While most organizations today agree that IT transformation plays a critical role in ongoing business success and growth, the path to modernization doesn’t always look the same for every enterprise.
At Insight, we believe that modern IT operations — an operating model that supports both on-premises, hybrid and cloud consumption models — lay the groundwork for organizations to successfully innovate, create fresh user experiences, generate new revenue streams and solve new problems.
Modern IT operations can take many forms. A recent MIT survey found that organizations take different approaches to modern architecture with roughly half deploying APIs, containers or serverless architectures. Despite these differences, there are a few key hallmarks to a successful modern IT operations strategy:
When organizations make a point of prioritizing these specific goals, they experience increased efficiencies, faster time to value, optimized resources and better business agility.
Creating a successful modern IT operations strategy involves a wide range of tactics and focus areas to transform the entire environment, including:
Since automation is foundational, we’ll spend the rest of this article exploring its impact on transformation. However, please look out for additional articles in which we discuss the role of service design, DevOps integration and cultural transformation in detail.
Although automation isn’t a new concept in the IT world, it’s receiving renewed attention these days as IT decision-makers leverage the power of automation to save time and money while improving consistency. Replacing manual, human-driven workflows with automated tasks allows businesses to improve complicated, lengthy and error-prone processes — from the cloud, multicloud or on premises.
Additionally, not only does automation free up IT staff and resources to focus on more strategic or high-value initiatives, but it also plays a central role in modernizing IT processes, deploying Artificial Intelligence (AI) and robotics, and, perhaps most importantly, establishing robust DevOps.
At the end of the day, automation should be done not to make IT’s job easier, but to make the end user’s job easier. As a result, in most organizations, this means making the developer’s job easier too, ultimately streamlining operations for the IT department.
Developers have largely flocked to the public cloud because it allows them to be hyper productive and provides tools to support easy innovation. Unfortunately, the public cloud’s popularity with developers is part of the reason why the platforms can charge so much for services.
For organizations that want to create a public cloud-like experience for developers in an on-premises context, automation is a key part of the process.
In addition to automation, achieving this goal requires enterprises to adopt new technologies and platforms that create the familiarity of the public cloud on premises for developers. This means adopting services, such as storage, database, secret management, authentication and others. It also means deploying containerized platforms and orchestration tools, artifact repositories, test and integration facilities, and instrumentation to make sure that DevOps has the visibility it needs.
First and foremost, these changes need to be done with security as the overarching goal. Once security is prioritized, organizations are ready to achieve both the governance and the velocity that’s required in today’s business landscape.
Before we discuss the importance of balancing governance and innovation, it’s worth noting that just because a process in your IT operations can be automated doesn’t necessarily mean that it should be. Automation can be resource intensive and, as such, should be used strategically and according to best practices.
For most businesses, staying competitive means being innovative and agile, as well as streamlining IT operations to keep up with development. Unfortunately, organizations often sacrifice governance and control for speed and innovation.
By promoting collaboration between infrastructure and development teams — and enacting defined, repeatable and efficient processes for provisioning, deployment and testing — organizations can align DevOps with modern IT operations in a way that prioritizes both innovation and governance.
Finally, considering the purpose and value of new technologies offers businesses an opportunity to sharpen their modern IT operations strategy.
For some organizations, this might mean embracing a container strategy. For others, exploring solutions like unikernels, Kubernetes or virtualized infrastructure can support modernization goals.
As always, careful consideration of workloads and their parameters should undergird any decision about deploying new technologies.
At the end of the day, adopting modern IT operations enables businesses to achieve a proper balance between governance and innovation — driving digital transformation without causing breaches, cost overruns or other problems down the line.