IT Infrastructure Modernization: What It Is and How to Start the Process of Modernizing
IT infrastructure modernization has become a hot topic in recent years—and for good reason. Many organizations today still rely on a variety of outdated and inefficient technology to run their business. However, as customer needs have changed and new technologies such as new application frameworks, mobile devices, the cloud, ubiquitous connectivity requirements, and others have emerged over the past several years, finding ways to update and modernize these infrastructures has become paramount.
If your company currently finds itself in this situation, below are a few ideas on how and where to start the process of modernizing:
1. Assess the State of Your Company’s Current IT Infrastructure.
- Take inventory of all the existing technology your company has. Which technology is serving your business well? What isn’t? What needs to be modernized? Is there anything that may make sense to outsource?
- Determine what your company’s biggest pain points, needs, and challenges are.
- Establish your company’s goals and objectives for modernizing. Where is your business today? Where is it trying to go and why? Define what your ideal IT infrastructure looks like over the next five to 10 years, even though this will most likely change over time. (Note: Oftentimes companies look to the past when trying to figure out what type of IT infrastructure they’ll need in the future. But the infrastructure your company previously had most likely won’t be what it needs moving forward. A better approach is to create your new infrastructure based on what you anticipate your company will need, using open standards and open protocols. That way, your new infrastructure will not only be flexible, but easy to update and change later.)
- Consider how you might be able to leverage any changes or refresh cycles that may already be happening to begin the process of modernizing (instead of just focusing on what new devices your company may want to add or replace).
2. Create a Roadmap for Modernizing. Once you know what your business goals are for modernizing, develop a technology roadmap that outlines what your company needs to do to take your IT infrastructure from where it is today to where it needs to be to support those goals.
3. Design Your New IT Infrastructure.
- Prepare a formal plan and prioritize what changes need to be made and in what time frame.
- Partner with a company that understands the current technology landscape (e.g., what new technology options are available, what’s changed, industry and market trends, etc.). Ideally, you want a partner that can help you design your new infrastructure, identify and implement the best technology for your business, and ensure the entire modernization process is conducted in an efficient and effective manner.
4. Build It. Start to build your new IT infrastructure and make any changes needed. Then, over time, continually review and update your ideal state, implement your plans, monitor the results, and adjust any future plans accordingly. We find that the Demming cycle of Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) is a helpful model for this type of continuous improvement.
5. Add More Visibility and Control to Your Technology Infrastructure, and Fine-Tune Your Operations. Throughout the process of modernizing, look for ways to add more automation, orchestration, and analytics to your infrastructure to not only increase your company’s visibility and control, but also improve the overall performance, efficiency, agility, and scale of your technology stack.
6. Strengthen Your Security and Compliance. Many times when a company is modernizing, critical aspects such as security and compliance can get overlooked. But with so many big security and data breaches happening these days, and so many regulations such as Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard [PCI DSS], the Sarbanes-Oxley Act [SOX], the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act [HIPAA], and others, it’s more important than ever for your company to proactively mitigate these risks by baking strong security and compliance directly into your technology infrastructure.
In short, the path to IT infrastructure modernization takes time and doesn’t happen overnight. But when it’s done right, it can significantly increase your company’s flexibility, agility and scale to meet the needs of both your company and customers in a continually changing and evolving world.