4 Ways to Convince Your Leadership to Invest in Digital Transformation

Business leaders don’t always see the value of long-term investments; learn how you can help inform them

Amet Novillo
4 Ways to Convince Your Leadership to Invest in Digital Transformation

We’ve reached the season when many organizations are planning for the investments they’re going to make for next year and beyond. IT leaders have a responsibility to make sure their businesses are ready for whatever the future might hold, but this can be difficult to do when they don’t get final say over investment decisions.

A future-proof business needs access to highly flexible digital infrastructure, deployed on demand wherever its customers reside. Unfortunately, high-level business leaders are often conditioned to think of major investments solely through the lens of short-term costs. If things seem to be going well enough with their existing IT infrastructure, they may not be able to justify the cost of modernizing it, no matter how much value that transformation might drive over the long term.

However, most IT leaders clearly understand the drawbacks of this shortsighted mentality. In the Equinix 2023 Global Tech Trends Survey (GTTS), IT leaders from across the globe answered questions about their technology concerns and strategic priorities. About 80% of respondents said that they see future-proofing the business as a top priority for their technology strategy. About 78% said the same about accelerating the pace of innovation.

If you’re currently trying to convince C-suite executives, board members or other business leaders that investing in digital transformation is important and valuable, this blog post will provide some tips and insights to help make your job easier.

What is digital infrastructure?

Before you can sell your leaders on the idea of investing in digital infrastructure, you must be able to explain exactly what it is. Digital infrastructure is simply the compute, networking and storage tools you need to take advantage of the latest digital applications and services. Unlike legacy infrastructure such as centralized data centers, modernized digital infrastructure is highly distributed and interconnected, helping businesses get close to more end users in more places throughout the world, at the digital edge.

Making the most of digital infrastructure also means never working alone. Digital leaders understand the importance of connecting with vast ecosystems of service providers and partners. Agile, flexible network infrastructure allows you to do that wherever the need arises. Being able to connect with service providers helps you scale your infrastructure and access best-of-breed digital services on demand. This includes working with multiple cloud providers to get the hybrid multicloud architecture that best meets the unique needs of your business. In addition, exchanging data with your enterprise partners can increase visibility and help unlock co-innovation opportunities.

When trying to communicate the value of investing in transformative digital infrastructure, here are four points to focus on:

  1. Future-proofing your operations
  2. Using cloud services to their full potential
  3. Maximizing flexibility by shifting from CAPEX to OPEX
  4. Driving total return on investment

Future-proofing your operations

Business leaders in your organization may feel that your existing infrastructure can already meet all of your current strategic priorities. However, if you wait to start planning for the future, it may already be too late.

We’re already starting to see the transformative power of new technologies like generative AI and quantum computing. These technologies are fundamentally different from anything before them, so it goes without saying that they have performance requirements that conventional data centers just can’t meet. If you want to make the most of emerging technologies, the time to prepare is now.

For instance, success with AI requires support for distributed workloads. This would include highly interconnected compute infrastructure at the digital edge to ensure low-latency access to data sources. Traditional, centralized data centers require data to travel many miles to reach its processing location. By the time it gets there, the insights hiding in that data may already be outdated.

Using cloud services to their full potential

We all know that cloud services have transformed how enterprise IT works. However, to make the most of what the cloud has to offer—flexibility, scalability and access to the latest services—you need to build the right digital infrastructure to make the cloud work for you.

This means being able to use the clouds you want to use, when you want to use them, across different workloads. It also means having the choice to run certain workloads on-premises when it makes sense to do so. In short, it means you need a hybrid multicloud architecture—and the storage and networking infrastructure to help it function properly.

When you store data directly in the cloud, moving that data out of the cloud could drive high data egress fees, which in turn can lead to vendor lock-in. When it comes to your cloud workloads, you should be able to make the right decision for your business at any given time. For instance, if a cloud provider starts offering a new and better service, you should be able to start using that service immediately, without having to count the cost of moving your data away from your existing cloud provider.

A multicloud-adjacent infrastructure, which allows you to store your data near multiple clouds without putting it directly into any single cloud, can help ensure the flexibility you need. With the right networking solutions, you can move data copies into the cloud to quickly access the services you need, while still maintaining custody over your core data sets.

Maximizing flexibility by shifting from CAPEX to OPEX

The initial cost of adopting digital infrastructure isn’t the only one business leaders should consider. By accessing Infrastructure as a Service, you can get the compute, networking and storage capabilities your business needs on a subscription basis. When you buy traditional physical hardware for your business, you’re going to pay high up-front CAPEX. In turn, this means you’ll typically be stuck using that same hardware long after it stops meeting the needs of the business, just to get your money’s worth.

By shifting your digital infrastructure spending to an OPEX model, you can feel comfortable knowing that the money you’re spending is aligned to the current needs of your organization. As your needs change over time, you can simply start buying different services, without having to worry about any previous investments you may still have tied up in your existing infrastructure. Deploying IT infrastructure is going to cost your business money regardless; moving to an OPEX model is about making sure you’re spending for the right reasons.

Driving return on investment

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, any business leader that wants to truly understand the return on investment they can get from digital infrastructure can refer to analyst research such as that published by Forrester Consulting in The Total Economic Impact™ of Equinix Digital Services, a commissioned study conducted on behalf of Equinix.[1] The study examines how Equinix digital infrastructure services can help companies go to market quicker, place their data in the right locations, decrease downtime and lower costs.

Equinix digital infrastructure services include:

  • Equinix Fabric® for software-defined interconnection, which allows enterprises to create virtual connections with their partner ecosystem and between their own infrastructure
  • Equinix Network Edge, which provides virtual network functions (VNFs) from top vendors on demand
  • Equinix Metal®, which offers dedicated single-tenant compute and storage capacity wherever customers need it most

These services can help address many of the issues discussed in this blog post. For instance:

  • Equinix Fabric provides on-demand virtual connectivity, including new connections to cloud providers as fast as 50 Gbps. These faster connections can support emerging high-bandwidth use cases such AI and machine learning.
  • Equinix Metal can provide the on-demand storage capacity needed to enable a multicloud-adjacent architecture. Equinix Fabric and Equinix Network Edge can provide the connectivity needed to move data from on-premises environments to multiple clouds and edge locations.
  • All Equinix digital services are available via an OPEX spending model. You can get the infrastructure you need, when you need it, without having to pay high up-front costs for physical hardware. When your business needs change, you can change your infrastructure accordingly using our self-service web portals.

The Forrester study found that a composite organization using Equinix digital services drove significant benefits by decreasing internal infrastructure management costs, reducing the cost of connections and increasing operational productivity. By subtracting costs from quantified benefits, the study found that the composite organization achieved a net present value of $15.59 million over a three-year period and an ROI of 142%.

To learn more about Equinix digital services and the value they provide, read the Forrester Total Economic Impact study.


[1] Forrester Consulting, The Total Economic Impact™ of Equinix Digital Services. A Forrester Total Economic Impact™ Study Commissioned by Equinix. September 2022.

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Amet Novillo Managing Director, Equinix Mexico
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