In 2016, US retail giant Macy’s announced plans to close 100 stores. The first 63 locations were identified early in 2017, prompting a lot of commentary about the job losses in this latest “failure” of retail. 

A different interpretation is that Macy’s management has understood that the future is digital-first, and made a bold decisive action to adapt to global changes and ensure Macy’s brand leadership continues.

Game On: The Industry that changed the world

Disruptive change

The global economy is experiencing profound, disruptive change. Some call it the fourth Industrial Age, or the fourth Industrial Revolution. Others call it digital transformation. 

No economic sector will escape the impact of becoming “digital-first.” Those who become digital first fast will have a competitive advantage, and those who wait will struggle to catch up.

We tend to know digital transformation by the various end-user faces it puts on: the IoT; AI, machine learning, robotics, drones and autonomous vehicles; 3D design/print; AR/VR; gaming etc.

These are the hot topics at the front-end of a fundamental economic change. At the back-end, infrastructure will have to go through an equally profound change. 

The impact on the infrastructure ecosystem, mud-to-cloud, physical and virtual, is what we’re calling digital infrastructure transformation. We may be in the midst of it, but most organizations have only just begun to see it as a whole. 

Leaders and losers

Some organizations are leading the change, while others lag behind. The most natural group to welcome it are the Internet and cloud hyperscalers, and the third party lease and multi-tenant colocation providers who service them. 

No economic sector will escape the impact of becoming “digital-first.” Those who wait will struggle to catch up.

DCD began this journey with its Zettastructure conference in late Fall ‘16. The Enterprise conference in New York in March this year advances the conversation. But it’s the Webscale conference for Internet and cloud hyperscalers in San Francisco, right in the belly of the digital transformation beast - Silicon Valley - that is the natural setting for this timely, critical infrastructure discussion.

In this era, customer outcomes and experiences are more central than products and product performance. You don’t buy a Tesla, you buy a green lifestyle outcome and an exemplary driving experience. 

We think IT, data center and cloud services will be required to provide DevOps-style flexibility and agility, baked into the entire infrastructure to meet the requirements of apps and workloads.

A version of this article appeared in the latest DCD magazine