Today’s CIOs oversee an IT infrastructure that’s far more complex than the traditional data centers that dominated the enterprise technology landscape as recently as five years ago. Certainly, modern environments still include on-premises deployments, but they are now spread out across dozens, even hundreds of locations around the globe. What’s more, they also incorporate cloud workloads, hybrid cloud, and third-party services, many of which operate in a perimeter-less landscape.
All of these different components provide important capabilities, but the sheer complexity of the modern IT environment can reduce agility and present formidable barriers to responding quickly to rapid change. And when faced with an unexpected event like the Covid-19 pandemic, integration within these disparate environments becomes a massive headache that must be overcome at all costs. The lack of a common platform leaves organizations scrambling to figure out where to access information and how to collaborate so they can execute quickly. In a survey by DXC Technology and Leading Edge Forum, 62% of enterprises said they lacked a common set of tools and platforms across the organization; this leads to business units working in isolation as digital islands.
Solving this enormous problem in-house often isn’t feasible. First, there’s a severe shortage of people with advanced IT skills. The iCIMs benchmark report from October 2019 shows that companies are only able to hire 60% of the technology personnel they require because so many applicants lack the needed expertise. Compounding this problem is a lack of funding. Nearly 85% of IT budgets are dedicated to maintaining existing systems or making incremental changes, according to some recent surveys.1
Today, infrastructure is increasingly designed for machines, not for people, so to achieve the level of “silent running” IT desires, you need to implement a great deal of automation. That’s easier said than done, of course, and, given the lack of internal IT resources, it’s probably best to work with a third party to plan and execute on a modernization overhaul of the infrastructure.
Once it’s complete, however, a modern, highly automated infrastructure can eliminate many of the day-to-day manual functions that eat up so much of IT’s time, freeing up resources for more strategic projects. And just as important, modernization can have a significant impact on non-IT business operations, dramatically improving efficiency, accuracy, agility, and speed. But whether you work with a third party or undertake a modernization effort on your own, you’ll need a framework for planning and execution. Here’s a quick overview of the framework we use with our clients: DXC’s Enterprise Technology Stack.
Overcoming Complexity via Automation
Layer One — The first area of focus is on IT outsourcing. You need to decide where your workloads are best situated. When the best answer is in a traditional, on-premises environment, focus on modernizing and automating it.
Layer Two — For those workloads that belong in the cloud, we move to the second layer: cloud and security services. Here, the focus shifts to simplifying and transforming applications on standardized platforms in order to maximize value and lower costs.
Layer Three — Moving up the stack, the applications layer is critical, where we rationalize, modernize and manage customer workloads. These various workloads need to be integrated, and that’s where the third layer, application, and industry IP, comes in. We need to ensure that workloads work together to minimize the roadblocks end-users face in their work and, as much as possible, provide a consistent experience.
Layer Four — Finally, in the fourth layer, evaluate the data and analytics services and systems you can deploy. The goal is to harvest the data you already own to inform business decisions and create new capabilities to deal with emerging business issues.
By following this framework to build your modernization strategy, you can evaluate step-by-step each element of your infrastructure. And as you execute, it should help ensure you transform what is likely an extremely complex mix of disparate environments into a unified, efficient, and agile infrastructure that requires far fewer financial and human resources to maintain.
Real-World Use Case, Real Results
To illustrate, let’s take a look at how Fondsdepot, Germany’s largest independent fund platform, modernized its IT infrastructure and, more specifically, its reporting systems. An initial assessment showed that the bank’s regulatory reporting system was fragmented, in large part because it was based on complex spreadsheets. Information was trapped in silos that couldn’t communicate easily, which made keeping pace with the onslaught of new regulations difficult. In short, Fondsdepot lacked the agility to adapt to a rapidly changing regulatory environment.
It made the most sense to modernize its reporting infrastructure with a cloud-based, reporting-as-a-service solution – the second layer of DXC’s Enterprise Technology Stack. The solution was implemented on a common platform, so information was easily available and processes were highly automated. In fact, Fondsdepot was able to automate 98% of manual regulatory reporting, which enabled the bank to reduce the number of associated personnel by 90%.
IT doesn’t have to remain stuck in a complex, unresponsive IT infrastructure. By following a well-constructed modernization framework, IT can create a more efficient, highly automated architecture that will empower the business to thrive in the face of change.
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