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Current IT infrastructures are failing to meet new workplace demands

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(Image credit: Image Credit: Helloquence / Unsplash)

The digital economy is reshaping how private and public enterprises create and deliver value. 

In addition to mass economic and business uncertainty, Covid-19 has increased demand on global internet infrastructure, forcing organizations to re-think operations. This has created new challenges for IT operations, as centralized infrastructure isn’t designed for the flexibility required in the modern digital workplace.

In order to evolve and adapt to the trends and challenges of today’s digital economy, a decentralized infrastructure is key. Why? Modern infrastructures help to remove data gravity barriers, accommodate distributed workflows, solve global coverage challenges and integrate the physical and virtual worlds. Due to the accelerated rate of change, more enterprises are learning that operational changes resulting from digital transformation and data gravity must be addressed. Data centers, cloud systems, departmental servers, and the digital devices are now vital for remote employees to stay connected to each other and to the company’s data. 

So how can IT infrastructure be transformed seamlessly to make digital transformation work for the workplace, not against it? While there is no one size fits all approach, a scalable and flexible digital transformation strategy is crucial to manage the current crisis and beyond. By using digital technology, companies are better equipped to lead the way in this new business environment by being purpose driven, resilient and scalable.

With this challenge in mind, Australian organizations must take a deeper dive into the typical IT infrastructure, and better understand what is required for a modern digital workplace.

Key challenges for today’s enterprises

The use of interconnection technologies will continue to grow at a rapid pace as enterprises continue to work remotely. According to Digital Realty’s local research, approximately 90 percent of Australian businesses are concerned about how they will deal with the increasing quantities of data. It is clear that today’s IT infrastructures are faced with similar limitations when it comes to an increase in usage that results in performance and network-bound bottlenecks.

Legacy systems are not equipped to manage the high volume of data being created, and the ability to process information and turn it into real-time insights, is still lacking. In addition, legacy infrastructure makes it difficult to understanding where data lives within the hybrid and/or multi-cloud environment. This visibility is critical for maintaining regulatory compliance at the technical and business level. As organizations invest more into cloud services, each additional risk point must be assessed and secured in real-time.

Legacy infrastructure is not architecturally designed to address the performance, scalability and security issues that exist in modern-day organizations. By moving IT systems toward a decentralized infrastructure, enterprises can accommodate distributed workflows and map them by participant, application and location-specific requirements. While infrastructure standardization is the end-goal, there are still enterprises that remain in the early stages of their digital transformation journey. 

The building blocks for decentralization

In today’s hybrid, multi-cloud environment, infrastructure and operations leaders must plan for increasingly disparate data now being created at the edge. Enterprises looking to scale their businesses globally, must build a holistic platform and strategy underpinned by agile and scalable infrastructure. In order to prioritize infrastructure that is optimized for the digital workplace, enterprise need to be focusing on solutions that enable:

  • Users to connect to network hubs with high performance, scalable connectivity to the cloud, data and apps to support their workflow
  • Regionally located users to connect to hubs in proximity to them and be equipped with localized data and applications to support a performant user experience
  • Security controls at the edge to reduce performance barriers while providing end-to-end measurement

To both enable the correct engagement and improve the quality of experience, IT infrastructure must focus on a location-based design. By moving toward a decentralized strategy, enterprises can interconnect participants at centers of data exchange “zones” that enable distributed workflows within a digital workplace. Aggregating profile details, determining the deployment strategy and selecting footprints will need to be achieved in line with establishing how workloads will be deployed, across public, private or hybrid cloud. This will depend on the scale and services required to support the workload and the positioning of services, in-cloud or adjacent to the cloud.

Many Australian enterprises have already moved to hybrid multi-cloud environments, across verticals such as healthcare, agriculture, asset and facility management, to improve efficiencies and customer experience. The Telsyte Australian Digital Workplace Study 2020 revealed that 45 percent of Australian organizations are looking to increase cloud infrastructure spending into 2020/21. Further to this, approximately 75 percent of Australian businesses are shifting investment toward workplace modernization during the next 12 months.

The multi-cloud environment provides flexibility and enhances risk management however can introduce complexities when trying to host data and applications across environments. It’s important to consider what applications and data you put where and why, as well as factor in the cost of re-engineering and re-architecting to a new digital environment when looking to achieve senior level buy-in.

Durability in the new digital economy

The digital workplace doesn’t have to put the durability of an enterprise at risk. The right approach to an optimized infrastructure, can mean the difference between keeping a business on life support or thriving in the new digital economy.

Different industries and markets will undergo this kind of transformation at varying speeds; however, all are working toward the same goal in order to prioritize resiliency in a more globally connected world. Despite the complexities that come with digital transformation, there is no doubt that a purposefully embedded strategy will pay off in the immediate future.

The benefits for a platform-driven model for cloud management and orchestration include:

  • Enhanced resilience of IT infrastructure, business operations and data governance including data privacy and security
  • Accelerated adoption and deployment between business functions and subsidiaries
  • Improved business continuity and productivity which supports a multi-device and multi-location workforce

As infrastructure and operations leaders adapt to change and embrace new ways of working, seeking tools that challenge the silos of data visibility and solve data gravity will be key to building a future-proof environment. We can expect to see greater collaboration between infrastructure architects and providers, as trusted partners can empower enterprises in their digital transformation journey and in re-designing IT infrastructures to reflect a modern digital workplace.

  • Is your IT infrastructure set up to support innovation?

Rod Glover, Director of Data Centre Operations, Digital Realty