Ask the Expert with Myriad360: Best Practices for Finding and Implementing the Right Technology for Your Business
Timothy Brown, Director Solutions Architecture, Myriad360
Timothy has more than 20 years of experience in network and security engineering and architecture. His background includes experience at equipment manufacturers such as Cisco Systems, internet and application service providers, online content distribution services, and network operations and security operations centers (NOC/SOC). He has been consulting in the enterprise and service provider spaces since 2011, carrying out challenging data center migrations in critical infrastructure environments.
Almost every organization these days relies on some type of technology to run their business, whether to improve their customer experience, advance their products or services, take and process customer orders, hire employees, etc.
For most organizations, finding the right technology to make their business operate better, faster and/or more efficiently can be a daunting task. But it doesn’t have to be. Below Myriad360’s Timothy Brown, Director Solutions Architecture, talks about best practices for identifying, selecting, procuring and deploying the right technology for your business.
Q: In your experience, what is most important when it comes to identifying and selecting the right technology for a business?
A: There are two equally important factors: 1) Having an accurate understanding of both your business and technical requirements; and 2) Understanding your operational maturity. Many organizations try to implement technology that they either aren’t ready for or don’t yet understand the potential implications to their business of implementing. Unfortunately, both of those scenarios can result in an expensive lesson. In addition to thinking about the potential capabilities and costs of a technology, organizations also need to think about whether they’ll be able to successfully manage that technology in the short and long term.
Q: What steps are usually involved in identifying the right technology for a business?
A: At Myriad360, take a “Discover, Design, Deploy and Operate” (DDDO) approach. During the Discovery phase, we try to get a thorough understanding of the business needs, market climate, what’s coming up for the business and what the segment is implementing. Once we have that information, we start deriving the technical requirements and then move on to evaluating how to get the best return on investment from the technology.
Q: Once an organization identifies what type of technology it needs, what are some of the best ways for it to evaluate that technology?
A: There can be several different approaches, depending on the organization. But in general, one of the best ways we’ve found is by doing a “managed proof of concept” bake off with either a single solution or multiple solutions. In other words, we develop test plans and evaluation criteria, and then leverage our professional services team to proctor the evaluation. Whenever you’re evaluating technology, it is vital to get a demo and also do the lab work. Fortunately, we have a great lab environment here at Myriad360 where any engineer can spin up many present, future and past solutions to identify the right fit for their business. Along with this, many original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are moving to a “live demo” model where they can quickly use a cloud provided by an OEM to test technology in a controlled live environment. This enables them to ensure everything is ready before deploying.
Q: With so many solutions available on the market now for IT infrastructure (e.g., On-site, hosted, infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), software as a service (SaaS), public cloud, private cloud, hybrid cloud, etc.), how can an organization know if it is choosing the right ones?
A: It all comes back to the requirements and trust in each solution category mapped back to the organization. The industry as a whole is definitely moving to a model where technologies are continually being virtualized and abstracted. Kubernetes is a great example of that. In light of this, it’s important for organizations to think about the technology picture today as well as how a technology will most likely grow and evolve over time. For instance: How long has a technology been around? Where did it come from? How did it get to its current state? Also, what major business trends are likely to continue or converge? What will the major transition points be for the technology? These are just a few ways to determine if a technology might be right for your organization or not.
Q: What tips or advice would you give organizations about procuring technology?
A: One thing we definitely pay attention to is mergers and acquisitions (M&A) and how well an organization integrates those purchases. M&A can substantially alter your experience with any product or solution, positive or negative. We’ve seen countless organizations make major investments in technology only to find things drastically change once the acquiring company takes over. If an M&A is looming or there is significant organization or technology risk, we like to adopt models that are more short term to maintain agility for our clients. For example, a cloud-based solution that can be consumed and scaled as needed if we think the business requirements might be less relevant in a couple of years because technology or the organization is evolving.
Q: As organizations grow and have more complex needs and more risk exposure, how does that change how they need to identify, select and procure their technology?
A: Every organization underinvests in risk management. And because that underinvestment is chronic, it’s absolutely critical to get value for any money your organization spends. To do that, you need to understand not only the basics of risk, but also what happens if things go wrong. For instance, don’t assume just because you invested in top-level security hardware that you’ll never have a security breach. If you’re just focusing on hardware, you might miss the fact that many security threats originate inside an organization by employees, either intentionally or unintentionally. Thus, organizations need to think about risk on multiple levels, such as business risks, technology risks, security risks, vendor risks, etc. Because of this, it’s often better and more effective to focus on minimizing the potential “blast radius” of risk instead.
Q: Since so many organizations now days have both on-site and remote workers, what are some best practices for identifying and procuring technology that supports both of those needs?
A: Many organizations are moving to a Zero-Trust model. Zero Trust means different things to different people, but for most organizations, the purpose of moving to this model is to enable their employees to work anywhere globally. When your users are anywhere, the traditional approach of having and maintaining a “strong perimeter” with a firewall has little relevance. Consequently, organizations that have large mobile workforces must now focus on protecting confidentiality, integrity and availability all along the chain instead of at just one hardened entry point.
Q: Because technology is always rapidly changing and evolving, what can organizations do to keep their technology as up to date as possible?
A: All technology has a lifespan, meaning whenever an organization buys a technology, at some point that technology will either need to be updated, the manufacturer will stop supporting it, a better technology solution will come along and replace it, etc. Unfortunately, most organizations don’t think about technology that way, so tend to postpone keeping their technology up to date. But, if your organization recognizes that every technology has a lifespan from the start, you can then put a plan in place for how you’re going to operate, manage and deploy that technology, and make security updates. This will allow you to keep your technology up to date and also eliminate the need to incur technical debt later to do that.
Q: What advice would you offer organizations about deploying technology?
A: If you can’t invest properly in maintaining a world-class technical organization, it’s better to either use partners such as Myriad360, managed service providers (MSPs) or other outsourced IT function providers or be cautious about investing in deployments. When you deploy technology, don’t just think about solving your near-term problem; You need to think about solving your long-term problem and contextualize the decision with your overall business in mind. Too many organizations today are trying to solve the wrong problems. Start with the basics first.
For more information on finding and procuring the right technology for your business visit the Myriad360 website at https://myriad360.com/deploy/procure/