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The 7 Essential Steps for IT Transformation

By Jordan McMahon

IT strategy has shifted to prepare for and kickstart digital transformation as a business-critical initiative—but there’s still a datacenter to run.

Leading IT strategist and Dartmouth College Professor Vijay Govindarajan puts it eloquently when he says, “Strategy is really about how you create your future while managing the present.”

In the recent IDC report Digital Transformation and Cloud Computing Drive IT Transformation: Are You Ready?, the analyst firm prescribes a plan for IT leaders to properly manage their existing setup, update their infrastructure to support the digital transformation tidal wave, and offers up a maturity model (which you’ll definitely want to take a look at) that dissects the changes in IT roles, skill sets, and processes resulting from digital transformation and cloud computing.

Here we examine IDC’s 7 steps for IT transformation:

STEP 1: Take a hard stare at your application portfolio and infrastructure

Is it time to say goodbye to any of your legacy applications? Do any applications need to be refactored to play nicely with a new infrastructure? This step is all about ensuring that your existing business application functionality will be consumable in a digital transformation situation.

STEP 2: Consider an infrastructure upgrade

Could it be time to up your capacity and performance, or move to a new architecture like web-scale hyperconverged infrastructure altogether? As you determine what to do, or begin moving to a new infrastructure, old compute and storage resources that you’re still maintaining can be used for smaller sites or things list disaster recovery. Add solid state storage for persistence or caching if you’re looking to accelerate performance for what you’ve got running.

STEP 3: Prep for new initiatives

Application teams and lines of business will be able to tip you off as to the range of application workloads in the queue and how the infrastructure/cloud stack can be optimized. This will drive scale-up or scale-out strategy.

STEP 4: Strategize on cloud computing services

Many IT organizations are building out Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) environments to create the right space for developers to innovate and for DX initiatives to take flight. (And make sure you think carefully about these investments — according to Statista, in 2021, cloud spend will be 45% higher than in 2016).

STEP 5: Get budget on the brain

What does all of this mean for your budget? Will more developers need to come on board to build custom applications? Are you prepped for a shift from capex to opex? It might be time to evaluate operational budget approaches that will fit within this new paradigm.

STEP 6: Don’t go chasing waterfall

Moving to a more agile methodology will hedge your bets for delivering in an era where business is more fast-paced than ever, and where applications become a logical grouping of individual microservices. And if you’re thinking Agile, you’re also thinking DevOps; at the heart of a successful DevOps model is the Agile software development methodology, which consists of a set of principles that drive evolving product and solutions through collaboration across diverse teams. (You can read more about that in this blog on the role of DevOps in digital transformation).

STEP 7: Do a staffing and skill analysis

Assess the skill gaps as you move to an automated cloud ops infrastructure, including talent that can architect, code, and engineers with a DevOps eye that know at least one scripting language.The road to digital transformation may seem long and occasionally arduous, but the gains will be great when you reach the destination; those who can successfully make the journey will be well-positioned for the next decade of IT.

For more detailed information on digital transformation readiness and a look at your level of DX maturity, download IDC’s report Digital Transformation and Cloud Computing Drive IT Transformation: Are You Ready?

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