Digital transformation is sending shockwaves through the business world today and, as a result, enterprise IT is in a state of upheaval. The roles and responsibilities of IT staff and business users alike are undergoing a dynamic change: operational processes are being modified and often entirely restructured; supply chains are now more complicated with the adoption of software-as-a-service (SaaS) and infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) models. To develop a strategy to help your business embrace the energy of digital transformation, you need to be aware of the trends and how to capture the value they can provide, without falling into the troubles of unforeseen problems and costs.
At Sungard Availability Services, we partner with our customers every day to harness the power of digital transformation.
As we have examined the challenges and opportunities our customers face, we have identified five trends that will shape IT in 2016 … five trends that can help you plan your own digital transformation strategy.
#1. Complex Virtualization Scenarios Demand Integration Planning
Virtualization is nothing new, but businesses are moving beyond simple migrations of individual applications to shift a significant portion of their application portfolio into cloud environments. This shift brings dramatically increased complexity because legacy applications and infrastructure continue to exist and must be supported. This requirement for enterprise IT to support this “bi-modal” demand creates a complicated hybrid IT environment which brings new challenges:
- How can you ensure resiliency across both virtual and legacy environments?
- Can you integrate systems and applications to ensure high performance and availability?
- Is your business fully recoverable, or are you at risk because of SaaS and IaaS vendors with incomplete business continuity programs?
- How do you ensure security in a diversified environment?
- And how do you manage all of these new vendors who are supporting your applications outside of your data center walls?
Companies are recognizing that integration planning and ongoing management of the hybrid infrastructure with a third-party IT services provider – who can be viewed as a partner – can supply answers to these questions and many others. A partner who can integrate and manage all the moving parts of your IT environment to ensure optimal performance to support your business goals is critical to removing complexity. Such a partner bridges the gap between your in-house capabilities, public clouds, private clouds, SaaS providers, etc., allowing you to focus on driving the digital innovation that is key to delivering the outcomes the business expects.
#2. Business Agility Calls for Provider Flexibility
“The cloud” is really a misnomer – there are many different clouds, and businesses are realizing that “one cloud doesn’t fit all” in the same way that not all applications are the same. Some applications need burst capability while others do not; some applications are better suited for dedicated environments and/or isolation (e.g., private cloud), while others do not and can enjoy different economics and efficiencies. Therefore, your company will require several different clouds to support your entire application portfolio … yet they all have to work together seamlessly to truly support your business.
Only by having an integrated, end-to-end cloud platform strategy that is aligned with your business can you truly respond to market fluctuations, technology innovations, and organizational change with speed and agility. That takes a high-touch cloud provider with holistic capabilities: one who knows your business as well as you do and will tailor your cloud platform with fine-tuned accuracy.
#3. The Cloud Redefines Business Continuity
Not all trends are positive. For example, in recent years, cloud adoption has led many misinformed businesses to believe that they were “covered” from a business continuity and recovery standpoint. After all, the cloud is virtual and distributed, and running it is the responsibility of the cloud provider – what could possibly go wrong?
But unfortunately, these businesses have learned some hard lessons: the cloud is no guarantor of recoverability (or even availability!). Clouds can and will go down, data can be lost, interdependencies between applications (legacy and virtual) can be broken, etc.
What the cloud does change is the nature of recovery, because recovery and production no longer have to be treated as two separate entities. You can be part of a positive counter-trend by implementing fully-recoverable production services that employ a single strategy that delivers resiliency for both production and recovery.
#4. Businesses Require More from Recovery-as-a-Service Providers
Gartner stated in their April 21, 2015 Magic Quadrant for Disaster Recovery as a Service, “By 2018, the number of organizations using disaster recovery as a service will exceed the number of organizations using traditional syndicated recovery services.” But not only will more businesses be using Recovery-as-a-Service (RaaS) providers, they will be requiring more from them than ever before.
Companies don’t need a RaaS provider who will just “recover virtual machines in the cloud.” They need a RaaS provider who embraces the concept of fully-recoverable production services and can provide end-to-end recoverability for their business by:
- Taking a holistic view of recovery at the compute layer (both physical and virtual)
- Providing support for multiple data movers and data protection options
- Encompassing hybrid IT environments (UNIX, mainframe, iSeries, legacy apps, etc.)
- Including risk tiering applications and dependency mapping
- Supplying the people and process expertise necessary to address comprehensive business and application recovery
#5. Businesses Bridge the Gap Between Traditional and Agile IT
Capitalizing on the “digital revolution” means that process efficiencies, application performance, customer satisfaction, increased revenue, and more are all based on your ability to make the most of your IT environment. Businesses are therefore working hard to ensure that all their mission-critical systems are efficient and resilient, whether they are legacy or residing in the cloud, or both.
It’s a simple fact that legacy infrastructures aren’t going anywhere; they support major parts of the business and will continue to do so. Companies therefore need to find ways to optimize their performance, availability, and recoverability. Simultaneously, organizations need to be flexible enough to embrace new, agile IT applications and technologies as they are needed to enable the transformative disruption that will help them maintain their competitiveness in the marketplace.
There they are: five trends to incorporate into your business strategy. By aligning yourself with the shape of IT in 2016, you can leverage the best of legacy infrastructures, agile technologies, cloud platforms, and managed services to help achieve your business goals and objectives for the New Year.
Related Business Solution: Application Management