There is an encouraging narrative around Digital Transformation (DX) to emerge, not just from the pandemic, but from the last few years. Businesses are more aware of their place in the digital economy and how to leverage new technologies to better enable success.
While trends such as customers wanting to be more data driven and invest in their cloud strategy accelerated during 2020, as did the shift to using collaboration tools to enable remote working, they are not just a reaction to Covid-19. These are shifts that were happening before and will continue to do so as we emerge from the crisis, but over the last year they have gathered pace at an exponential rate.
However, there are clearly still inhibitors to DX that are preventing organisations from investing in their own growth strategies, de-risking and future-proofing their business. The opportunity and the need for DX has been made so clear during the past 12 months, but above all there is one factor holding it back: data protection and a company’s ability to ensure one of its most critical assets – data – is available at all times.
The inability to modernise data protection is undermining the ability to execute on DX for a significant number of EMEA businesses. The Veeam Data Protection Report 2021 found that over a quarter (28%) of organisations in the Middle East have slowed or halted their DX initiatives in the past year. This is a high number when you consider that for the vast majority doing business online, enabling a remote workforce and migrating data systems to the cloud has been a matter of business continuity.
Furthermore, for those businesses that are accelerating spending on DX and increasing their use of cloud services, many are doing so on shaky data protection foundations. Our report shows that in the Middle East, 31% of all backups jobs fail, which tells us that businesses are trying to run before they can walk when it comes to their investment in technology and the majority are not adequately protecting their information.
From the conversations I have with CXOs, they do not need to be told about the potential impact of poor data protection. What they need vendors and partners to support them with is developing a clear investment strategy to modernise data protection at the same speed as they are transforming digitally and help them navigate an increasingly complex environment.
Moreover, they need a wider resource of talent and skills in the Middle East – 32% of UAE organizations and 23% of Saudi Arabian organizations citing a lack of skills to implement technology as a barrier in the next 12 months. There is a fundamental opportunity for partners to play a critical role in supporting customers. By advising them on their DX strategy, as well as providing the skills and solutions to modernise data protection, they become much needed trusted partners beyond implementation.
If you look at Veeam’s ProPartner Network as an example, there are hundreds of partners across the Middle East alone, with the skills and expertise to help businesses implement data protection solutions that are fit for purpose in the digital economy.
In turn, this is why at Veeam we are looking to evolve our relationships with partners and focus on developing key competencies, by offering them the opportunity to upskill their teams and provide world-class consultancy on DX and data protection.
With customers increasingly consuming IT services via the cloud (as a service), we are also helping partners transform their service models accordingly to deliver data protection solutions via a subscription-based IT model.
By moving to more recurring sales and business models, partners can become strategic partners to their customers looking to get their DX journeys back on track, by taking the first step of modernising their data protection strategy.