The evolution of digital technologies such as cloud, mobile, analytics and social, will inevitably have an impact on IT within the enterprise. Fueled by the Internet of Things (IoT), Gartner (1) forecasts that there will be some 20 billion ‘connected things’ in use by 2020 – a truly remarkable figure. At an enterprise level, it is safe to assume that organisation’s will have to adapt their infrastructure in order to support the proliferation of connected devices, applications and services that will inevitably emerge to exploit the opportunities this creates.

How organisations successfully integrate emerging technologies with their existing infrastructure is one of the key challenges CIOs will have to address. In order to take advantage of the business opportunities that digital technologies offer, there is no doubt that the infrastructure will have to evolve, with more automation being a core requirement. However, the reality for many large established organisations is that their infrastructure has grown incrementally over several decades, which has resulted in a complex, disjointed and often inflexible infrastructure, which requires extensive manual intervention and does not necessarily lend itself to the integration of new technologies.

Exception has always considered the infrastructure to be the backbone of any enterprise – and as such we believe it is key that organisations develop strategies and roadmaps to address how they will support the enormous increase in devices and data that digital and IoT are likely to bring. Many organisations have already started on this journey by using virtualisation technologies to consolidate and virtualise infrastructure resources, as well as automating build and associated processes to provide a more dynamic allocation of resources.

However, this is just the start of the journey and the future infrastructure will need to provide a range of new capabilities to meet business demands. It will need to be more agile, more dynamic, and able to cope with massive scale, whilst continuing to provide security, reliability and high-availability. It should be able to self-optimise to support continuously changing workloads, and it must allow seamless access to resources that are located both on and off premise. A software defined environment or software defined infrastructure is the term often used to describe an infrastructure where the components – networking, storage, compute and security – are virtualised and delivered as a service, using policy-based automation and analytics to configure resources for the prevalent workload. The provisioning and operation of the entire infrastructure is therefore entirely automated by software.

Within this context, Cloud solutions have become highly appealing as businesses look at how to scale their infrastructure. A cloud solution can significantly reduce the challenge of building out the infrastructure, which must be able to scale and retract when necessary to meet increased load and ensure availability requirements. Cloud can offer significant benefits by enabling IT to transition resources from the data centre to be delivered as a service. This provides an opportunity for organisations to reduce hardware and related data centre support and infrastructure maintenance costs.

Developing an infrastructure to meet the future challenges of the digital economy cannot be underestimated. Start-ups tend to move at a very different rate and are able to innovate the customer proposition very quickly. Large incumbent businesses with legacy systems tend to have a problem moving at that rate. Therefore they need to start planning early or risk being left behind. Technology maturity, internal skills, organisational structure, service risk and commercial models are just some of areas that will have to be addressed on this journey. Exception has been helping our clients to plan, design and deploy infrastructure for well over a decade. Our Digital & Technology Consulting  services have been specifically developed to advise clients on the optimal ways to use technology to transform the infrastructure and position it for the future. If you are planning to develop a future state infrastructure or are looking to deploy and integrate digital technologies contact Exception today for more information.

(1) http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/3165317

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