By Christian Putz, Director, Emerging Markets, EMEA, Pure Storage
It’s difficult to think of a force that’s having a more revolutionary impact on the service industry, particularly banking, healthcare, insurance and retail, than digitalisation. It’s materially changing everything in this sector: the way processes work; the way services are offered; the customer experience; and the speed at which business is executed and where it happens.
Digitalisation is driving the innovation edge to exciting new horizons. For example, ‘robo-advisors’ can now aggregate data on markets and customer preferences to generate automated investment advice on behalf of wealth management firms. Even in the ultra-conservative non-life insurance segment, digitalisation is impacting competition. Here customer demands are making traditional players vulnerable to data-rich, analytic-centric new entrants. For instance, who would have thought that customers would be the ones asking insurers to generate more data about their lifestyle habits? Yet a PwC study reveals some 50% of consumers surveyed would be prepared to provide their insurer with additional personal and lifestyle information in order to get more relevant services and better deals. 67% said they would be willing to have a sensor attached to their car or home if it could reduce their premiums
Whatever innovation is happening at the customer frontline, it all boils down to one question for IT leaders in the service sector: “How can we help our organisations win in the digital economy—and do so with less IT complexity, less cost and absolutely minimal risk?” In other words, how can IT leaders invert IT spend and ‘have it all’?
Experience tells us that the answer is data storage – how you architect and scale your storage, how you flex that storage to work at lightning speeds in both physical and virtual environments, and how you cost storage to deliver more business value, for less of your precious budget. This is because data is the currency of the digital economy. If it’s not serving the applications and systems that are driving your digital business, you’ll lose out in the race to customer intimacy and therefore profitability.
Drive Storage Performance to Keep the Lid Down on Costs
In no other business era has time been so critical an influence on success. In years past customers were happy to spend a few hours in the face-to-face company of their bank manager or insurance broker. Today, telephone banking isn’t quick enough, and online comparison sites aren’t tailored enough to deliver the rapid, highly personalised answers customers are seeking.
Speed is of the essence. The speed at which your front-end works is utterly reliant on your storage performance. But you can’t keep adding storage capacity to individual databases, or application workloads—that’s just adding cost. And even if that’s not a problem now, what about the time it will take to manage a sprawling storage estate?
The answer is All-Flash Storage. Depending on the vendor you choose to partner with, all flash solutions are 10x faster on both IOPs and latency. They’re also 10x more efficient in terms of power, space and cooling. With the right all flash storage solution in place, you can improve customer experience, increase operational efficiency and transform existing business processes without breaking the bank (pun intended)!
Build in Rock Solid Performance from the Ground Up
In today’s always-on economy where business never stops and the speed of transactions and interactions are accelerating exponentially, the technology that stores your data must be absolutely rock-solid. The way your storage works in the background, the way software updates, the way upgrades are implemented—all of it must be executed rapidly, but more importantly, without impacting your production environments.
At the same time, given the rising number of data theft and ransomware attacks, it is imperative that the storage solution you deploy includes inline, always-on encryption for data at rest. With this, in addition to delivering the ultra-robust, high availability that is the lifeblood of your organisation and powering customer demand for digital services, your data will also be incredibly secure, in line with local and industry regulations.
Focus on Value to Bring Down Costs
By centralising your storage around one type of Flash technology, not only will you simplify data centre IT and add incredible flexibility to deal with both physical and virtual environments, you will also make some incredibly important savings.
By partnering with vendors that offer perpetual upgrade programmes that are designed to guarantee your effective capacity with flash media that can consolidate and modernise as your organisation grows, you can avoid vendor dictated upgrade cycles, downtime and cumbersome data migrations. With these ‘Evergreen’ programs, there is continually refreshed software and an extended value lifecycle—with no requirement to re-purchase TBs you already own, and exceptional performance and value for more than 10 years. Things are just as straightforward when it comes to maintenance. You just pay one, simple flat renewal to update performance, scale and add features.
Make Storage the Front Seat Driver of Innovation
Like most organizations in the region, there is a good chance that you are working through your own personal journey to the cloud which is why it is imperative to partner with a vendor that offers you a two-product route to building your own All-Flash cloud platform.
Freeing you to develop such a scalable, simple, high performance storage environment can help you underpin your front-office innovations in customer experience, productivity tools and business processes, with a storage system capable of driving transformation. As we have already seen, with new profit-thirsty competitors entering all areas of the services sector, it’s absolutely crucial that IT leaders have sensible, practical and cost-effective answers to the question of how to ride the innovation curve by using data more effectively than anyone else.
Quite simply, the time has now come to consider storage to be one of your most strategically powerful assets. With All-Flash you have the means to create a high performance, highly resilient, highly affordable foundation on which to succeed in the digital economy. With the right All Flash solution, you can drive more business value – achieving considerable ROI in just a few short weeks – while inverting IT spend.
 Insurance 2020: The digital prize – Taking customer connection to a new level, PwC, 2014