Good afternoon! While cost and efficiency are likely the centerpieces of any company's push towards IT modernization, the other benefits can be hugely important to getting the green light. With this week's Braintrust question, we asked the experts to think about what those secondary benefits are and how a case for transformation can be strengthened. Questions or comments? Send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wendy M. Pfeiffer
CIO at Nutanix
In-place IT modernization is not possible without an introspective cycle that includes an analysis of current versus desired state. This thoughtful analysis produces detailed documentation that is the most important secondary benefit of IT modernization. This documentation forms the basis of new operational run books, and those run books inform IT's secure deployment of hybrid and autonomous business operations.
As we move forward to enable our multi-generational global workforce to work securely and productively everywhere, these detailed written operating instructions form the foundation necessary for innovative and efficient asynchronous work. Coupled with an aggressive IT modernization roadmap inclusive of a hybrid cloud operating model, and supported by near-autonomous operations, this documentation enables any employee or machine learning tool to operate IT infrastructure and services securely, productively and effectively.
The reality is, every company is a software company and the ones that aren't modernizing are already far behind.
Legacy tech stacks are brittle and slow. Companies that don't upgrade are actively accruing their tech debt, meaning that resources are spent maintaining and fixing bugs, rather than focusing on building the company, products and customers.
In addition, it severely limits the ability to recruit and retain world-class talent, especially in today's competitive market. People want to work for mission-driven companies and solve complex problems without the clunkiness of old tools. Modernizing your IT helps foster a more innovative culture, allowing employees to build things that matter to them while allowing the company to ship new products that delight their customers.
The tools are out there. By investing in new IT systems, companies can build and scale faster, easier and cheaper with less infrastructure overhead.
When talking about IT modernization, many companies are focused on creating more efficient systems. But one of the top benefits of modernizing IT infrastructure is in doing so, you improve application delivery and connectivity while also providing companies with a platform for innovation. Applications are changing how we live, work and play; digital experiences shape our daily lives and expectations for what's possible. Today, applications are driving digital transformation, by bringing to light the need for more robust infrastructure. The innovative organizations that are building and delivering modern application experiences are shaping the future of the $100 trillion global digital economy.
Inflexible, legacy infrastructure and tools require an increasing percentage of budget and maintenance hours to meet application delivery requirements, slow down deployments and put you at risk for outages or downtime. Also, delivering today's applications using yesterday's infrastructure and tools limits your team's ability to innovate and deploy at a global scale.
The primary benefits of IT modernization need no explanation — we've all spent the past two years living through a case study on the benefits of modern IT systems and digital transformation. However, there are a number of secondary benefits that provide value not just from a technology standpoint, but as an improvement to company culture and the health of an organization.
Innovation does not spring from yesterday's technology. Enterprises focused on improving customer experiences and driving growth through innovation need to give their employees the appropriate tools and support to accomplish those goals — and more importantly, to beat the competition. That can't be accomplished if the IT organization is not supporting modern applications, multicloud or other modernization efforts.
Innovation goes hand in hand with talent. Whether an organization is seeking to attract, retain or develop talent, a work environment that is empowered with technology is a major benefit. This is obviously true for technical roles like software development or where there is deep understanding of technology and strong opinions about what makes for a cutting-edge workplace. But IT touches everyone, and no employee wants to work on a 20-year-old, stitched together application if they can move on to the next job and work with the latest SaaS option.
Finally, modernization reduces risk. Not only do modern systems allow for modern approaches to cybersecurity — zero-trust architectures, SASE, etc., — but it also eliminates the risk of old systems failing at inopportune moments.
Senior VP and Head of Sales and Engagements for Cloud, Infrastructure & Security Services at Infosys
In addition to costs and improvement in processes, there are several benefits of IT modernization. To begin with, the most important benefit is that enterprises can move their IT to an as-a-service model leveraging hybrid cloud which helps them create a variable cost structure with flexibility to ramp up and ramp down their IT resources as per business cycles and demand - thereby leveraging on-demand IT to deliver business agility. Modernization also helps to reduce technology debt and risk from technology vulnerabilities, which in turn significantly improves their security posture. Many enterprises have also modernized their network infrastructure, as part of their IT modernization, by embedding security in the design which has helped them embrace Software-defined Network, thereby improving the experience they are able to deliver. So, in summary, modernization helps improve agility and bring speed, help the company adopt an on-demand, as-a-service IT model, enhance the IT experience for the business and improve the company's security posture.
While the above helps from the technology standpoint, modernization has also helped create newer business models. For example, On Demand Hybrid Cloud Infrastructure can help with better consumer insights which in turn helps accelerate the launch of new products and solutions and helps expand enterprise business into new markets.
So, when you address modernization from a technology and business standpoint, it helps enterprises to rejuvenate the core, innovate for the future and champion a culture of experimentation with fail fast, learn faster models.
Kevin McAllister ( @k__mcallister) is a Research Editor at Protocol, leading the development of Braintrust. Prior to joining the team, he was a rankings data reporter at The Wall Street Journal, where he oversaw structured data projects for the Journal's strategy team.