5 Steps to Build Agile Infrastructure & Operations

Build an I&O agility program that goes beyond “business as usual.”

Having focused for so long on internal optimizations, many IT infrastructure and operations (I&O) leaders have built rigid infrastructure processes and one-size-fits-all service “pipelines” meaning that they are missing out on opportunities to become more agile.

“The majority of I&O leaders are in organizations that are still structured around traditional technology domains/silos that don’t adequately support newer requirements such as bimodal IT, digital business and digital business platforms,” says Hank Marquis, research director at Gartner. “They are struggling to optimize IT operations and identify where to target their agility efforts.”

Gartner recommends that I&O leaders follow these five steps to build an agile, high performance and business-aligned I&O organization.

  1. Fixate on Improving I&O Transactions With Both Business and Other IT Functions
    Focus on improving your high-level business and IT transactions in order to establish a powerful agility and innovation mindset. Fewer well-targeted transaction improvement goals can deliver more success faster than a broad cross-section of maturity improvement initiatives. A transaction orientation pulls processes, technology and people into business alignment. By making improved transactions thegoal, improved processes and services will result.
  2. Assess Your Current Capability
    Assess current I&O capabilities to spot potential roadblocks – and opportunities – by understanding what you have achieved to date. Only then can I&O leaders plan the transformation that is needed. Focus on three areas for evaluation – organizational maturity; customer satisfaction; and employee engagement.
  3. Plan to Make Small Changes
    Plan more frequent but smaller changes related to reducing “transaction friction” to inspire executive sponsors who can help ensure that the improvement plans get the attention and resources they need. Communicating in business terms is key to inspiring sponsors. I&O leaders must set reasonably sized improvement goals and remain flexible, because improvements come opportunistically and incrementally, rather than all at once.
  4. Execute and Validate Your Focus Tasks
    One of the biggest inhibitors to the successful execution of the plan can be overestimating what can be accomplished in the established time frame. It is essential to show improvement is happening, and that it translates into improved value to the business. By executing against tasks that will have a real and noticeable impact (for example, focusing on improving transactions), the improvement plan can gain momentum and benefit from additional support from I&O team members and other stakeholders.
  5. Make Improvement Continuous
    To achieve and sustain agile operations, periodic assessment and continual improvement must become part of the organization’s culture. Half-yearly or even quarterly, reassessment of specific domains is a best practice during improvement. The most successful organizations focus on a few tasks directly related to transactions with users and customers, deliver them, identify the next set, and keep improving.


Gartner clients can read more in the full report “Take Five Steps Toward Agile Infrastructure & Operations,” by Hank Marquis, et al.

Get Smarter

Gartner IT Infrastructure, Operations & Cloud Strategies Conference

Build on forward-thinking I&O research and get hands-on, how-to advice.

Explore Gartner Conferences

2019-2021 Emerging Technology Roadmap for Large Enterprises

We gathered expertise from IT professionals across 198 organizations to benchmark adoption stages and risk and value factors for 108 infrastructure and operations technologies for this year. The emerging technologies profiled are spread across six technology buckets: compute and storage, compute and storage (cloud), digital workplace, IT automation, network and security.

Read Free Gartner Research


Get actionable advice in 60 minutes from the world's most respected experts. Keep pace with the latest issues that impact business.

Start Watching