Why Agile Infrastructure is Critical for Digital Transformation

by Pratima Harigunani

The importance of having an Agile Infrastructure often sits forgotten in a corner, but you won’t be able to keep digitally savvy users pinned down on old furniture for too long anymore.

It is both fascinating and disconcerting – Consumer-side IT is now more savvy, future-forward and effortless than corporate IT today.

Just look at yourself as a customer. You have more connectivity options and bandwidth at your beck and call outside your workplace, in your car, in your home, and in your kitchen; than what your office accommodates. Have-to-be terms like 16 Mbps home broadband speeds and 3G/4G in smartphones has made ubiquitous connectivity a routine backdrop of everyday life and they are not some ‘wow’ factor anymore. Tablets, Smartphones and other consumer-held devices have become far more potent, staggeringly multi-faceted and empowering than traditional PCs .

So is the tale with Mobile apps – as a customer you can think ‘almost’ anything your mind or whims conjure up –eat, sleep, read, buy, date, work, research, network, whine- anything; and there’s an app that will massage your wishes.

Now just shift this life that is so full of comfort, and so equipped with technology and so immersive in last-mile answers, to another mise-en-scene. Nudge it towards your workplace and the sheer contrast and conspicuous vacuum will stare you in your eye. Why won’t you expect more from corporate IT when you are getting it manifold and augmented, that too so easily and unsolicited in your everyday life? Yes, that’s exactly what your employees and customers are struggling with–The Paradox of Tech-penetration.

Irony vs. Dichotomy

Fully-equipped on the other side of the office elevator, and inured to stay always-on, always-ready; your employees genuinely need a seamless experience and a versatile basket of choices. Even a second of latency or inconvenience can cost them a bout of impatience and disillusionment. When a zippy flock of e-commerce sites are pampering their softest, slightest thumb-moves; there is no way they are going to suffer the bureaucratic nightmare of IT consumption at their desks. They have become used to being constantly on and indulging in the ever-available. Old-school IT just won’t cut any acceptance here.

The days of nailing them around their desktops, or devices authorized by IT, are over. Same is the case with the process-bound, snail-paced and inhospitable subordination that IT has been putting them through.  They want independence, speed, convenience, choice and agility. Not a request-sheet.

Overhauling the IT Infrastructure

In light of these brisk and unrelenting changes, it is more important than ever to consider upgrading your IT infrastructure. Demands of a new-age employee and customer can’t be ignored anymore. The IT infrastructure has to move up from the days of keeping the data center lights on to being a lighthouse. It’s now a precursor to actually differentiating your organization against competition. It is the fundamental element for tackling variations of technology and user expectations.

With that premise and acceptance, you need to ask some ruthless questions quickly enough:

  • Can your IT infrastructure really serve the requirements of the new digital natives?
  • Can operational efficiency alone suffice as a yardstick for IT’s role and impact?
  • Can you execute and deliver digital transformation in the face of legacy IT and mindsets, even if you acknowledge the fierce changes enveloping you?
  • How can you make IT infrastructure more agile, and more inclined to nimble-rapid innovation?

Infrastructure – Same Road, New Wheels

Arguably, IT is now supposed to equip the disruptions that a business faces or embraces; and there is no way that innovative business models, or delightful user experiences can be accomplished with systems and thinking from another era.

Automation, flexibility, heterogeneity, re-engineering muscle, elasticity, adaptability and lean DNA are now the defining forces of IT infrastructures.

Example: Flash storage can do more than just gather real time data from social media or IoT, enabling you to act on it in real time by considerably reduces the latency associated with traditional spindle-based storage.

Or take the case of Hyper Converged Infrastructures wherein more compute, network, and storage is squeezed in lesser space and on-tap provisioning of the required resources happens quickly, without the suffering that accompanied those traditional, long procurement cycles.

Platforms are other such new-IT elements. They are now quintessentially crucial for any digital infrastructure, and allow legacy applications to seamlessly melt into new solutions by providing the required APIs.

At the same time, Network Upgrades are ensuring that your network is ready to handle the additional load of IoT and social media traffic and is not the bottleneck that deters new-IT’s advent. It is the new accelerator and catalyst for anything disruptive and futuristic you may want to try, without any fork-lifting.

Pause, fix the tyre

A good carpenter spends four hours in sharpening his axe and just one in actually cutting the wood. Conversely, a sloppy carpenter prefers to let things/axe be and ends up frustrated, exhausted, and disoriented.

Businesses today have to squeeze out those four hours in the form of a smart, swift, adaptable, and flexible IT infrastructure. Only then can they survive the onslaught of the digital breed and dream of bringing in a great new idea that nobody else thought of.  In today’s digital age, ignoring technology is not only detrimental but, sometimes, lethal.

Besides considering an agile IT infrastructure, companies today must also relook at their adherence and refinement of processes that span an employee’s or customers’ experience. That also means sticking by dynamic compliance standards, no matter how tedious, and being sensitive to customer information, privacy and security.

It is a no- brainer that your customer and employee have moved many elevators ahead when it comes to the appetite for technology. Aligning your IT infrastructure as per their needs is not just a good decision. It’s the only decision to make if you want to stay around and get up to speed.

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