The Digital Business Imperative:

Driving Change in an Era of Transformation

Today, every company is a technology-based company. Cloud computing, networks and agile approaches to organizational structure, problem solving and customer relationships are driving results in every industry.
 
It is no longer business as usual. Digital transformation is a game changer in every industry. If you can imagine a business model, a new service or a way to delight customers, the tools are available to bring that dream into reality. That process creates a digital transformation in your business.
 
This eBook showcases the results several businesses and industries are seeing from the digital transformations CenturyLink has helped them implement.

CHAPTER 1

What are Digital Transformations?

Digital Transformation is a hot topic in the business world. A study by 451Research reveals how organizations are using digital transformation to achieve their business imperatives.

The analyst firm 451 Research defines Digital Transformation as “the result of IT innovation that is aligned with and driven by a well-planned business strategy, with the goal of transforming how organizations serve customers, employees and partners; support continuous improvement in business operations; disrupt existing businesses and markets; and invent new businesses and business models.”

Digital Transformations are technology-powered changes in your business that make key aspects of doing business easier and more rewarding for everyone involved: employees, managers, suppliers and most importantly – customers. Humans are hard-wired to resist change. But, when you give people a better experience, digital transformation becomes a catalyst for constant business improvement for everyone involved.

Enterprises large and small are built on key processes that drive results. No two organizations are exactly alike, however. For some, the sheer speed of execution might create competitive advantage. For others, never missing a customer phone call might be imperative. Elsewhere, lowering the total cost of doing business might drive the desired results.

Benefits of digital transformation and the cloud are:

  • Faster revenue growth
  • Greater and more lasting cost reductions
  • More effective management of risks and reputational threats
TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE

Less than 25% of organizations have a well-defined digital transformation strategy

*451 Research (451 Research VoCUL, April 2016)

Digital Transformation Status

We currently have no digital transformation strategy
We are considering digital transformation, but have no formal plans
We are in the planning stage – researching to form our digital transformation strategy
We have a formal strategy and are actively digitizing our business processes and technologies
Don't know
No answer
CHAPTER 2

Protecting Your Brand

The instant, viral nature of social media can make or break a brand. Digital transformation enables companies to stay on top of what’s trending and be proactive in the fast-paced world of social networking.

In an interconnected world, brands take on real-time qualities. What are customers saying about you? Today, good things and bad things can start on social media and go viral in moments. Partners can help you track what’s happening. But, those partners need good partners to maintain their own responsiveness and reliability.

Companies have emerged to help brands monitor social media. These companies have to keep up with the scale of social networks and the never-ending torrent of postings and information that large global brands must contend with. Even with a small army of social media watchers they cannot monitor everything.

CASE STUDY
Overview
One such company found itself growing quickly as global brands discovered their real-time social network intelligence platform. The platform enabled the company to amplify the capabilities of people to monitor social media, assess the impacts of marketing campaigns and respond to negative postings before they went viral.
The Challenge
The Challenge
The brand promise of the platform – real-time, comprehensive information – came with some business challenges. To be real time, the infrastructure supporting the platform needed incredible reliability. Any outage – even one measured in minutes – had a detrimental effect on the quality of information delivered to customers. The infrastructure also needed to scale with tremendous agility and transparency. A single new brand client could require a major expansion in IT capacity overnight to maintain the real time, comprehensive nature of the service for all.
Overview
Our Solution
Our Solution
CenturyLink partnered with this emerging marketing champion of the digital era. The pair began with a colocation arrangement and quickly expanded into CenturyLink Cloud® so that capacity could scale quickly and transparently as the service grew. The partners realized that certain key events – such as high-profile sports competitions – drove spikes as global brands marketed around those events. To handle these spikes in demand, a redundant environment was established in a separate data center.
The Challenge
Results
Results
This digital transformation has not only benefited the social network intelligence service, but has helped other global brands appreciate the digital nature of their businesses. Protecting brands is just one benefit of digital transformations.
Our Solution
TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE

85% of enterprise decision makers feel they have to execute a digital transformation strategy by 2018.

* Are Businesses Really Digitally Transforming or Living in Digital Denial, Progress, 2016

CHAPTER 3

Unifying operations, driving better customer experience

Digital transformation is the unifying backbone of today’s highly distributed businesses. Lots of moving parts must operate as one smooth organization.

Today’s businesses have lots of moving parts. Whether it’s DevOps, customer service, e-commerce engines or telephones, the need for everything to stay coordinated is imperative. Many enterprises are highly distributed with multiple branches like national retailers. Seamless integration of multiple facilities is key to success for many businesses.

CASE STUDY
Overview
Consider a professional sports team. They operate during the week at a practice facility and on the weekend at a high-profile stadium or arena. Fans expect an amazing experience at that stadium using their phones on the WiFi network. All of this activity at two different places requires bandwidth and a way to link the facilities so they operate as one.
The Challenge
The Challenge
CenturyLink works with sports and entertainment customers of all kinds. One professional team had operated a patchwork of networks within the stadium and between facilities. The fragmented approach resulted in bottlenecks that foreshadowed problems as more and more of the fan experience depended on the network.
Overview
Our Solution
Our Solution
CenturyLink installed a backbone fiber network that linked the two main facilities. The new network backbone eliminated bottlenecks between facilities, driving more efficient file transfers so that the two facilities could operate more as a single operation.
The Challenge
Results
Results
CenturyLink Ethernet also powered the stadium’s live feeds. The team was able to measure increased fan engagement through usage of different apps within the stadium. The power of Digital Transformations creates benefits for everyone.
Our Solution

What’s slowing digital progress?

  • Insufficient budget and resources
  • Inadequate skills and expertise
  • Lack of senior support
  • The right technologies
  • Data privacy and security concerns
     

*Vanson Bourne Digital Business Research Survey, 1/16-3/16.

CHAPTER 4

Managing business cycles smoothly

Businesses today are all about flexibility. Cloud management technology allows businesses to react quickly to cyclical changes in the marketplace.

Many businesses are cyclical, experiencing periods of heavy demand and light demand. Retailers experience this throughout the year, peaking during the Christmas season. Some businesses peak around other holidays or keyed to other high-profile events like the Super Bowl.

This seasonality introduces issues of balancing IT resources. In the past, IT shops experienced either feast or famine. They either overbuilt, paying for resources they didn’t need most of the year, or underbuilt – experiencing bad service when they needed it the most. IT infrastructure needs to be flexible enough to accommodate both periods. Managed cloud services offer that kind of flexibility.

CASE STUDY
Overview
Fund raising goes through the same type of cycles. CenturyLink works with an international charity that experiences demand spikes around key events.
The Challenge
The Challenge
Non-profits are quite cost conscious so the problem of balancing IT investment without diverting more money than absolutely necessary from the mission looms large.
Overview
Our Solution
Our Solution
CenturyLink helped the non-profit move its core operations to a dedicated cloud environment. The cloud smoothly scales the need for compute, storage and network capacity so the charity only pays for what it needs at any given point in time. 
The Challenge
Results
Results
This partnership worked so well, the non-profit and CenturyLink created a colocation arrangement for some of its own data center gear to reduce the cost of supporting the charity’s many units around the world. Digital Transformations help people create a better future for all.
Our Solution

Digital business transformation is expected to replace cost reduction as the top business process management driver.

*Business Process Management Playbook, Forrester, 2016

CHAPTER 5

Flexibility, security, compliance, speed

Time is money, especially in the financial services industry. Digital transformations provide secure, flexible solutions that allow you to respond quickly in a volatile financial market.

The financial services industry is a large consumer of technology. They tend to start trends rather than join them, and digital transformation has already swept through this industry. If you want to compete among the best in finance, you need superlative technology. That technology has to be swift, highly secure and automate the compliance requirements financial services must meet.

Digital transformations in financial services can take many forms. For smaller, more focused advisors, technology needs to personalize the services you provide to your discriminating clients. For larger firms, technology needs to enable you to capitalize on the extraordinary amounts of data at your disposal.

CenturyLink works with the whole industry. One large banking customer was actually spun out of an even larger conglomerate. Effectively, it faced independence with no IT infrastructure of its own and it needed a complete business model fast.

CenturyLink worked to deliver new infrastructure that allowed the bank to achieve:

Speed of Execution →

SPEED OF EXECUTION
CenturyLink worked to get the bank up and running within a few months from signing the contract. CenturyLink worked with the customer to create flexibility in billing and initial projects to manage the transition to independence. The first projects were operational in weeks.

Compliance and Security Expertise →

COMPLIANCE AND SECURITY EXPERTISE
The new bank needed the vendor to bring security and regulatory experience to the relationship. Security is a fast-moving arena and the regulatory environment required that the new infrastructure be secure from day one. Banks are constantly audited by one body or another in today’s world. The bank could not evolve its own security expertise over time or wait for a vendor to learn the regulations and best practices for banking on the fly.

Dedicated Personnel →

DEDICATED PERSONNEL
CenturyLink provided dedicated managers for key areas of the solution such as security and compliance. While related, they are treated separately in staffing because both manage their own complexities. Banks are constantly under attack or probes as hackers, organized crime and even nation-states look for weaknesses. The compliance manager aids in reporting, helping the bank mine the proper data from the IT systems.

The Ability to Look Forward →

THE ABILITY TO LOOK FORWARD
Perhaps the biggest benefit this bank enjoys is the ability to develop new projects and initiatives that differentiate the bank and its services, rather than manage infrastructure. This bank was essentially born in the cloud. IT personnel do not spend their time managing infrastructure. They work on customer service and competitive advantage.

Do you recognize yourself in any of these use cases? If so, contact CenturyLink to discuss your Digital Transformation needs.

451 Research Report

Digital Transformation is no longer an option.

View the report →

Accelerate Your Digital Transformation

What is standing in your way of an optimized IT strategy?

Sign up for a complimentary Executive Strategy Session →

Digital Transformation Video

See how CenturyLink Business can help you accelerate and simplify your digital transformation.

View the video →