Ever-ready infrastructure needs a solid and stable footing on which to build. That’s true whether your goal is unlocking business value and innovation for today or preparing the organization for the Cloud Continuum tomorrow. Either way, enterprises need to evolve away from a capital intensive, hardware-oriented infrastructure discipline to one that is software-defined and intelligent.
Accenture uses a stabilize-optimize-transform approach to systematically break down the various barriers that organizations face. The best part? The timing of each step is flexible. So a business can enjoy the benefits of stability and optimization today—then kickstart a transformation at the time of its choosing.
Introduce automation to increase quality, reduce costs and build the foundation for a multi-speed operating model that supports a hybrid landscape.
Free-up funding, people to focus on full-stack innovation. Continually re-engineer infrastructure to align with strategic business goals.
Continue re-engineering the infrastructure landscape while introducing new Cloud Continuum capabilities to accelerate value and unlock innovation.
Key considerations in addressing IT infrastructure
Here are some key considerations for companies looking to solve the IT infrastructure challenge:
When the time is right, take the first steps towards transformation.
Once, the focus of enterprise cloud technology was all about the public cloud. Today’s leaders recognize it’s about leveraging a continuum of capabilities—one that spans everything from multiple public clouds to on-device edge computing. Those who can harness the Continuum are using the cloud not just as a single, static destination, but as a future operating model. They do this by dynamically balancing public, private, hybrid, co-location, multi-cloud, and edge with advanced practices to support the ever-changing needs of the business. Not every organization may choose to expand into the Cloud Continuum, but keep in mind that even if you choose not to move significantly into cloud, you still need to manage your infrastructure in a cloud-like way. For those that do choose to exploit the transformative opportunities offered by the Cloud Continuum, their landscape must be engineered to support it. There is no one-size-fits-all approach, but a few core elements need to be in place to tap into the value of the Continuum.
Migrating your people to the cloud.
According to our research, cloud leaders who transformed their people along with their technology achieved 60% higher ROI on cloud investments, than those who focused solely on the technology. There are three “no-regrets” people moves for the Infrastructure workforce that have the biggest impact on value : alignment, ability, and adoption.
Redefine the operating model for cloud: enabling collaboration between IT and business, engineering and operations and human and machine intelligence.
Reskill infrastructure talent in cloud across multiple disciplines—from XaaS to continuous integration and development.
Support infrastructure workers to embrace new ways of working by setting clear expectations, adjusting performance metrics, and creating incentives.
What’s needed now is an infrastructure focused on continuous innovation, automation and optimization that enhances companies’ competitive advantage.
Find the right landing zone in a new hybrid/multi-cloud world.
Leading organizations recognize that value ultimately doesn’t come from the infrastructure itself, but from what it enables. The lesson? Be led by the needs of those who use the infrastructure. For enterprise IT, that means taking a user-centric, application-centric and data-centric approach to infrastructure. That way, an organization can exit the data center and define the best infrastructure landing zone for each application or dataset, taking into account both the value potential and the cost of migration. Accenture’s Seven Rs methodology is our framework for guiding these decisions. Hybrid infrastructure is the inevitable outcome of this business-centric approach to enterprise IT. It’s a hybrid multi-cloud world, and enterprises need a hybrid infrastructure to match.
Building a network to meet your Continuum needs.
With greater numbers of cloud-based workloads and ever-increasing amounts of data flowing throughout the enterprise, the network can easily become a bottleneck. The good news is that networks are becoming far more automated, integrated and software-defined. In particular, SD-WAN technology is transforming networks into platforms, enabling them to be configured and managed in a faster, more automated, efficient and agile way. With 5G also poised to enable enhanced cellular connectivity and private network capability, enterprises will have a range of agile options as they rethink their networks. And as organizations adapt to the post-COVID “everywhere, anywhere” workplace model, this agility will be essential.
Enterprise infrastructure has implications for all dimensions of the new hybrid workplace—the human, the physical and the digital. The key objective? To use the huge growth in compute power and data volumes to reduce friction in the workplace and give new insights to workers at the right time, in the right way, via the right device and platform. Leading organizations are already taking automation to the masses and giving more levers of control to the individual. Others are adopting a “process improvement as a service” model through a centralized hub or external provider. The Continuum also can be used to empower individuals in new ways, from smartphone-enabled access to physical and digital spaces, to augmented reality experiences for remote workers, to integrated digital workspaces that give employees everything they need to do their job in a single environment.
Harmonizing the IT estate across the Continuum.
The Cloud Continuum calls for a radical rethink of both the management platform and the operating model. Cloud management platforms help manage cloud environments with stricter security and compliance and increasing transparency across different infrastructure components, but Accenture believes enterprises should go further. By evolving the concept of a cloud management platform into a Continuum Control Plane, the organization can extend its strategy beyond a pure technology focus to encompass the entire complexity of the enterprise. That includes the processes for building and consuming Cloud Continuum capabilities, as well as the skills and capabilities of the people who use them. With a Cloud Continuum control plane, organizations can unlock new agile operating models that accelerate concept-to-cash cycles and enable better experiences for customers and employees. In short, a Continuum Control Plane provides the best of both worlds: the stability that’s essential to controlling cost and the agility that’s critical for future growth and innovation.
Build ever-ready infrastructure for today—and get ready to unleash your competitiveness tomorrow
The Cloud Continuum is the natural evolution of enterprise IT. It enables reinventing the business through continuous innovation, powered by cloud capabilities supported by a modern infrastructure and operating seamlessly across the Continuum.
When an organization has stabilized and optimized its existing IT estate and is ready to realize next-level cloud value, it will need to rethink its approach to technology infrastructure, networks, people and workplaces. That’s no easy thing to do. But those who can find the right balance will unlock new levels of competitiveness and unleash a wave of innovation opportunities.
It’s an exciting future for enterprises. And it all rests on having a stable and optimized infrastructure foundation. That’s why the enterprise IT focus is clear—creating ever-ready infrastructure for today, while planning for a new tomorrow in the Cloud Continuum.