What Is IT Transformation?
IT transformation is the strategy behind preparing your hardware, software, systems, and practices for the challenges of both the present and the future—ensuring your business stays competitive. This means more than upgrading to the latest and greatest in IT infrastructure. It involves making smart investments to your compute, storage, and network layers to achieve the just-right balance of cost, performance, and efficiency, with the ability to scale as needed.
Accomplishing all this depends on the people in your organization. The cultural aspect of IT transformation cannot be overlooked: people are one of the main pillars of a business. Without building support and excitement, project leads may find that colleagues become hurdles to meeting goals. When everyone shares enthusiasm for change, project managers find the creative energy and resources needed to keep momentum going and to ensure IT transformation success.
Thanks to new IT paradigms like cloud computing, small firms are going toe-to-toe with large enterprises, sometimes with greater agility. Meanwhile, enterprises are investing in advanced tools such as artificial intelligence (AI) and predictive analytics to master market trends. On top of all this, businesses increasingly need to prepare for external forces. For example, global health concerns like the COVID-19 pandemic require fast and creative solutions to maintain productivity. Successful IT transformation will prepare businesses to meet these challenges and still thrive.
Benefits of IT Transformation
While your IT transformation blueprint will be unique to your business, the overall benefits are universal. You can use each of the following points as a measurement of success, or start here to define specific key performance indicators (KPIs) in your IT transformation and modernization initiatives.
- Support business growth and get to market fast. Develop and deploy services fast and streamline IT efficiency to support innovation without sacrificing productivity.
- Support easy manageability. Provision workloads intelligently and orchestrate IT corporate policy across the entire network.
- Solve challenges with legacy IT infrastructure. Overcome IT service gaps and bottlenecks, reduce technical debt, break down data silos, and increase the manageability of endpoint devices.
- Achieve low cost. From edge to core to data center, deliver efficient IT cost management that supports economies of scale with low OpEx and a quick return on investment (ROI).
- Enhance security and stability. Safeguard against hackers, identify threats before they do damage, mitigate any harm done, and simplify patch management to keep endpoint devices protected.
IT transformation takes a holistic approach with considered investments and a thoughtful strategy designed to anticipate and meet the specific challenges of your industry.
Steps for IT Transformation
From the thousand-foot view, developing a game plan for IT transformation is the absolute first step. If you work with a managed service provider or other IT consultant, having an initial conversation is a good start. You’ll also want to leverage your business relationships with any suppliers and vendors to get the ingredients you need for your specific IT transformation blueprint. Intel can help provide guidance and connections.
- Understand the need to transform culture: Building enthusiasm for change among internal teams is key. Be prepared to emphasize the potential benefits—agility, cost efficiency, and preparation for future needs—and to demonstrate early wins that help show the business value of IT transformation.
- Align business objectives: Define your vision and determine what IT capabilities you will need to successfully execute. This step also entails getting broad support for your IT transformation initiative from leaders and key players in your organization.
- Define long-term IT goals: What are your measurements for success? Long-term goals should be tied to specific timelines and industry benchmarks to ensure consistent progress.
- Develop a strategy: Implementing IT transformation requires a step-by-step process of streamlining new IT systems with legacy investments without sacrificing productivity. Seek to answer the question of how to get from point A to point B without major service interruptions.
- Determine infrastructure upgrades: Match your IT goals to the hardware and software investments needed to support them. For many organizations, this involves a hybrid, multi-cloud approach.
- Deploy and implement new technology: This is where the rubber meets the road. During and after implementation, retrospectives are important for measuring whether success metrics were met, and for considering ways to adapt and improve on procedural shortcomings.
Focus Areas for a Successful IT Transformation Strategy
IT transformation is a multipronged approach with deep consideration into multiple categories of infrastructure. It involves examining the interoperability between systems, networks, and business policy. The following focus areas cover a lot of ground and can help simplify where you should direct your planning efforts.
Combine Awareness Campaigns with Agile Workflows
IT transformation is only as successful as the culture that supports it. To get people excited about change, it’s important to clearly illustrate which specific problems the transformation can solve for any given business unit. Back up awareness with Agile project management, which will allow you to demonstrate early business value with a minimum viable product. For example, Intel IT used Agile to demonstrate early wins in developing our updated Cyber Intelligence Platform. With Agile, Intel IT did not have to wait until the end of the project to showcase its value.
Adopt a Hybrid, Multi-Cloud Approach
A hybrid, multi-cloud strategy combines the best of your private cloud and public cloud resources. Private clouds, underpinned by software-defined networks (SDNs) and virtualized network functions (VNFs), abstract each of your compute, storage, and network resources into a common pool that makes it easy to allocate workloads regardless of location. By adding public cloud services from providers such as Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud, and others, you can extend beyond your IT capacity. These additional resources can help you manage seasonal spikes, maintain service-level agreements (SLAs) and uptime requirements, and focus on rapid IT delivery.
Overcome Network Bottlenecks
Overcome IT service gaps and bottlenecks by getting optimized performance from your upgraded components. For example, upgrading to the latest Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors can deliver more computational throughput. Adding Intel® Optane™ Solid State Drives helps ensure you can take advantage of this performance by avoiding bottlenecks in the storage layer.
By upgrading compute, storage, and network simultaneously, you can help ensure IT efficiency across your infrastructure. Intel’s Scale IT Up tool helps demonstrate how addressing key upgrades in all layers produces the best-in-class performance and utilization per dollar spent.
Adopt a Data-First Mindset
To make digital transformation a reality, organizations must integrate their data architecture, operating model, compliance, and security. A strong enterprise data strategy will clearly articulate a vision for being data-centric, promote a data-oriented culture, and create “data as a service” so that employees can easily get the data they need.
One key aspect of this strategy involves channeling scattered “data puddles” from across the organization into relevant data lakes. Here, trusted data can be made available across all lines of business and business processes. Teams can analyze and share data across systems through application programming interfaces (APIs). Furthermore, analytics can apply AI and machine learning techniques to data to unlock new insights. Because data is managed and monitored across the enterprise, there’s less risk of exposure or loss.
Tap Into Advanced Analytics and AI
Analytics and AI are driving advanced use cases in every market. They’re solving complex business challenges, advancing scientific research, predicting events and consumer behaviors, and monitoring systems and production lines. Building a foundation for analytics means getting data to where it’s most needed, mainly through virtualizing and aggregating storage layers to increase data availability for scientists and developers.
When it comes to analytics and AI, there is a staggering amount of creativity happening right now, made possible by hardware and software innovations. Here are just a few examples:
- Purpose-built hardware is powering AI at the edge to reduce latency and offload the computational burden from the data center. For example, Intel® Movidius™ VPUs allow for machine vision processing in smart cameras, and Intel® FPGAs can be used in edge devices to support 5G and IoT deployments.
- Software and tools like the Intel® Distribution of OpenVINO™ toolkit deliver optimized performance across multiple types of hardware, giving system designers and developers more choice and flexibility for their use cases.
- For high performance computing (HPC) applications, the Intel® oneAPI IoT toolkit (IoT Kit) offers a common coding language for heterogeneous environments. This accelerates development time and interoperability through a “code once, deploy anywhere” methodology.
Increase Endpoint Manageability
Business-class PCs deliver hardened platforms to help resist security threats, plus encryption and other protection features that won’t sacrifice device performance or hamper worker productivity. Manageability tools help IT departments maintain the PC fleet with effective patch management and remote remediation, cutting the cost of maintenance and repair.
The Intel vPro® platform delivers on these capabilities, bringing you devices built for business. The platform includes Intel® Active Management Technology, which empowers IT as a service by allowing technicians to remotely access and repair networked PCs. And Intel® Endpoint Management Assistant (Intel® EMA) extends these capabilities by enabling cloud-based management of devices both inside and outside the corporate firewall.
Deploy Multilayered Information Security
As more devices connect to the enterprise network, the overall attack surface may increase. A multilayered information security approach includes software protections like antimalware alongside hardware-based security, detection and remediation tools, risk management policies, and an informed, well-trained human perimeter.
Intel® products are engineered with built-in security technologies to help protect potential attack surfaces. These technologies are rooted in silicon, helping create a trusted foundation for computing. As a result, you can better support IT risk management strategies and IT corporate policy. For example, the Intel vPro® platform features Intel® Hardware Shield, which helps protect against attacks below the operating system (OS) and provides advanced threat detection.
IT Transformation vs. Digital Transformation
IT transformation enhances an organization’s ability to adapt to changes in technology and ecosystems through strategic IT upgrades. These investments in compute, storage, and networking can help balance cost versus performance, but they also play a part in digital transformation.
While digital transformation harnesses AI, edge computing, and cloud technology to create operational efficiencies and business insights, doing this successfully requires a modern, agile IT infrastructure capable of handling complex data and integrating with operational technology (OT) systems.
Intel® Technologies and Solutions for IT Transformation
IT transformation is more than just a few hardware upgrades. It takes a holistic approach with considered investments and a thoughtful IT strategy designed to anticipate and meet the specific challenges of your industry. It also takes into account the broad challenges posed by data growth and an increasingly competitive landscape with complex digital threats.
With a deep understanding of the full IT ecosystem, from endpoints to data centers to governance and business policy, Intel can offer guidance throughout your IT transformation journey. Once you have all the tools you need to thrive today, you can take on the world of tomorrow.