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Naveen Devnani

Bridging the Gap with Tech-enabled Business – The Technology Debt Conundrum
Naveen Devnani Product Manager | April 20, 2017

Technology debt is a familiar term for CIOs around the world – referring to a company’s failure to leverage newer technologies and losing out on potential improvements in business processes and operations. Further, the consequent risks can pose a grave threat to an organization, resulting in a loss of millions of dollars and more importantly, the carefully harvested business advantage.

For enterprises to remain market-aligned, operationally accurate, and cost/resource effective, IT operations and management techniques need to evolve in-line with the dynamic landscape of tech innovation.

Enterprises must, therefore, constantly be at the helm of all things digital and invest in advanced, future-ready systems – infrastructure, I/O standards, IT operations, and management tools that can significantly impact IT operations by lowering technology debt.

Here is a close look at a few contemporary debt sources, and the resulting cost to infrastructure/operations that has been widely acknowledged by I/O leaders worldwide:

Source of Debt

Cost to IT I&O

How IT Teams can Avoid This

Failing to adopt mature machine learning (ML) and AI based automation tools – due to the absence of an architectural blueprint

Soaring expense with respect to IT operations support, as well as reduced service quality – as adequate resources may not be spread across diverse and heterogeneous environments.

The promise of automation is more than cost savings when applied via AI and ML.

It can simplify operational complexity and enable business outcomes through orchestration.

Neglecting the need for advanced analytics

The interest surcharge, in this case would be a significant rise in mean time to diagnose (MTTD) problems.

Enterprise IT teams should leverage analytical capabilities that factor in both cost and operational performance – optimizing business services and driving continuous improvement.

Being held back by manual operations instead of developing automated workflows (and associated infrastructure and application APIs) when appropriate – due to a surfeit in skills and/or time

This leads to higher personnel costs as they continue to manually perform tasks that could be automated – alongside variations in output quality, timeliness and completion speed.

While infrastructure standardization continues to be a major concern, true scalability will come only from automating repeatable tasks.

I/O leaders should automate wherever possible to achieve enhanced agility, efficiency, and productivity.

Ignoring capacity planning and similar infrastructure rightsizing activities as part of your IT operations strategy

This would be reflected by potentially unnecessary systems procurement – additional hardware, software or services – as well as the labor needed to provide IT operations support for additional infrastructure.

Capacity planning has wider implications than enterprises can initially comprehend; they must now think of:

  • Facilitating IT services that can be upgraded at an appropriate speed
  • Ensuring that proper workflows are established to manage those assets

Avoiding necessary infrastructure or other ITIL process changes (such as patches) because the business cannot accept any downtime within specific time periods.

Faulty or outmoded systems may be allowed to run as long as there is no major outage.

This escalates the cost of monitoring or management of legacy technology, in addition to other unplanned activities, to ensure performance and availability goals are met.

Efficient IT infrastructure platforms (such as SDI and HCI) simplify infrastructure deployment, IT operations management and troubleshooting.

They not only lower CAPEX but also contain operational spend via process simplicity, centralized IT operations management, and increased levels of automation.

Being limited to true ‘ITIL shops’ or focusing on a single framework when defining your IT operations strategy

The interest would arise from retaining methodologies that lack the ability to be agile when required, or by not leveraging multiple methodologies (cross-functionally) to remain agile.

I&O organizations should take a blended approach; by merging DevOps, ITIL and other methodologies that can work together to create a more agile, fast-paced I&O environment.

 As the famous proverb goes “Rome was not built in a day”.

“Rome was not built in a day” - Similarly, #IT leaders need to consider a maturity driven approach.

Similarly, IT leaders need to consider a maturity driven approach to IT operations and management, comprising the following steps:

  • Assess your current business and technical fitness to meet ‘to-be-achieved’ maturity – as required by diverse components for effective operations (encompassing technology, process, and people).Assess your current business and technical fitness to meet ‘to-be-achieved’ maturity.
  • Leverage automation and orchestration frameworks for automated IT operations management and business process workflows.
  • Determine which combination of ITIL and DevOps will drive agility within the IT operations team.