Delivering Business Agility Through Your Tech Strategy
Energy and Financial Services Deliver Business Agility
Architects don’t see a patch of land, they see a space and a series of outcomes that can take place in that space, whether it is a mix of housing and commercial properties or how to utilize the footplate of an office or warehouse. The same approach is true of technology architects, they see a business and its needs and they see the technologies that can meet the needs of the business.
In today’s economy it is vital that technology architects can provide the organization with a strategy that enables agility and adaptability.
“Portability is always something we bake into decisions,” says Tom Brown, Head of Infrastructure Engineering at IG, a financial services trading platform provider that has a 45-year heritage in the sector. “If you don’t choose a destination based on capabilities then some of the value add is lost,” he says of ensuring cloud partners to IG bring skills and services to IG that augment their own abilities.
Brown and Dom Maidment, Technology Architect for Total Gas & Power are both planning and deploying cloud-based technologies to provide their businesses with greater flexibility. “Anything you can do to smooth the business, so they can do more with less, means you focus on how to reduce the complexity,” Maidment says of the role of technology architecture.
Cloud computing has enabled both IG and French energy firm Total to reduce complexity and provide business flexibility. “Cloud is about abstracting application workloads from the infrastructure. If you are simplifying the technology and business processes, then when it comes to moving services or applications you have made it easier. You have to understand the infrastructure and then simplify it,” Maidment says of his role.
1. What are you trying to do? When you know this, then you apply the technology.
-Dom Maidment, Total Gas & Power
2. Do everything in the most simple way.
-Tom Brown, Head of Infrastructure Engineering at IG
“Everyone has implemented systems over 20 years with the best of intentions, but you inevitably end up with technical debt,” Maidment says of how businesses changing to meet the needs of the customer creates technical debt. Architects and their cloud partners have to constantly be vigilant on ensuring debt is paid down with simplification. Brown at IG agrees: “There are a lot of return on investment (RoI) discussions to be had. With legacy technology a lot of the knowledge can be lost, so the value of an application can be lost,” he says.
As recent events demonstrate, businesses need technology that can react to sudden changes in the market environment or customer behavior. For technology leaders Brown and Maidment, the technology architecture has to enable the business to respond to change.
“Modern virtualization technology means that when you get to a pinch point you can react. We provide our organization with different types of access which would not have been envisaged in the past,” Maidment says. Brown agrees and IG, like Total, has been implementing technologies that enable it to change course rapidly. “To make things more flexible automation is vital.” Brown says cloud is one of the keys to the flexibility required.
“Cloud is not a destination, it is an option that is always available to us. We focus our thinking on the workloads and ensure we have the right workload in the right place.”
“Cloud is a misnomer now, the technology abstracts out performance issues that plagued the business from scaling out change in the past,” Maidment says. The Total Gas & Power business technology leader adds that as well as great technology, he is looking to work with vendors that work well with other service providers.
“Make sure that you have vendors that are open and that you have conversations with them all the time”Tom Brown, Head of Infrastructure Engineering at IG