Growing cloud adoption has created new challenges for IT teams as they strive to manage both physical and virtual assets. Now, as more organizations aim to become more agile and adopt the ‘anywhere operations’ model to better meet changing demands, the environment is going to become even more complex.
Anywhere operations assumes that employees and customers could be anywhere, and IT teams are going to have to make the model a success for their organization. They’ll have to focus on digital as the default delivery method while enhancing physical spaces digitally. It will mean delivering new capabilities across an even more widely distributed physical and virtual environment – in the cloud and at the edge - and it’s going to require a change in focus and a new way of working.
In a series of blogs, we are introducing anywhere operations and talking about the five key areas Gartner suggests IT teams focus on to manage change:
- Automating endpoint operations
- Adapting infrastructure to new ways of working
- Enhancing end user productivity and collaboration
- Optimizing Cloud and Edge Infrastructure
- Improving the digital experience
Here we will look at the challenges and opportunities of optimizing cloud and edge infrastructure.
Rethink your enterprise cloud strategy
The shift to supporting a more distributed end user base is going to require a rethink of the enterprise IT infrastructure. IT teams need to adopt a flexible approach, leveraging distributed cloud resources that will allow them to adapt quickly to changing demands and support end users wherever they are with the highest performance possible.
Deciding on a cloud migration strategy or enterprise data center move requires careful planning for IT teams to realize cost savings and new flexibilities without disrupting the business. To make intelligent decisions about cloud investment, you need a clear view across your IT enterprise environment and the complex dependencies within it, between users, applications, systems, and equipment. And you are going to have to understand the future needs of your end users and business to right-size your investment.
Without this information how can you plan which workloads should be placed in the cloud and where resources need to be placed to support end users? And how are you going to be able to manage dynamic needs if you can’t see the impact of changes as they happen?
Incorporate edge computing requirements
Another consideration as you investigate requirements for supporting anywhere operations is what you need to implement at the network edge. While anywhere operations requires you to focus on digital as the default experience, you will also need to enhance physical spaces digitally.
If you plan on helping teams collaborate more effectively using technologies such as VR or AR or allow devices to interact more seamlessly with physical spaces, you may need to implement more capabilities at the edge. This adds even greater complexity to the IT environment, and you’ll need to work closely with teams to understand how their demands change over time.
Growing challenge of Shadow IT
It’s not just your teams that’s going to be looking at the network edge. As business teams connect more sensors, machinery, vehicles and other equipment and process data at the network edge to automate operations there are going to be even more headaches in store. While it’s likely that departments may not think to include IT in their digitalization plans – it’s your teams that will be responsible for keeping new connected assets secure and performing as they should.
This practice of making unsanctioned IT-related assets and software, known as shadow IT, isn’t just contained at the network edge. The rise in cloud adoption together with the use of personal devices for work has meant it’s been growing over time. As end users relocated to home offices during the pandemic, many began to use personal devices for work, exacerbating the problem.
Shadow IT presents many risks for enterprises, increasing the possibilities of data breaches and financial penalties. How can IT secure devices or applications or make sure that they are working correctly if they don’t know what’s out there. And how can they be sure they are optimizing resources?
Changing how IT works to meet dynamic demands
To successfully optimize the cloud and edge infrastructure in support of anywhere operations IT teams must become more agile to react quickly to changing end user demands. They need to remove barriers to agility as well as the outdated manual processes that they often use.
For example, it can take months to gain a view of the IT environment when teams manually aggregate and normalize data in static spreadsheets. You need a faster, less-risky approach to analyze your environment and optimize workloads to respond quickly to changing demands.
Planning, workflow execution, and program reporting can also take a colossal amount of time and effort of multiple team members if performed with manual processes built around legacy IT systems. You need a better approach to optimizing cloud and edge infrastructure.
Leverage a digital platform conductor for new agility
Consider using a digital platform conductor (DPC). A DPC connects to and orchestrates your infrastructure management tools and leverages artificial intelligence and machine learning to cut the time, risk, and cost of any IT transformation program.
A digital platform conductor will provide you with the insights you need to optimize your cloud and edge infrastructure. With a clear view of all dependencies you can see how various infrastructure components support workloads across the business, how they are performing, whether you need to make changes to optimize performance and spend, and how and when you should roll out those changes.
Book a demo to understand how ReadyWorks, a digital platform conductor tool, can help you optimize cloud and edge infrastructure for anywhere operations.