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Perform While You Transform – The Impossible Dream?
Neil Forster, Vice President, Global Platform Engineering
Monday, June 25, 2018

Virgin’s Richard Branson famously said “Complexity is your enemy. Any fool can make something complicated. It is hard to keep things simple”.

Boy, was he right. In fact, according to a recent report, despite having launched digital transformation projects, more than 70% of CIOs today find it hard to balance performance across their IT estates with much-needed innovation. They’re too busy battling the complexities of hundreds of legacy applications, some decades old, often compounded by M&A activity. Trying to keep the lights on with flawless security and compliance, knowing that any lapse could be career-breaking, is more than a full-time job. So where’s the time for innovative transformation?  

Some of the biggest challenges for CIOs are to do with governance – including monitoring and service management. Mission-critical applications might be held on outdated, end-of-life systems that are no longer supported by their manufacturers, leaving them vulnerable to exploits. The cloud infrastructure isn’t an exception - a staggering 80% of enterprises are either completely blind or have gaps in cloud monitoring*.

A staggering 80% of enterprises are either completely blind or have gaps in cloud monitoring.

Operational noise

Mature organisations face the challenges of legacy while start-ups and greenfield companies get a clean sheet, allowing some to run circles around less agile, more-established organzations. Add to that the consistent ‘operational noise’ that can eat an internal IT team alive, battling daily to keep things running efficiently and securely, leaving little or no time and resource for innovation, and you can see just how challenging this can be.

Internal IT teams are also increasingly less able to scale and adapt to changing market conditions. In a fast moving world that can be a serious issue. They need to make IT sustainable, consistent and readily available but with staff-churn and skill-gaps, particularly with older technolgies like  main-frame, still a major part of the legacy for many organisations, that is never simple.

The truth is, it’s not going to get any easier. We live in a world where IT is constantly called upon to deliver new, disruptive applications. For many organisations, this further exacerbates the complexity with a huge, ever-growing ecosystem with a wide variety of execution venues to manage. 

We live in a world where IT is constantly called upon to deliver new, disruptive applications. For many organisations, this further exacerbates the complexity with a huge, ever-growing ecosystem with a wide variety of execution venues to manage.

But despite these challenges, the smartest CIOs are finding out-of-the-box ways to keep performance running so they can focus on transformation.

Take your pick

For many organizations, they have three choices. To continue to manage internally; to outsource their IT so it is managed by a third party or to partner with a managed services organisation. The first is proving to be unsustainable for many companies; the second has many of the same problems as the first, as only the accountabilty has changed. So the third way would appear to be the right way, allowing organisations to tap into a greater pool of knowledge and expertise as well as utilisation of smart tools and processes that can be applied to great advantage.

Handing over some of the key operational aspects of IT will leave space to transform. After all, very few organisations feel the need to generate their own electricity to keep the lights on. So why should IT outsourcing be any different?

The ‘perform while you transform’ conundrum

This ‘Perform while you Transform’ conundrum is a challenge facing most senior IT professionals today. Only when their  IT systems are running in a reliable, responsive and secure manner, are IT teams able to effectively work on other value-add transformational initiatives, with little distraction. That may sound simple enough, but typically, IT governance, monitoring and service management can involve a myriad of tools for different IT venues, leading to time-consuming complexity. And complexity is the enemy, right?

The winners will get the balance exactly right, but they won’t do it on their own. They’ll get the right help from the right vendor with the right tools and expertise.

“This ‘Perform while you Transform’ conundrum is a challenge facing most senior IT professionals today. The winners will get the balance exactly right, but they won’t do it on their own. They’ll get the right help from the right vendor with the right tools and expertise.”

Future-proof

Transformation is not a destination – it’s an ethos; a way of working that demands energy, creativity and expertise from the CIO and the technology team in particular. There has never been a greater need to reach out for help to turn complexity into simplicity, maintaining performance and leaving you free to transform. 

*According to Gartner, many enterprises are still flying blind when it comes to cloud monitoring. (Source: "Assessing Availability Monitoring and Performance Monitoring in Amazon Web Services." Analyst Joseph Antelmi). Total results: 46.

About the Author

Neil is responsible for the strategic direction and ongoing development of Ensono M.O., the industry’s leading hybrid IT service management platform. Neil has over 20 years’ experience building and running technology solutions and teams that deliver business value and drive operational efficiency.  Neil received a Joint Honours BSc in Maths and Physics from King’s College, University of London