Transformations are not new, and if you've ever been involved in Information Technology (IT), you may have some experience in one of many likely transformations such as the Digital Transformation, i.e. using Digital Technologies (digital data) to improve processes and value.
Many of us who have dedicated years of our careers structuring, servicing and reactively supporting Digital Technologies may be perplexed to know that IT Transformation (ITT) is about repositioning and dismantling some of our built up 'legacy/rigid' structures.
IT Teams and businesses engaged in the Digital era and looking at ITT strategies are now repositioning traditional IT services that once were 'in-house' and required some capital expenditure (CAPEX) to converged/hybrid services often with some 'external/public' cloud services that employ subscription and or consumption models. Whilst capital expenditure is reduced, costs shift to operating costs (OPEX).
ITT or any another Transformation from a business perspective is typically about reducing costs, shifting costs from CAPEX to OPEX in the name of Transformation is far from compelling for a business when we consider what it takes to embark on the ITT journey.
"81% of respondents agree that if they don't embrace IT Transformation, then their companies won't be competitive."
Enterprise Strategy Group's Information Transformation Maturity Report 2018
For ITT to be compelling and successful we must look to reduce OPEX as well as CAPEX. The increases to OPEX by moving to a subscription/consumption model can often be offset by the reduction in operating costs associated with managing and maintaining 'in-house' services and technologies.
Why now? Why is everyone talking about ITT again/now? The cloud. Digital analytics. User-friendly SaaS. The internet as a whole. These of course are all valid considerations but if we take a look this quote from Enterprise Strategy Group's Information Transformation Maturity Report 2018.
"81% of respondents agree that if they don't embrace IT Transformation, then their companies won't be competitive. That's a ten-percentage point increase from 2017."
It's clear commercial/competitive concerns are still predominant, and if we take a closer look at some summarised 'data' from Dell's commissioned ESG ITT maturity report 2018 we find some interesting and compelling outcomes.
'Transformed organizations are 18X more likely to make faster data-driven decisions', i.e. Faster time to market. That's a staggering increase, inferring scale is enabled by these ITTs. Every business and organisation since they came to be, has pursued continual growth as a key indicator of success and being a market front-runner. Delivering an 18x increase in time to market is a welcome advantage. The level of scalability realised with modern ITT principles is undoubtedly a driving factor for today's CIO's and CTO's.
It's particularly interesting to see 'Transformed organizations are 6X more likely to be involved in business strategy development.' Demonstrating the value businesses and organisations recognise in Information Technology and the ITT processes. Strategy formulation requires vision and steps towards accelerating the vision and strengthening the most positive outcomes of ITT such as reduced costs, increased efficiencies and increased revenues/profits.
In this three-part Tech blog, we'll take a look at some key principles for IT Transformation 2019; Part I – Modernise, Part II – Automation/Orchestration and Part III – Transform.
People familiar with Dell's vision of ITT may recognise the key principles outlined in this blog, I think they are great principals to discuss as we take look a closer look at ITT today.
Part I - Modernise
There are many paths that could be undertaken in moving towards modernising infrastructure and services, let's explore some of the more common approaches.
Naturally, and especially in today's business world one should expect cloud enabled Infrastructure and Services
Virtualising servers, converging storage, using 'Flash' storage where applicable, employing Scale-out and Converged or Hyper Converged Infrastructure platforms that uses a software-defined approach for networking and storage are some initial steps when we think of how to modernise.
Converged Infrastructure (CI) solutions simplify the deployment of compute, network, and storage resources. CI solutions consolidate IT components and management into a trusted single point of support for all integrated technologies i.e. Turnkey Solutions.
Another advantage of CI is that it eliminates 'silos' of technology, processes and people. Silos are largely why IT management and support have traditionally been complicated and difficult, this a huge leap forward.
CI allows for building and maintaining components of the virtualisation stack, supporting a consumption/scalable model. In the world of business having the ability to rapidly and painlessly scale is huge.
Hyper Converged Infrastructure (HCI) solutions share the same objective, with a different approach. Hyper Converged Infrastructure is typically built with software defined compute, storage and networking. HCI minimises/reduces the need for discrete hardware components, meaning that there are fewer opportunities for hardware issues to arise.
Converged infrastructure simplifies the deployment of 'best in class' hardware for compute, storage and networking. Hyper Converged Infrastructure is often deployed on commodity components to provide a simplified, scale out architecture with commodity servers.
Naturally, and especially in today's business world one should expect cloud enabled Infrastructure and Services.
An initial foray into modernisation would likely be an approach that uses a mix of on-premise infrastructure and cloud services, this approach is often referred to as a Hybrid approach.
An example of a Hybrid approach is Digistor's Live Production Workflow. Digistor has been developing and demonstrating a proof of concept on Digistor's Sandbox (Cloud Services), a Live Production Workflow in the Cloud. A range of on-premise and cloud services that are tightly connected, scalable and extendable form the core, enabling unparalleled flexibility for Live Productions.
The Hybrid approach is often described as the best of both worlds approach, having a mixture of on premise and cloud/external services but we must careful not think of this as the final destination on our ITT journey.
Look out for Part II - Automation/Orchestration in the coming months where we look at what Automation and orchestration are how they play a key role in the IT Transformation process.