A cure for traditional infrastructure

mars 24, 2016

Are you suffering from traditional IT infrastructure? It's a funny question, admittedly, but some of you are no doubt violently nodding your heads in agreement.

After all, who hasn't suffered at the hands of IT infrastructure? IT teams who've contended with the seemingly nonstop maintenance that comes with traditional infrastructures, certainly have. Users who've helplessly experienced bottlenecks that prevented timely access to applications and data of course have. And most C-level executives can tell you about the anguish of an under-performing network slowing transaction flows, and the business in general, to a crawl.

Over-running the status quo

Meanwhile, along the way to this condition, emerging technology trends have pushed the traditional infrastructure to its limits. From virtualization and the cloud to mobility and the consumerization of IT, new pressures are straining infrastructures from every direction.

If organizations are being held back by their infrastructures today, just imagine how limiting those infrastructures will be a few years.

To borrow (and mangle) a famous saying, "The infrastructure provideth, and it taketh away." Or, more accurately, it holdeth back. But that no longer has to be the case. Businesses today have more options than ever when it comes to modernizing their infrastructures. They can transform the cause of their suffering into a distinct business advantage.

That's not to suggest it's a simple transition. Every business has its own distinct needs in terms of demand, accessibility and flexibility, and they need to do thoughtful assessments of their evolving infrastructure needs. But for most organizations today, round-the-clock business agility and availability of applications and data are foundational must-haves.

In such an environment, what are needed are out-of-the-box infrastructure solutions that enable IT teams to spend less time on maintenance tasks, and more time on critical innovation and revenue-producing activities.

Organizations need the ability to deploy new applications quickly and easily. They need to be able to respond quickly and decisively to changing business conditions. And they need to be freed from technology-induced limitations on what people can accomplish.

Digital business barriers

What they have today instead is antiquated legacy infrastructures that are rigid, and with high opportunity and maintenance costs.  What's more, these aging infrastructures have helped cement the perception among both executives and users that IT is more of a hindrance to their efforts to better serve customers than it is a business engine. Further contributing to this perception is the fact that the traditional methods of assessing IT costs and evaluating the role of IT are hopelessly misaligned with the digital businesses of today, and that divide is widening.

Restrictive business area - enter if you can.To put it quite frankly, traditional IT infrastructure is flat-out preventing businesses from excelling in today's marketplace. And it's not enough for organizations to simply swap those infrastructures out for the modern flavor of the day. Rather, they must change their mindsets in envisioning those new infrastructures.

Specifically, they need to stop allowing costs to limit this critical technology decision, and instead adopt a forward-looking understanding that their infrastructure investments should be guided by anticipating future business needs.

The rewards of strategic change run deep

That perspective is supported by research such as the latest edition of KPMG's annual technology innovation report,"The Changing Landscape of Disruptive Technologies," released in early 2016. The report argues that as the unprecedented pace of technology innovation continues to bring profound changes all around us, companies can't ride one form of innovation to success. Instead, they must integrate several disruptive technologies to create an effective business model.

"The rewards for embracing new technologies run deep. From productivity gains to cost efficiencies, to quicker innovation cycles and increased customer value," Gary Matuszak, global and U.S. chair of KPMG's technology, media and telecommunications practice, said in the report. "The most successful businesses will be those that can most effectively prioritize and monetize emerging technology opportunities as part of their overall company strategy."

In other words — at least so far as it pertains to infrastructure — first figure out what type of modern infrastructure best suits your business, and then determine how you can take full business advantage of it. Matching your business to the wrong infrastructure can lead to extra costs, unused capabilities (or worse yet, missing capabilities) and a whole lot of inefficiency.

Taking that idea to its logical end, it's easy to see how the traditional infrastructure, which once served businesses so well, can increasingly be looked upon as a sort of shackle for the business. And if organizations are being held back by their infrastructures today, just imagine how limiting those infrastructures will be a few years down the line.

Which is why the infrastructure solutions market has such a critical role in helping today's businesses to become digital-enabled. Vendors have a responsibility to develop and market solutions that will grease the wheels of digital business rather than rust them, and Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise has every intention of delivering on that. Stay tuned.


Tony Kontzer

Tony has been writing about technology and business for more than 20 years and currently freelances from his home in the San Francisco Bay Area. 

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