As digital business moves from an innovative trend to a core competency, organizations will need to invest or deepen their investment in key technology areas.
For most infrastructure and operations (I&O) leaders, the technical layer is the point of engagement in the journey toward digital business. Unfortunately, Gartner inquiries show that I&O leaders are not always part of digital business investment discussions.
Milind Govekar, research vice president at Gartner, says the result can be either technology investment surprises or investments that are irrelevant to the business.
I&O leaders are not always part of digital business investment discussions.
“I&O leaders need to prepare for and understand the impact of key technology investments in their organization’s digital business journey,” says Govekar.
Gartner has identified five key investment areas that I&O leaders should be aware of to enable digital business.
1. Information of Everything
Everything in the digital environment is generating, using and communicating with immeasurable amounts of information. While information has been available in disparate repositories for decades, the information of everything is the result of the confluence of the miniaturization of computing power, network ubiquity, advanced algorithms and vast new sources of information, such as sensors.
I&O leaders will have to understand how this diverse information is collected, stored, managed and analyzed. There will be a unique set of challenges around locating information and governance policies needed for collecting and managing it.
2. Advanced Analytics
Leading organizations in almost all industries are embracing advanced analytics as they start to realize the vast opportunities for solving complex business problems. It is being used for improving customer retention, marketing responses, fuel savings and quality defects, and can have big business impacts.
These new approaches and technologies in advanced analytics are completely different to provisioning, managing and maintaining traditional database technologies, applications and platforms. I&O leaders will have to invest in new skills, and monitoring and IT operations analytics tools of their own to manage this environment.
3. Smart Machines and Automation
As businesses start to implement smart technologies and automation of their own, I&O leaders will have to start looking at automation beyond the traditional opportunistic areas. This means investing in “heuristic” capabilities that drive automation for application release, movement of workloads to the most appropriate environment, capacity management and improved root cause analysis, among others.
4. Software-Defined Everything
Software defined everything (SDE) builds on the last three years of software defined anything (SDx) research and process in IT. It is still focused on software abstraction from the physical hardware at many levels, and includes the individual components of compute, network, storage, facilities and infrastructure in the data center.
Think SDE across the portfolio — reuse and interoperability is good.
Gartner recommends that I&O leaders only deploy SDx functions for consolidation and/or agility as business benefits, not just IT savings. Think SDE across the portfolio — reuse and interoperability is good.
5. Integrated Systems
Integrated systems are combinations of server, storage and network infrastructure, sold with management software that facilitates the provisioning and management of the combined unit.
A majority of integrated systems replace existing infrastructure. This is great for cost and consolidation of IT and efficiency metrics. However, when implementing this as part of a digital business initiative IT organizations must look at how the potential savings of capital expenditure (capex), a good thing, may be offset by potential shifts in operating expenditure (opex).
Use integrated systems to derive the benefit of an architected design and deployment of integrated compute, storage and memory infrastructure to support digital business.