Transform Your IT Operations during COVID-19 Era
The COVID-19 pandemic has driven enterprises to embark on an unprecedented transformation journey and has resulted in a substantial shift in employees working from home, a model that was previously not heard of in most companies.
This transition has resulted in reconfiguring of various operations processes, technology infrastructure and employee trainings — rolling it all out immediately, resulting in poor quality, efficacy and reliability. This poor quality along with inefficacy is due to the fact that the underlying technology platforms have just been reconfigured and remain the same,
To take advantage of the pandemic’s business environment and meet the demands of IT Budget costs, CIOs must consider transforming their existing technology platforms.
The following overview offers insight into how organizations can undertake such a transformation to achieve resilient IT operations.
Step 1: Embracing an Invisible Infrastructure
Businesses are enabled by applications. Consequently, businesses must make a conscious effort to render IT infrastructure “invisible.”
Invisible infrastructure refers to the practice of designing IT operation architecture based on application and business services, rather than focusing on tower-based models like server, network and storage.
Traditionally, infrastructure is architected in towers such as a data centre, end-user computing, service desk and so forth. Each of these is wrapped in numerous metrics — such as mean time to repair, mean time between failures, first-call resolution and average handle time — that are often short-sighted at best. These metrics alone do not serve any useful purpose unless they are viewed within the context of business metrics or KPIs — for example, number of orders, invoices or fulfilment failures. Organizations can connect these business metrics to underlying technology or tower service metrics to build new operational models, which a digital operations dashboard can show in real time. The dashboard can also identify anomalies.
These infrastructure metrics need to be made invisible and aggregated to serve a higher cause, so they are more understandable by the business organization.
Step 2: A single platform for Operations
Whether it is new software development, bug fixes or enhancements provided by various application support teams or vendors, these offerings are typically set up as standalone services on a separate set of platforms. They can be integrated into with the IT Service Management Platforms and can be unified into a single service management platform.
Taking this a step ahead, there should be a digital command centre which acts as a single operating model. This can show the enterprise health across any service at any given point of time and acta as a true representation of integrated service state.
Step 3:Extend and integrate the single operating model
The next step is to prepare that single operating model with the help of extensions and integrations, in order to enhance capabilities of the existing technology platform.
To determine the current state of integration of services, we can start with a simple evaluation of the following:
- Application workload impact on infrastructure
- Infrastructure workload impact on application
- Standalone application workload
- Standalone infrastructure workload
This simple evaluation helps determine how far an organization is with respect to true integration. After the evaluation is done, the possibilities of integration can be looked upon through platforms in the present environment.
Recent developments in technology platforms demonstrate how it is possible to drive tight integration of application services with invisible infrastructure services using infrastructure as code; scripting languages that allow self-service mechanisms to define and provision data centre infrastructure; and a PaaS-based approach accompanied by software provisioning, configuration management and application-deployment tools.
Step 4:Reskill engineering talent
The integrated technology platform built will be needing personnel who are comfortable with full-stack engineering skills. Such employees will require an end-to-end knowledge of software development skills and expertise in infrastructure as code.
This technology platform can be built as a pure private cloud, a pure public environment using the respective platform-provided native tools or using a hybrid model.
Step 5:Focusing on real-time predictive analytics
These days every possible tool and platforms support AI and Machine Learning in order to enable real time analytics. This allows application behaviours to be learned and built-in real-time predictive analytics to enable predictive management.
In the current scenario, it is critical for IT operations to make a fundamental shift in mindset from fault to anomaly. Moving from incidents to situations enabled by anomaly detection, a new-age digital operation command centre will evolve to support the following:
- Lean, purpose-oriented support teams with on-demand escalation
- An intelligent and integrated service desk
- The encouragement of reliability engineering with less toil and more engineering
- Higher level of fault avoidance
- Real-time visibility of enterprise health
In conclusion, there is a great deal of opportunity and potential present in the systems and technology investments that organisations have already made. But in order to realise their true potential, there is a need for a sequence of transformations. This will allow organisations to develop and use a resilient framework for IT operations, which will facilitate true consolidation and cater to unparalleled demands.