Interxion’s Frank Zachmann explains why IT and data management must be seen as an ongoing and vital part of a business strategy.
Today, the pace of innovation has never been quicker. We’re heading towards a world with more than 50bn connected things, where mobile connections hugely outnumber people and half of all server racks are located at cloud and colocation data centres.
Yet, while the skyrocketing connections between organisations, people and things are changing the face of modern business and offering unprecedented opportunities, many C-level leaders remain uncertain about the right path forward for their IT strategy.
Applications, not infrastructure
Any organisation asking, ‘How should I future-proof my data centre?’ has failed to grasp the fundamental revolution that has taken place. IT is no longer simply a business resource; it has become the business. This is no longer a question of technology, but strategy.
‘IT is no longer simply a business resource; it has become the business. This is no longer a question of technology, but strategy’
Business leaders aiming to build the best possible foundation for future competitiveness should focus on applications first in order to determine their infrastructure needs. New business capabilities are the ultimate goal; the IT resources to enable them simply need to be delivered in the most effective way possible.
In the long-term, this will become even more crucial. As enterprise IT capabilities, workloads and complexity all increase exponentially, organisations that can’t keep pace won’t just lose business, they face losing control of their business.
‘Organisations that can’t keep pace won’t just lose business, they face losing control of their business’
To survive and thrive, organisations will need to harvest insights from the limitless interactions around them: informing more effective, data-driven business strategies and driving autonomous, machine-led decision-making that will enable them to react to new demands with unmatched agility.
Cloud adoption is currently dominating the minds of most CIOs, with industry heavyweights like Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services and IBM SoftLayer competing to offer lower costs and superior agility.
However, while the cloud is seen as an essential move, most organisations are still growing their IT resources organically in a process of trial and error. In fact, according to 451 Research, a lack of resources and expertise is the number one obstacle to cloud adoption, ahead of even security concerns. This shortage of skills also makes it hard to assess the cost of a cloud transition, or measure its ultimate business benefits.
This has led to a dramatic uptake in hybrid IT approaches, with 49pc of organisations now depending on a mix of their own infrastructure and that of third parties, such as cloud or colocation providers. By 2018, one-fifth of applications will be deployed at cloud service providers, while one-in-seven will be deployed at a colocation provider.
A firm foundation
To prepare for the future successfully and harness the right resources, organisations need to interlock their IT and business strategies across three crucial vectors:
- Focus on applications, not systems. Can your business add value by reinventing IT and integrating with the cloud?
- Ensure applications live in the right places. Different workloads need to be supported in different ways – whether that’s a bespoke in-house data centre, a colocation facility, or in the cloud.
- Build the right network strategy. How can you best connect your workloads, applications and data?
In a world of hybrid IT, the question for most CIOs is how to connect existing infrastructure to the cloud most effectively. Organisations must ensure their applications are located in the right places to drive peak performance, while still ensuring seamless connectivity to the wider business.
Colocated hybrid cloud – where companies place private IT in the same data centre as the private connection points to a hyperscale cloud platform – offers a firm foundation for future success. By collocating into a facility that brings instant access to a multi-cloud environment through a single, secure connection, organisations can reduce infrastructure costs, nimbly select the right cloud for the right workload, increase availability and reduce latency.
Colocated hybrid cloud also leaves organisations well-placed to embrace a fully optimised, mixed IT setup, that combines on-premise, colocated, and cloud-based resources. This creates a fertile ground of shared business processes that can yield invaluable intelligence and spawn entirely new business models.
While colocated hybrid cloud offers many opportunities, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for the future. Every organisation must strategically assess its own needs and chart the best path to augmenting existing capabilities.
Frank Zachmann is director of strategy and marketing for digital enterprise at Interxion. He has over 15 years of management experience in the ICT industry, mainly in business development, marketing and sales-driven leadership roles.
A version of this post originally appeared on the Interxion blog
Data centre server room image via Shutterstock