Every year we\u2019re given the opportunity to hit reset and redefine our vision of optimal performance. From both a personal and professional perspective, it is refreshing to have this recurring reset. A new vision of our perfect self or world class business. For me, the year starts with a goal to drop 5 kg to get to an improved running weight, to reduce my daily intake to one large beer per day (I am usually very thirsty) and to complete the launch of a new business venture with a focus on \u201cdoing well by doing good.\u201d But, enough about my bottom line. This article is intended to focus on your bottom line.\nAs you reset your digital transformation and business performance objectives for 2018, I would recommend that you first add a grain of salt. I tend to agree with Bernard Golden. Most people miss the point when it comes to cloud economics and digital transformation. Yes, I realize that the article is dated, but the advice is quite valuable as we hit reset for the year ahead. I usually prefer to focus on higher level business strategy and business model innovation when discussing the real value of digital transformation. However, to adhere to the advice, we will take a fresh look at our I.T. investments and capabilities. Rather than focusing on business model innovation, we start with a fresh look at our digital foundation.\nAs a leader of a small-to-medium size enterprise, open the door to your data center and pause. If your computing empire is much larger, then schedule a WebEx or Skype session to simply \u2018take a look around\u2019 your estate. Count the people and systems. How many different \u201cspecialties\u201d are required, in the form of people and systems, to run your business? Take a mental inventory of the layers of software that is humming underneath this exterior. Any room for improvement? So, we start with an inventory of on-prem and cloud-based digital assets.\u00a0\nStart with software security and reliability\nTo analyze our foundation, I prefer to start at the software layer since software more effectively represents critical business processes and functions. While many enterprise software providers talk about software asset management, current tools and techniques allow us to have a much more impactful discussion that integrates software security, resiliency and optimization.\u00a0\nWith their acquisition of Secunia two years ago, my preferred software management toolset (for software buyers) comes from Flexera. This toolset allows me to build my digital foundation with the cornerstone of software security already set. Using Flexera, I can review my complete inventory of software assets and compare against a comprehensive catalog of software versions and patches. The toolset then provides a checklist of software versions and upgrades required to secure the enterprise. Before I virtualize, before I upgrade systems, before I do anything; I start with an updated software portfolio that ensures security and reliability.\nDrive bottom line impact with software license optimization\nWith our software portfolio secured, we quickly proceed to optimize our software investments. Turning to the expertise of IDC and their recommendations for improved Software License Optimization, we start the new year with a goal of establishing a Level 4 \u2013 5 software asset management capability. As noted in previous articles, the bottom line benefits that accrue from SAM should be considered table stakes in our digital transformation. However, effective software spend, license compliance and software usage reporting can all have significant impact on our bottom line performance.\u00a0 Of course, this is not a \u201cone time\u201d thing, so to ensure ongoing optimization of our software portfolio, we establish an SLO rhythm with a review every 6 to 12 months.\n\n\u2018In fact, organizations can achieve upwards of 5\u201330 percent savings in annual software spend by implementing a robust software asset management and software license optimization program\u2019\nGartner Research for Flexera, \u2018Software License Optimization Drives the Highest ROI\u2019\n\nWith a secure and optimized software portfolio, we turn our attention to the vast inventory of hardware that we collected in our data centers and the newer portfolio of cloud assets.\nFrom hyperconvergence to hybrid cloud\nWhile we continue to focus on a longer term digital transformation strategy supported by a hybrid cloud architecture, we start with a more pragmatic step in the direction of hyperconvergence. Hyperconvergence is the software packaging of compute, storage and virtualization in an integrated system.\u00a0Our decision to leverage hyperconverged infrastructure gives us the opportunity to realize a number of bottom-line benefits, including the immediate \u201csoft\u201d benefits of simplified systems management and improved scalability. To maximize the bottom-line impact of our hyperconverged decision, we need to clearly understand and work toward optimal use of IT resources with a new mix of roles and responsibilities. Of course, this benefit will require leadership and change management to fully capture the benefits since the ratio of (systems management activities: IT supported projects) will typically invert with our IT team becoming more available and proactive in driving business projects. An additional benefit that can be captured in our move to hyperconvergence is the reuse of existing systems to run software-only converged environments.\u00a0\nMy personal choice to enable a hyperconverged data center is Nutanix. Nutanix has been noted as a leader in Gartner\u2019s Integrated Systems magic quadrant and they have recently embarked on a software-only strategy with strategic partnerships including Cisco, Dell and Lenovo. Great news for existing customers who have purchased from these vendors as you can now expand on your hyperconverged data center with Converged (existing) systems running the same Nutanix Cloud operating system.\u00a0 Through my own experience with Nutanix and hyperconvergence, there are clear bottom line benefits to be captured that match up with those reported by industry analysts. All successful Digital Transformation initiatives begin with the basic premise that we will get \u201cmore IT at less cost.\u201d To achieve this objective in our private cloud environment, hyperconvergence is an important step.\u00a0\n\nIDC calculated that, on average, organizations will reduce and avoid IT infrastructure related costs by 30.6 percent compared with their previous environments or other potential infrastructure solutions.\nIDC Whitepaper: \u201cQuantifying the Business Value of Nutanix Solutions\u201d\n\nQuick recap\nSo, with our first trip to the plate we\u2019ve already taken three good swings at driving bottom-line impact via our digital transformation strategy.\u00a0\n\nStart with software security and reliability\nInstall a repeatable Software License Optimization rhythm\nLeverage hyperconverged infrastructure as a catalyst to data center transformation\n\nWhile we\u2019ve not yet \u201cswung for the clouds,\u201d we\u2019ve driven a decrease in spend while freeing up IT capacity and increasing corporate agility. With our next at bat (and with my next article) we have our eye clearly set on the cloud and will detail the remaining components to get there with a continued bottom-line focus.