A large global telecom giant has defined a clear 2022 vision to emerge as a digital telco. The dream has been carved out on four important pillars of Cloud, Open Source, APIs and DevOps. That appears like ‘the formula’ to transform digitally and evolve a new business model that thrives on customer experience on one hand and operational efficiency on the other.
But a casual interaction with the CIO was quite revealing. He shared the presence of a fifth pillar, often not talked explicitly with the external world. That pillar is of ‘exploiting the current IT infrastructure’ and the ‘investments’ already made into them, to the hilt. And in more than one way, the piece was not completely aligned with the digital dream (as operationalized in the form of four pillars). Well that’s the challenge, a real business challenge.
That’s the voice I have heard from many other CXOs, who wish to fly on the wings of digital, but are drawn downward by the gravity of legacy infrastructure. But then other side of a challenge is an opportunity. As CIOs, that’s an opportunity to innovate. The India Digital Innovation Dialogue, INDID program aims at identifying these innovations that technology leaders are creating in their respective organizations. We intend to many others to be informed, inspired and initiated to define an action plan.
Let us understand what the typical challenges with legacy infrastructure are! I have noticed five broad types of challenges.
1. Broken processes in the IT management domain that leads to inefficiencies due to manual interventions, delays and fatigue induced mistakes
2. Multiplicity of technologies that require patches for them work together, increasing the complexity involved. Imagine if there is a problem, it becomes an uphill task to determine the route cause, leading again to inefficiencies, delays and mistakes.
3. Separation of ‘development’ and ‘operations’ leading to delayed response to business requirement, often resulting into competitive disadvantage
4. Lack of insights that can help determine the causes or issues, both after they occur and even before they could occur, the higher end of sophistication is when the system can be made autonomous.
5. All physical hardware, that does not allow for tight integration, data from, speed of management and ease for people.
Every organization, to varying degrees is facing these downward pressures on their digital dreams and it is extremely important that they be addressed in innovative ways. INDID is discovering such innovative ways from those who have done it and share the learnings many others who may want to do.