March 7, 2017

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Architecting for tomorrows CIOs

The lines between physical and virtual worlds are increasingly getting blurred as a result of digital disruption. While customers grapple with loyalty choices, business teams are striving to harness enough innovation and creativity to remain relevant in today’s digital market. Consequently, they want IT teams to bolster the business with competitive differentiation – data, insights, experience and other significant aspects, with a variety of use cases.

In the current disruptive scenario, rigid architectures and legacy processes pose major constraints and challenges for IT teams.  Adding more computing power, infrastructure siloes, tools or software can offer short term respite, but prove ineffective in the long run. The need of the hour is to re-architect infrastructure into  a more agile and adaptive model – capable of withstanding the waves of digital and IoT ;that strikes IT teams and their organizations, even before they can anticipate and prepare.

The need of the hour is to re-architect #infrastructure into a more agile and adaptive model

The world of technology is constantly evolving with advancements in IoT, Big Data, AI and machine learning. Every hour, a solution is born to address some customer pain point that may arise in the future. CIOs must balance today’s needs with tomorrow’s expectations, ensuring that the infrastructure is agile and turning it into an environment that can prevent digital crisis in the long run. Those who are able to manage this transformation consistently, rapidly progress in their journey – becoming digital CIOs (or CDOs) who can go beyond mere support, and actually contribute to their business.

CIO’s can take the following steps to make infrastructure more agile and adaptable to the digital flux:

  • Understand workload scenarios and their placement in the diversified and hybrid IT world. This might require multiple assessments, creating scenarios or even looking at competition and learning from their implementation and mistakes. Workloads of tomorrow might not behave as the ones in the past – hence, they must be differentiated without creating siloes.
  • Balance your legacy and modernized infrastructure. What is new today, will become legacy tomorrow. CIOs must have a roadmap that can turn this into a competitive advantage (by having a flexible and more open, yet tightly interlinked, infrastructure). Legacy has to go hand in hand with modernization – that’s how it evolves.
  • Leverage existing promises – SLAs are of no use if business can’t find value in them. Apart from IT metrics, business value, outcome based SLAs and end-customers should take the centerstage while designing the building blocks of a business.
  • Get rid of rigid and inflexible blocks in a phased manner. IT building blocks should be standardized to make them more modular, scalable and agile. Take care that the past approach is not adopted for the new ones which will make them inflexible tomorrow, and prevent error replication for future scenarios.
  • Envisage new age problems and the solutions. For instance, multi-cloud expense management is as real as it gets. Customers using multiple cloud providers may suddenly find themselves in a web of expenses that outrun the very purpose of embracing the cloud. How would they optimize such costs and determine the exact number of cloud providers? Calculating expenses prior to approaching the cloud providers may solve the issue.
  • Have an ecosystem based approach that takes into account people, processes and technology with customer experience at its center – CX is the basis of change or strategy formulation, and not the other way round.
  • Go beyond IT when harnessing digitization. New age technologies (like SDI, HCI etc.) can surely provide differentiation but should be implemented to solve real world business problems rather than IT problems alone.
  • Ensure that the datacenter is agile and adaptive. The future of datacenter is not hordes of equipment surrounded by four walls – it is defined by edge based architecture, micro datacenters, and a combination of today’s and tomorrow’s options.
  • Start developing skills for tomorrow; if not, at-least start keeping an eye on partners who can provide you such skills. These are not necessarily SDI based skills alone, but ones that can convert SDI implementations into business advantage.
  • Go beyond the issues of downtime and latency – create a suitable digital ecosystem rather than a repository of performing equipment within physical datacenters.
  • Look at a layered security approach. Harness context aware and behavioral technologies for a holistic framework based on scenarios and real world threats, as opposed to hypothetical datasheets.
  • Lastly, embrace legacy overhaul. This might also require doing away with age-old frameworks and standards (ITIL, ISO xxxx etc.) to develop and deploy new ones that better equip the organization for digital challenges.

Eventually, digital and IoT will become the norm. Whether CIOs (or organizations) can turn this into an opportunity or an excuse to perish, will depend on how agile and aligned their infrastructure is with market currents, business outcomes, and, most importantly, customer expectations.

Eventually, #digital and #IoT will become the norm

(Reference to IDC and Gartner data is from public domain and for representational purpose only)