Simplify IT – Modernizing today’s IT infrastructure while building for the future

Pursue these quick-hit strategies to focus IT resources on business growth and innovation

Digital transformation is reaching deeper into companies and industries every day. As it does, CIOs will need to spend more time on new technologies to drive corporate growth and innovation.

But how? For many companies, nearly 70 percent of the IT budget and much of their attention is dedicated to maintaining complex, traditional legacy environments. And the reality is, many companies will have legacy environments for years to come. But, knocking down that percentage by any amount offers CIOs a potential funding source for digital transformation. To realize that funding source, CIOs need to invest in new technologies that support corporate growth, increase security and boost performance and productivity.

Simplifying IT is multi-faceted strategy every CIO should consider so that time and money spent on legacy applications and hardware can be redirected to more innovative initiatives.

Removing complexity is one aspect of simplification. But wait, there’s more.

IT simplification also includes investments that reduce risk, improve security, increase resource utilization and help you spend less (and more wisely). With that in mind, here are five near-term opportunities that can help you simplify your IT environment and create opportunities to reinvest:

Improve storage efficiency

If you think you’re utilizing your storage efficiently, think again. While you never want to have too little, our experience shows that many companies use only about half the storage they’ve purchased. That’s a lot of unused space sitting around that costs you a pretty penny, requires maintenance, and will never improve in performance over the day it was first commissioned. Storage as a Service (STaaS) simplifies your IT environment by replacing a fixed-capacity, heterogeneous storage environment with an infinitely flexible storage solution that will continually improve and can scale up or down with business needs.

Virtualize your network

It’s time to stop spending money on dedicated network equipment, patching old routers and plugging holes in old firewalls. Network function virtualization (NFV) provides a simpler alternative to buying, configuring and testing individual proprietary network devices. With NFV, single-purpose appliances are replaced by software that can be easily downloaded and deployed to industry-standard, on-premises equipment at different locations in your network. Swapping these digital dinosaurs with virtual network devices is another quick way to see an immediate reduction in administrative time and expense, vastly improved security and performance, and the ultimate in network flexibility.

Boost your backups

In theory, the more backups you have, the better. But practical considerations like the cost of recording equipment and tapes, storage costs, handling and physical security all contribute to a backup strategy that isn’t everything it should be. Backup as a Service (BUaaS) eliminates the need for tape backup, and provides a centralized, scalable solution for critical and noncritical data. Backup as a service also insures you’ll be able to draw on the latest data protection technologies to keep your data safe.

Defend against disaster

What could happen? Well…anything. And if you think day-to-day IT management is complex, imagine life if you lost critical data or a core system to a disaster.  That’s why building your continuity and disaster response capacity is arguably an important element of the strategy to simplify your environment. For example, developing a well thought out disaster recovery solution can reduce recovery time and recovery point objectives from multiple days to just hours and require less rehearsal time. That means when disaster strikes (and it will), you’ll spend much less time and incur much less expense to resume normal operations.

Update your server farm

If you haven’t yet migrated to Windows Server 2016, it’s time. General support for WS 2008  will end January 2020. While you might go 3,500 miles on a 3,000 mile oil change (okay, 4,000), this is one upgrade window you don’t want to stretch. Windows 2016 and Windows 2019 includes a number of enhancements that have made the product better and easier to use. Migration is largely automated. But most importantly, you’ll be guarding against the inevitable accumulation of security issues in older version such as Windows 2003 and 2008 that will no longer be addressed.

And while you are planning your Windows server upgrade there are other options to consider.  Is this the right time to move that workload to Microsoft Azure or AWS? How does is fit in your overall plan to transform to a modern enterprise hybrid IT roadmap? What’s your digital transformation plan?

These are just a few ideas to get you started, there are many more ways to simplify your IT estate.

Brian-Fowler-headshotBrian Fowler is the Simplify IT Global Leader in DXC’s Workload & Cloud practice.

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