Is it time for leaders of infrastructure and operations (I&O) to look into their relevance in the experience-centric economy?
The contribution of information technology (IT) to the enterprise value of businesses has reached new levels. This is primarily driven by organizations competing and differentiating at scale based on the ability to:
- Simultaneously meet their customers' needs across different channels
- Define brand, product, value proposition, and competitive edge instantly
- Compete for customer mindshare and revenue while delivering unique experiences
Customer acquisition and retention activities have undergone a significant change in the new experience-centric economy. This has resulted in value erosion of the innovative solutions of enterprises.
Historically, business and application owners were responsible for architecting outward delivery experiences. The new norm is to move the entire IT ecosystem towards active engagement of existing and potential customers.
The role of cloud and infrastructure services and the leadership at Zensar has shifted from gatekeepers of uptime and budget to guardians of customer mind share.
For cloud and infrastructure teams to deliver outcomes in line with their new role, they need to move away from traditional ways and build a foundation anchored on digital transformation efficiencies.
So, where do I&O leaders begin?
They need to start by moving away from the status quo.
It is time to analyze spends on critically:
- Location – On-premises, hosted provider, and hyper-scale cloud provider (approximately 8-10% of total spend)
- If most contracts are still traditional on-premises, enterprises are losing relevance and need to rethink existing relationships with consultants, irrespective of how long it took to build
- If most contracts are on the public cloud and face cost pressures, I&O leaders need to look for more qualified and experienced vendors and consultants
- If there exists a balanced hybrid structure, leaders have passed the first litmus test
- Hardware – Computation, storage, network, and backup (approximately 20-25% of total spend)
If the hardware is a traditional Tier 3 infrastructure, I&O leaders need to refresh the technology and look for vendors providing better solutions.
- Software (approximately 25-30% of total spend)
A subscription-based enterprise agreement model is the best choice today. Organizations should build infrastructure to leverage the full potential of each software license. I&O leaders should embrace change and evaluate the best solutions for adoption, licensing, and architecture. There is a need to keep evolving and realizing new possibilities constantly. The company and customers should come first in all decisions.
- Services (approximately 40% of total spend)
The ideal ratio of bots to full-time human equivalents (FTEs) should be around 4:1.
- Bots must drive all level 1 (L1) tasks
- Heuristic platforms should gradually take over level 2 (L2) tasks
- All efforts should be categorized as "IT SuperAdmin" or site reliability engineering (SRE) tasks. The segregated engineering roles (storage, computation, virtualization, operating system, active directory (AD), backup, disaster response (DR), and network) must converge into a single role. This requires rapid assimilation of tools, platforms, and frameworks through workforce skill transformation and partnerships with new managed service providers focused on technology.
- Relationship with consultants
It is necessary to re-assess relationships with consultants. Traditional experts and consultants may be focused on maintaining relationships over customer and vendor experiences. Accordingly, they may be overlooking the innovation potential of startups and new transformational players who can significantly impact outcomes while minimizing FTE and associated costs. This may be partly due to reluctance in rewriting existing requests for proposal (RFPs) to include new players that could shrink the contract size.
Finally, everything comes down to priority. Who or what is prioritized first? Is it the customer, company, or relationship with consultants? The choice is tough to make since the I&O leadership will be evaluated based on its decisions. However, with the shift to an experience-centric economy, every I&O leader must acknowledge these challenges and act decisively — and put the company and customers first.