A Future-Driven Approach to Infrastructure Management
This article originally appeared in Volume 2, Issue 3 of <theScript> Quarterly digital magazine.
As organizations struggle to find time for both infrastructure management and business transformation, there are several key operational and management evolutions for IT leaders to consider to be successful.
Organizations without a nimble and flexible IT model to match accelerated growth invariably sprout shadow IT — systems and solutions used without approval — in order to meet their goals. Many times, IT leaders are like the scientists in the movie “Jurassic Park,” who set up various security precautions to prevent unauthorized breeding of dinosaurs in the wild and to control the population. Business leaders cannot and will not wait for IT to catch up, however, and, as in the movie, “Life finds a way.”
Too many times, it’s easier — and cheaper — to use corporate credit cards or individual business unit budgets to pay for cloud services and simply “get it done” rather than wait for IT.
Updating your infrastructure
Technology delivery models are experiencing more fundamental changes now than ever before. Traditional data centers — rife with limitations from dedicated systems where organizations still must account for physical limits on power, space, storage, memory and processing power — are shrinking.
Most organizations will continue to operate some form of traditional data center in the years ahead. However, public and hybrid cloud solutions are evolving at a breakneck pace and are providing the availability, flexibility and security required to operate even mission-critical services. Yet, for many organizations, adoption is too slow.
Software-defined networking and SD-WAN solutions have proven results but limited deployment. Metrics from original equipment manufacturers demonstrating better performance, cost savings, agility and availability are all great in concept — but how many IT departments have network developers who can program within these cutting-edge technologies to use their benefits? IT leaders must ensure the large investment in this new platform ultimately leads to success. But this is often unreachable without the expertise and availability of their team to properly focus and maintain it.
Building your dream IT team
How, then, do IT leaders ensure business alignment and adoption of these new technologies to be successful in both infrastructure management and business transformation? IT talent is expensive to find, recruit, hire, train and retain. And, according to the Society for Human Resource Management, the situation isn’t improving. In fact, between 2010 and 2015, the average time to fill a role at large corporations increased 62%, with IT roles ranked in the top five areas that hold the longest vacancies.
Not only does this leave your IT team with holes in the organizational chart, but it puts them in a conundrum when it comes to moving forward with mission-critical initiatives.
Assembling a successful IT team is a lot like a seesaw. If you’re too heavy on the in-house side, your payroll budget will be off the charts. At the same time, an honest assessment of your team’s common tasks will likely uncover that employees have too much on their plates (including mundane, repeatable tasks that could easily be offloaded), or they’re spinning their wheels for lack of the specific, cutting-edge skills you need. This is why most organizations leverage a blend of in-house resources and outsourced talent to cover all of the bases.
Finding a balanced approach
Smart IT leaders work to augment their internal teams to ensure all operations are covered. Many organizations do this through managed services. Not only can extending your network and data center operations team help relieve employees of repeatable tasks for day-to-day management, but it rounds out the talent pool with enterprise-grade talent trained on the latest technologies. These managed services can provide operational excellence around cloud brokerage, multicloud management for cost containment, oversubscription, governance, security, chargeback reporting, provisioning, tuning and optimization within interconnected software-defined networks.
Properly balancing their internal IT teams with advanced managed services, IT leaders can evolve their operations to keep up with their accelerating business demands and manage for the future.