Nov 02 2015

Red8 is thrilled to share this new post from IDC’s Senior Vice President of Enterprise Infrastructure and Datacenter, Matt Eastwood. Recently Matt keynoted Red8’s 2015 RealCloud Summit and shared his vast industry expertise on the digital enterprise in the 3rd platform era.  Read his thoughts on the Summit and how new business processes are driving new IT challenges:

Red8 held their 5th annual RealCloud Summit at the Balboa Bay Club & Resort in Newport Beach, California on September 9th-11th. The event provided an opportunity to hear from Red8 executives and partners over the span of three days. Event attendees participated in an interactive conversation regarding how digital transformation is creating new business opportunities and also impacting strategic planning exercises inside their organizations. This year’s Red8 event leveraged “Automate the Routine, Focus on the Amazing” as a theme and dug into strategies required to transform, connect and protect applications and data in the 3rd platform era. I had the pleasure of keynoting the event and presenting my thoughts on the digital enterprise. I witnessed attendees that were clearly focused on better understanding IT’s role in delivering a successful digital transformation particularly as it relates to 3rd platform IT including data analytics, cloud infrastructure, security, and compliance. The remainder of this article focusses on how new digital business processes are driving new IT challenges.

In the 3rd platform era, IDC sees large and small enterprises working aggressively to understand what digital transformation means to both their businesses and their IT infrastructure. The continued emergence of cloud, mobile, advanced analytics and social technologies have created a business and technology platform which change customer expectations while presenting new opportunities for businesses competing in essentially all industries. IDC continues to note that “fast” beats “slow” and organizational size is no longer a strategic competitive advantage particularly for companies undergoing profound change. In short, the 3rd platform has created an environment where differentiation in the business will increasingly be achieved through applications and data with legacy IT no longer up to the challenge.

IDC’s Digital Transformation MaturityScape suggests that most organizations are evolving from a 2nd platform IT organization that provides cost-effective, secure, reliable operations into 3rd platform businesses that have the ability to innovate and achieve digital market leadership. These businesses are working to create both a flexible IT organization and an agile IT infrastructure in order to bring these new technologies together and compete more effectively in this digitally driven market place.  IT executives will inevitably sit at the forefront of this digital transformation as they plan how the IT organization can help businesses by enabling internal business processes, digital business models, and creating IT-enabled products and services.

Organizationally, IT needs to bring their compute, storage, networking and security teams closer together so that they can become more operationally efficient and agile. IDC continues to see most IT groups spending far too much time of rudimentary tasks such as provisioning, patching, monitoring, troubleshooting and vendor meetings. Taken together, the typical IT organization spends approximately 80% of their IT staff time and budget maintaining existing IT services. Leaving precious little resource for innovation. In the digital marketplace, siloed IT resources will quickly inhibit an organization’s ability to compete effectively.

IDC also believes that the core IT infrastructure will increasingly leverage software-defined integrated systems as standard building blocks. These integrated systems are differentiated from traditional hardware platforms and architectures in that they are designed to be deployed quickly using a modular building-block approach to rapidly scale up resources and workloads. Because these integrated technologies are pre-integrated and engineered to optimize internal east-west network traffic within the system, they are simpler to deploy and maintain while reducing processing and network overhead and latency. IDC research indicates that many IT organizations are adopting integrated systems as a means of simplifying their IT environments while introducing provisioning speed, agility and lowering opex and capex cost. Finally, companies are striving to expand the reach of security by better controlling access to information and by utilizing threat intelligence in order to anticipate threats. IDC believes that enterprises will be looking for solutions that are closely aligned with the applications and data they are looking to protect in these highly virtualized hybrid environments.

To succeed in 3rd platform era, customers need to simplify IT operations by reducing operating expense and increasing IT staff efficiency. This will enable enterprises to chase new business opportunities through IT-led initiatives as all business becomes increasingly digital. This will place IT at the forefront of a number of decisions aimed at transforming business processes and operational efficiencies; transforming work and employee productivity; transforming customer relationships and increasing buyer loyalty and transforming products and services revenue streams. IDC believes that IT will assume a critical role in the forthcoming digital reinvention as IT positions itself as a business innovation platform. For this to happen the IT group will require re-organization and the IT infrastructure will need to become a flexible software-defined environment with next gen security engineered in from the beginning.

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