by Béatrice Rollet
- Group CTO Innovation & Digital – Cloud Services, Director
IT and digital are now the major contributors toward business innovation. They are reinventing customer experience, securing openness to the partner ecosystem, energizing employee collaboration and improving operational efficiency. Agility and cross-functionality are changing traditional approaches and reducing time-to-market, while improving competitiveness.
CIOs dealing with a highly diversified IT portfolio must integrate the most advanced technologies to take advantage of Big Data and Artificial Intelligence. This digitalisation implies relying on existing IT assets, whether in terms of processes, applications or infrastructure. According to Gartner, for every dollar invested in digitalisation in 2020, three dollars will have to be invested in the modernisation of IT assets. Therefore, opting for the right evolution strategy becomes a crucial issue.
Which evolution strategies for your IT assets?
Faced with business entities that want to gain speed and continuously innovate, CIOs must find the right balance between research budgets and operating costs.
Several strategies for the evolution of IT assets are therefore available to companies wishing to go through modernisation. Depending on their needs and existing situation, organizations can choose to rely on one strategy or, indeed, a combination:
Modernise applications to create new services
Migrate to the Public or Hybrid Cloud with a third-party service provider
Maintain and improve assets by relying on software-defined or hybrid approaches
Whatever the chosen strategy, such an evolution requires businesses to have a good knowledge of current IT assets and to project themselves in their future use, as well as in their target environment. However, a perfect knowledge of IT assets is often a test for the IT department, which may not have necessarily invested in a successful Portfolio Management approach, due to a lack of resources or continuity (acquisition).
This holistic and iterative approach requires a combination of in-depth expertise, specific tools and a proven methodology.
Defining objectives & collecting data: the pillars of IT asset knowledge
In order to develop an excellent knowledge of a business’s IT assets, it is necessary to proceed step by step. First of all, a business has to agree on the objectives of this approach at the executive level: improvement of business processes, search for ROI, closure of data centers, and so on. It is also important to bring together a multidisciplinary team within the company. This team must be made up of business resources, developers and operational staff.
The next step is to collect and classify all the data relating to the existing IT assets, which represents a large amount of information. It is then essential to use specific tools for collecting and managing dependencies (flows, libraries, licenses, hardware, etc.). This information must then be supplemented by the perspectives specific to each application. This phase takes the form of qualitative interviews with Business or Application Owners, for example. Before proceeding with a more strategic analysis, it is essential to consolidate and reconcile this information.
Analysis & definition of the action plan
Once the data relating to its IT assets has been collected and classified, a three-step action plan should be followed to develop the IT assets.
In the first stage, the project teams analyze the information collected and establish the various possible scenarios. They challenge the positions in terms of feasibility and innovation, and set a course according to the business priorities identified. This phase leads to the identification of scenarios and development recommendations for each of them. At this stage, the company has an application-enriched identity card.
Next, the teams must examine the use cases in more detail. They then detail and deepen the evolution scenarios for one or more groups of applications. This new phase thus makes it possible to precisely identify the sources of savings that can finance the digital transformation.
Finally, all the scenarios will be presented in the form of a roadmap, including deployment recommendations. At this stage, it is essential to involve all levels of the company.
Thanks to this methodology, organizations can build, in a short period of time, a clear action plan to support their strategies for the evolution of their IT assets, whatever the strategy chosen: modernisation of applications to innovate, migration to the cloud or infrastructure improvements.