Digital transformation is high on the agenda of many businesses. They see it as a way to improve productivity, efficiency, customer service and overall competitiveness.
To support digital transformation, infrastructure must be highly resilient to maximize uptime and scalable to handle variable demand. It must also have the capacity to handle massive volume of data and have the speed to deliver new services fast, sometimes in real time.
For businesses operating legacy infrastructures, digital transformation represents a major challenge. Migration to the cloud is an essential step in meeting the new demands, but the move must be based on a strategy for meeting a number of different requirements.
A Platform for Digital Transformation
A Gartner research document, “Building a Digital Business Technology Platform,” lists five types of platform that enable digital transformation.
An information systems platform supports mission-critical applications such as ERP and other core operating systems. A customer experience platform supports customer portals, services and applications, including e-commerce solutions.
The data and analytics platform provides information and data management and analytical capabilities to support data-driven decision making. An IoT platform provides connectivity, analytics and integration capabilities to monitor, control and optimize IoT operations.
Finally, an ecosystems platform supports the creation and coordination of supply chains, ecosystems and online marketplaces.
Assessing Infrastructure Capability
While IT professionals may not structure their infrastructure in the same way, they may have some or all of the capability to support the platform strategy. Gartner’s report recommends assessing the infrastructure to identify the components that can support each of the platforms.
The assessment should also identify infrastructure components that need to be added or upgraded to support the strategy. IoT and ecosystems platforms are likely to be candidates for new investment, while other, more mainstream platforms are supported by existing infrastructure components. For new platforms, the report recommends developing pilot projects.
The assessment provides the basis for developing a roadmap of investments and upgrades to align infrastructure more closely with the needs of the digital enterprise. Although infrastructure assessment is a time-consuming task, automated tools such as VTG’s ZENfraTM can simplify and speed up the process.
As well as identifying infrastructure changes, IT teams need to take other operational factors into account. For example, which infrastructure elements should reside in the cloud and which in the data center? That, in turn, determines networking capabilities to ensure customers and internal users can access services and data quickly and securely.
Integration is a key element in digital transformation. IT teams need to assess dependencies and compatibilities to ensure seamless integration between services, applications and data.
A stringent security strategy is vital to protect customer and company data. Mobile access, which is an integral element of digital transformation, increases security risks, making a strong policy even more important.
Finally, IT leaders must assess their team’s skills and knowledge to ensure they are capable of operating and managing the changing infrastructure environment. Alternatives such as outsourcing or hosted services can help overcome skills gaps and enable IT to deliver digital business capabilities.