Digital transformation is about a lot more than your front-end digital customer experience. It requires a modern, mission-critical infrastructure on the back-end as well. If \u201crogue IT\u201d is what happens when business doesn\u2019t speak to IT, then \u201crogue digital\u201d may soon be what happens if the Chief Digital Officer (CDO) doesn\u2019t speak to the CIO or vice versa.\n\n\nWhat\u2019s needed is a focus on a number of aspects that span the roles of the CDO and CIO: a focus on the customer experience across all new digital channels, processes and devices; a focus on mission critical \u201cinteractions\u201d as well as \u201ctransactions\u201d; a focus on new forms of mission critical infrastructure such as fabrics and software-defined principles to cost-effectively deliver increased service levels; and a focus on new approaches to provide mission critical security against today\u2019s emerging threats.\n\n\nSo what\u2019s up with digital?\n\n\nToday, the concept of \u201cdigital transformation\u201d is being applied by CEOs worldwide to re-think and re-design their traditional, existing business models and processes in the context of today\u2019s disruptive technologies, the consumerization of IT, ubiquitous low-cost computing, and our globally connected society.\n\n\nThese disruptive technologies, including social, mobile, big data analytics and cloud, are being applied not only for IT transformation, but for widespread business transformation as well. In fact, according to a PwC US CEO Survey, \u201cWhen business leaders considered the megatrends rocking our world, 86% cited technological advances as the global trend that will most transform business\u201d.\n\n\nThis notion of \u201cdigitization\u201d is now affecting all aspects of business operations from innovation within and around actual products and services, to customer engagement, to business models and processes \u2013 and no industry is exempt. From my perspective, it represents a continuation from the e-business era in the late 90s, but with powerful new technologies and intelligent insights that can enable businesses to extend these digital advantages much farther and more pervasively across their channels and operations than ever before.\n\n\nHere\u2019s a few examples of the financial potential of digital transformation. In terms of economic value, Booz & Company found that an increase of 10 percent in a country\u2019s digitization score fuels a 0.75 percent growth in its GDP per capita. McKinsey found that digital transformation can boost the bottom line by more than 50 percent over the next five years for companies that pull all value levers.\n\n\nConnecting digital to modern mission critical\n\n\nTo embark on a digital transformation journey strategically, as opposed to a window dressing approach or an ad-hoc, piecemeal approach, I believe it\u2019s important to think about the highly-virtualized, highly-distributed, data center of the future and the key capabilities that will need to be in place from an enterprise IT perspective.\n\n\nAfter all, although a rising percentage of data center workloads are migrating to the cloud, the fact is that we\u2019ll be living in a hybrid IT environment for many years to come and it will be comprised of a mix of traditional data center, outsourced, public and private cloud deployment environments supported by a multitude of providers.\n\n\nFor pioneering CIOs, the challenge is therefore to support the CDO\u2019s digital transformation objectives in a highly agile, flexible, manageable, and secure manner by putting in place an innovative IT infrastructure that can serve as a foundational platform. This platform will need to blend the \u201cold\u201d with the \u201cnew\u201d. It will need to retain the mission critical capabilities of the traditional data center, yet expand this to support modern, digitally-transformed business processes and their associated users, applications and devices.\n\n\nEmerging requirements for modern mission critical infrastructure\n\n\nAs the IT industry moves into the next wave of corporate IT, built upon a foundation of social, mobile, analytics and cloud technologies, new paradigms are being set for the digitization of business models and processes, the future of work, and the way in which we deal with information inflection point brought about by big data. IT organizations need to embrace these new paradigms by making the data center of the future become the workhorse that hosts, manages, and delivers this compelling new digital experience for end user computing.\n\n\nThe emerging requirements for modern mission critical systems are that they can no longer be siloed, proprietary technology restricted to a few core applications \u2013 they have to be part of an agile and flexible, mission critical fabric, running on low-cost, industry standard platforms, which supports today\u2019s highly consumerized applications and tomorrow\u2019s Internet of Things (IoT).\n\n\nThis is the premise of the modern mission critical data center: being able to support and democratize mission critical computing so that it is available at lowered cost, with increased scalability, predictability and performance, all with greater security.\n\n\nSome of the essential requirements for today\u2019s mission critical systems are as follows:\n\n\n\u00b7\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0 Seamless and compelling customer experience across all new digital processes, channels and devices \u2013 With reputation increasingly being defined by the customer\u2019s experience through an organization\u2019s digital channels, the quality of the digital customer experience is now mission-critical.\n\n\n\u00b7\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0 Mission critical coverage for customer \u201cinteractions\u201d as well as \u201ctransactions\u201d \u2013 In today\u2019s environment, where IT-enabled processes and informational insights are a key differentiator of business value, customer interactions, both before and after the transaction, are now as important as the actual transaction itself.\n\n\n\u00b7\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0 Mission critical infrastructure to cost-effectively deliver increased mission critical service levels - With the expanding scope of mission-critical applications, and rising expectations for mission-critical service levels, organizations need to find approaches that allow them to meet these new requirements in a cost-effective manner to do \u201cmore with less\u201d using low-cost, industry standard platforms, without having to increase data center footprint or labor requirements.\n\n\n\u00b7\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0 Mission critical security against today\u2019s emerging threats - A totally new approach to cybersecurity is required that will ultimately enable the transformative benefits and usage of new disruptive technologies without increasing the risk of sensitive data loss and jeopardizing mission-critical operations.\n\n\nToday\u2019s mission critical infrastructure and operations need to serve as a foundation for future needs and to be aware of the new and constantly evolving scope of mission critical computing. It requires re-thinking process scope, application scope, service levels and business continuity plans, and risk management strategies \u2013 all in the context of today\u2019s IT operations and data centers running low-cost, industry standard platforms to \u201cachieve more for less\u201d.\n\n\nSo doing will help digital transformation initiatives avoid \u201crogue digital\u201d and achieve the best of both worlds where \u201cmodern\u201d meets \u201cmission critical\u201d and the CDO and CIO work in close collaboration to harness the full potential of their respective organizations.