards the status quo and accepts the fail-fast-fail-forward perspective of the digital age. It’s adopting iterative changes to operational policies and procedures at the speed of technology. It’s positioning teams to pilot and implement solutions that drive results in new and different ways. 

Digital transformation is a business imperative. Rapid experimentation and data-optimized implementation are the new gold standard. In the post-pandemic world, there is too much at stake to ignore the change in the air. Virtual, work-from-anywhere, always-connected productivity is now the price of admission. Digital transformation is the strategy that boldly steps into this space and says, “How far can we go?”

The future of digital transformation

We now have serious data — from McKinsey and others — that shows the quick-fix digital shifts we saw during COVID-19 are forecasting the future of digital transformation. Streaming video is the norm. Online grocery shopping is here to stay. Cashless transactions are expected. Even remote selling has its place in today’s B2B workflows. 

As a result, focusing on best-in-class technology for every team member is no longer a recruiting tactic or a pipe dream — it’s an expectation. If you don’t have powerful hardware, robust geographic-agnostic infrastructure, and fast access to data from anywhere, your people simply will not get results. 

Effective digital transformation strategies often begin with deconflicting systems and eliminating redundancies across platforms and applications. Then, a layer of automation is implemented to drive efficiencies and offload repetitive work better done by digital robots or AI. The focus here is on productivity, efficiency, and agility. Resilient, flexible, and easily adapted frameworks will succeed while the traditional massive, monolithic enterprise systems go the way of the dinosaur. 

The future of digital transformation is, of course, in the cloud. However, it requires an understanding of how to leverage hybrid-cloud deployments, virtual machines, and hyperconverged infrastructure. 

Across all of this, AI and machine-learning capabilities will continue to evolve, particularly in data management, cybersecurity, and access control. Data is the heart of business now. Your greatest concerns must be where the data is, who has access to it, and how it’s utilized. Every tool that enhances your data visibility is a tool that drives digital transformation toward results. The automation platforms available today are primarily oriented toward process optimization and people-empowerment. These tools free your team from busy work and allow them to focus instead on the kind of higher-order thinking that powers innovation. 

This also means leaders must be agile. If you are creating a culture that embraces change, that starts top-down with flexibility and open-mindedness. Help your key managers and thought leaders access the “why” of digital transformation, and you’ll prepare your team to move together into a results-oriented evolution with strategy and purpose. 

The core of digital transformation

In many ways, digital transformation is the logical result of your data becoming your greatest business asset. Your interactions with customers, your team members, and the market as a whole are all data-driven. Digital transformation is about re-examining your relationship to data and making the technological changes necessary to maximize the value of that data. 

Distributed cloud platforms and serverless architecture will only grow as companies grapple with how to best analyze, store, and protect their data. APIs are now the key to market expansion and growth rather than nifty integrations. Blockchain and distributed ledger technology will continue to find new and novel applications across industries, from logistics to healthcare to food services. 

All of these bleeding-edge concepts depend on fast and reliable access to data. From anywhere. At any time. 

Panzura’s one-of-a-kind cloud architecture combines an intuitive, impenetrable global file system with a single SaaS dashboard that delivers complete visibility, governance, and metadata access. Integrated smart apps enhance data monitoring with next-generation consolidation and advanced ransomware protection. 

Because we address the heart of digital transformation — your data — we’re the linchpin of every strategic deployment. If digital transformation strategy is truly about creating a baseline of prerequisites that enable fast pivots and innovative solutions (and it is), you need a core technology that ensures your data is always immutable, accessible, and fully visible. 

Before you can leverage the newest customer experience technology or adopt a more agile operational model, you need to create the framework that matches your future state — whatever that will look like. How can you even know? Maybe it hasn’t even been invented yet. Instead, you need to focus on providing your team with the optimal balance of availability, security, and flexibility. You have to be ready for anything. 

As the only hybrid-cloud data management platform to define entirely new data storage methods, Panzura offers security, visibility, and control. You don’t have to choose which to sacrifice; you get it all. 

Many enterprise IT leaders spend upwards of 70% of their IT budget on maintaining legacy systems and expanding outdated infrastructure that is slow to scale and costly to operate. These ancient architectures use dead (or dying) languages to communicate across vast expanses of physical networking switches, cables, and servers.

As digital transformation continues its relentless march forward, these weighty data storage solutions will increasingly become a liability. The operational cost and IT staff overhead needed to service them, let alone improve them, will continue to grow. 

Meanwhile, companies that have embraced cloud-based unstructured data storage behind a unified SaaS data management dashboard will be better positioned to seize opportunities, test new capabilities, and explore market preferences in real-time. 

The future is digital, and the backbone of that future is Panzura’s cloud storage platform. Innovation comes to those who seize the moment — those who are free to imagine what’s possible because they’ve already secured their most valuable asset, their data