An IT Infrastructure Perspective on Digital Transformation

Digital transformation is all around us. Over the last couple of years we’ve moved into the age of digital experience. We’re more and more getting used to consuming our products as-a-service and consuming it digitally through apps on our computers and mobile phones.

This forces companies to change and rethink their current strategies. Innovation has to take place to keep competitors from taking more market share. Even worse is the possibility of being disrupted by either a new startup or a multi-billion dollar company that comes with a new innovative way to disrupt the market and gain a huge market share overnight. We all know the examples of Netflix, Uber, Amazon, etc. Companies that disrupt markets in new innovative way and have gained a solid position in the consumer market today.

All of this of course has an impact on how we consume IT infrastructure. The question then becomes: How do we relate this new way of doing business to IT infrastructure?

After all IT infrastructure is most of the time not the core business of most companies. But still we need to transform our infrastructure to accommodate digital transformation. Doesn’t matter what business your are in; banking, retail, government, whatever.

Every type of business is going through this digital transformation. Some industries are already in it, others are already starting. Either way consumers expect it and it will happen at some point in time.

The above picture I use to illustrate how infrastructure relates to digital transformation. It’s a simplification of what happens in the world of IT today.

Business consumes applications to deliver their services, applications run on infrastructure. Nothing new here, but as the introduction already said, things are changing rapidly and we are now coming into the area of digital transformation. The application becomes this central piece that makes this happen. Fundamentally making business “go digital”.

Crucial here is the interaction with which the applications can be build, changed and implemented in production. Application developers started to use more agile ways of making development happen, but that of course had an impact on infrastructure. A need to work more closely together led to the DevOps movement. A cultural shift to align the people and processes to provide developers with the right resources to get applications faster to production while keeping quality the same or better.

To accommodate all of this we also need to transform the infrastructure. The infrastructure need to become more agile to accommodate the needs of the applications that run on it. Taking into account that the infrastructure needs to be capable of running newly created applications, but also is capable of running the existing (sometimes legacy) applications.

Infrastructure agility is becoming a key piece of the digital transformation journey. Changing infrastructure capability demands, force IT operations to rethink their strategy and to become more app-centric.

martijn

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