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Transformation is coming to I&O

Vincent Charpiot
March 9, 2020

When I read analyst reports, I think the gold rush to digital transformation is accelerating. For example, worldwide spending on digital transformation technologies – hardware, software, and services – is expected to cross the $2 trillion mark by 2021. [Capgemini Research Institute, “Digital Transformation Review: 12th Edition,” 2019]

Yet I know that at many companies the impetus to transform infrastructure and operations (I&O) has not yet arrived – and that could slow down the business results of digital initiatives.

Traditionally, I&O was all about raising quality and lowering costs. The I&O operating model was internally focused and did not concern itself with external customer requirements. Agility, scalability, and time to market were not core elements of the I&O vocabulary or urgent priorities for I&O management.

All of that is changing.

As the pace of innovation accelerates on multiple fronts – cloud, AI, analytics, IoT, edge computing, automation, blockchain, etc. – the very definition of “infrastructure” changes, and I&O will be impacted in unexpected ways.

The most obvious example is the demise of the data center. Gartner predicts that “by 2025, 80% of enterprises will shut down their traditional data centers,” and notes that “10% of organizations already have.” [Gartner:Top 10 Trends Impacting Infrastructure & Operations for 2019”] I&O must shift its focus from procuring, deploying, and managing on-premises infrastructure to finding and adopting externally sourced infrastructure services.

To put it simply, if I&O doesn’t find a way to transform itself, digital transformation initiatives will fail. I&O must find a way to support both infrastructure transformation and application transformation at the same time.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, Capgemini helps address this need with innovations aimed at integrating, consolidating, and simplifying infrastructure and application portfolios – particularly the Capgemini Cloud Platform and the eAPM application portfolio visualization solution. For more information, reach out to our experts Luke Harrigan for CCP and Philippe Roques for eAPM

From an operations perspective, the driving force behind digital transformation objectives will be agility, not cost-cutting. Exploiting the latest advancements in technologies will require an I&O culture that prizes the ability to move swiftly and respond deftly to fast-changing business, technical, and customer requirements.

Meeting ever-evolving business needs will require that I&O collaborate more closely with business leaders. I&O leaders will need to actively participate in senior-level discussions about business initiatives in order to quickly deliver services that accomplish business goals.

At the same time, I&O will find an opportunity to proactively contribute to business objectives by harnessing the explosion of new technologies and digital assets and applying them to the company’s digital transformation initiatives.

One example: I&O can take a lead role in IoT initiatives – from articulating the business case to providing pilot projects, infrastructure, and management of the technology assets for each use case. At a broader level, I&O can facilitate the creation of “programmable infrastructure” that adapts to new requirements quickly by supporting the move to an API-driven infrastructure. This move enables the company to adopt a continuous-delivery approach that is capable of meeting all service requirements – internal and external – in far less time.

Similarly, I&O will have an opportunity to re-assess and refine roles and skill sets within its organization. As cloud services become the default platform for infrastructure and service provisioning, I&O will require staff with expertise in hybrid cloud and multi-cloud operational models. The I&O organization as a whole will need to expand its skills in brokering, securing, and governing multiple types of cloud services.

In addition, I&O will need to transform from vertically oriented organizational structures to horizontal structures that facilitate cross-team collaboration. Agility, scale, customer focus, and an understanding of business strategy requires people who can work together and cross-pollinate.

And of course, the traditional charter of I&O doesn’t go away in the digital age. Somehow, I&O will need to find new ways to do more with less, to find budget where none existed previously, and to prioritize quality and service above all. However, those goals are not in conflict with the new model of I&O.

Takeaway for I&O leaders

To maximize the business benefits of digital transformation, I&O must transform as well. There is so much more to say about this subject – no blog post can cover the full range of considerations. For insights into the specifics of transforming I&O in the digital age, I recommend the Gartner report, “How to Build Digital Business Excellence by Reinventing I&O.

I would also recommend that you read the 12th edition of Capgemini’s flagship publication, the Digital Transformation Review, focusing on taking digital transformation to the next level: Lessons from the leaders.

In the meantime, we’d love to talk to you about your I&O transformation. Please reach out to me, so that we could share ideas and explore possibilities. Let’s get together.