Business transformation through technology is happening faster and more pervasively than any other point in history. In today’s connected, mobile, application-based world, organizations must constantly innovate to satisfy the appetite for customers who expect quick and reliable service at their fingertips, on any device they choose. With the latest advancements in cloud technology, the ability to modernize for better security, greater functionality, and workforce efficiency is now within reach of organizations of all sizes.
When it comes to facilitating innovation, modern IT management is essential. Gone are the days where IT was simply concerned with operations. Today, IT infrastructure is the foundation upon which a company can continue to transform products and services, accelerate operations, and empower users to do more with less.
But even with all this focus on innovation in the cloud, there still seems to be a lot of confusion around how to get from the “legacy state” to the “dream state” – a fully cloud-managed platform – while avoiding potential risks along the way, such as deployment failure, security threats, and an inability to keep up with constant change.
Common Challenges of Modern IT Management
If your business is brand new, the path to modern IT management is relatively straight-forward – start building in the cloud. However, most companies don’t have the luxury of starting with a blank slate. If you’re a well-established business, many of your mission-critical applications have been built on-premises. Over the years, they’ve become bloated or inefficient, which means they’ll still be bloated and inefficient in the cloud. Furthermore, most applications developed in a pre-cloud era are not naturally suited for cloud environments. Issues around security, compliance, and compatibility issues, especially when it involves migrating mission-critical applications, are top of mind for all businesses as they embark on their modernization journeys.
When transitioning from a legacy state to a dream state, how will you know what to keep, what to add, what to turn off, and in what order? In other words, how do you modernize for success in the future while keeping the business running today?
This is where having a roadmap to modern IT management is essential.
As you progress down the path towards modernization, you’ll inevitably need more digital experts as new innovations will require a new set of skills. For many mid-size organizations, this means partnering with a group of experts who can provide a clear, often staged approach to modern IT management in the cloud.
The Path to Modern IT Management in the Cloud
The path to modern IT management begins by assessing where your organization is in terms of legacy systems and innovation. In collaboration with various areas of the business, you can build an inventory of your existing IT inventory.
Once you know where you are, you can begin to define where you want to go. This process involves aligning the right tools and processes to your corporate strategy. It’s important that both business and IT executives and managers are involved in the processes from start to finish to ensure that decisions are based on business constraints, dependencies, priorities, and budget. This is where a digital strategists like BDO Digital can help bridge the gap. Ultimately, your modernization management strategy should be envisioned with three main objectives in mind:
- Reduce Cost: Reduce the number of redundant infrastructure and services and only pay for what you use.; decrease the cost of maintaining an older IT infrastructure to open up space to embark upon new innovative IT initiatives that provide greater value to the organization.
- Mitigate Risk: Leverage the latest cybersecurity technology that includes systems which can easily be patched and updated. Proactively build cybersecurity into new technology investments.
- Accelerate Transformation: Build a modern infrastructure in the cloud where you can more readily and easily drive your company’s mission and thrive in today’s rapidly changing business environment.
A Look at a Modern IT Management Roadmap
A modern IT management roadmap presents a comprehensive view of your organization’s technology strategies in the right sequence. While the details of each roadmap may look different for each unique organization, the following example gives you an idea of what a common path may look like to help you devise your own transformation strategy.
RETHINK USER EXPERIENCE & MANAGEMENT
Traditional desktop and laptop image and deployment takes up a large amount of IT resources and time. It comes with the burden of having on-premises hardware, licensing, staff expertise, and a regular cadence of management, maintenance, and troubleshooting. Self-service technology such as AutoPilot, along with Azure AD and Intune marks the start of modern user experience and management.
Modernizing Windows deployment with AutoPilot allows IT professionals to automate the deployment and management of new PCs. With just a few clicks, you can have a fully-configured device ready for use! This creates an exciting opportunity to increase efficiencies in ways that will save time, money, and ultimately free up IT resources to focus on more value-added initiatives that drive the business forward.
REMOVE INFRASTRUCTURE COST AND DEPENDENCIES
As company databases continue to expand and become more complex, running these databases on-premises means a lot of tedious management and unnecessary hardware costs. Cloud-based services like IaaS RDS is one of the bottom-most fundamental layers of cloud computing, allowing IT to stay ahead of this growth. No need to buy, rack, and stack hardware. With just one click, companies can scale up or down depending on business needs and only pay for what they use. From a business perspective, the most obvious benefit of moving infrastructure to the cloud is reduced cost and greater flexibility.
With these benefits comes the opportunity to leverage other cloud-based services and applications. We often see organizations take advantage of services such as Cloud Print, which lets you print from anywhere to any printer location with ease. Some other common applications that are the first to make their way to the cloud include Exchange Online for secure and reliable email management, as well as SharePoint Online for streamlined collaboration among colleagues.
REALIZE MODERN IT
The “Dream State” of modern IT management is a place where the business operates on a fully cloud-managed platform. For most organizations, this state is not realistic or even advisable in the present day. However, as previously noted, the cloud is where tomorrows technology will be built. Companies should begin acting now to transform outdated legacy applications to the cloud so they can more readily embrace the next level of innovation.
One area of management that we often see moving to the cloud at this stage is managing Active Directory security policies. GPO management for individual users and computers is a time-consuming task. With Intune, you can enroll devices under a cloud-based service to comply with your corporate policies and help you manage both corporate and personal (BYO) devices. Taking it a step further, organizations can ultimately ditch on-premises Active Directory completely and move to using Azure Active Directory in the cloud.
The Time for IT Modernization is Now and Always
In a roadmap to modern IT management, it’s important to note that the transformation is equally as much about culture as it is about technology. The tools and practices outlined above are part of the transformation, but the true measure of success is how well your people can embrace the change that comes with rapid innovation. And once you reach your destination, the journey continues.
The time for IT modernization is now and always. It is the “continuous evolution of an organization’s existing application and infrastructure software, with the goal of aligning IT with the organization’s ever-shifting business strategies.” BDO Digital works closely with organizations to define what they want to achieve and work directly with both business and IT leaders to set clear objectives for their IT modernization projects.