Notes for the future: Open standards is the way to go
More and more businesses today are embarking on an IT transformation journey. While they do so, having a consulting service that offers more than just technical expertise is a plus point – they benefit from the input and recommendations from strategic advisers who take a big-picture view of their organisation whilst analysing the challenges faced.
Red Hat’s consultancy and pre-sales arm offers an end-to-end lifecycle of services from solutioning to delivery to maintenance and support. This is a lifecycle approach which they adopt for every organisation or workload that they provide consultancy for, according to its VP of Pre-sales and Consulting Services in Asia Pacific, Sachin Shridhar.
In order to help customers build better infrastructures that are modern, meaning it is scalable, flexible and agile, Red Hat often provides its expertise for four main areas of a customer’s business.
The first area is the overall IT infrastructure. An IT infrastructure should not be the bottleneck during service delivery which is often the case today – apps are becoming more modern, agile and cloud-based, but infrastructure has a hard time keeping up with it and is usually left behind, because it is often seen as a huge sunk investment.
The second area is to help customer’s build better apps. By changing processes, Red Hat enables its customers to develop, deploy and implement the changes within apps at a much faster pace. “Apps become easier to deploy, easier to maintain, easier to scale and it’s agile and not super expensive at the same time,” Sachin explained.
Another area that Red Hat helps organisations with is delivery and operations optimisation. “Most struggle with their budgets being cut year-on-year, just to keep the lights on. All their bandwidth goes towards maintaining legacy and they have no time to think of their innovation agenda,” said Sachin.
By keeping an inventory of what is existing, reuse and optimisation is possible. What’s more encouraging is that it is possible for dollars to go back into the innovation budgets to solve pressing key challenges.
The last area which is significant for Red Hat is the migration from legacy infrastructure and apps to more modern infrastructure for cost reasons and future-proofing. Sachin shared that there is an upcoming concern (among organisations) that what they build is not filling the gaps which has grown overtime. On top of that, there is also the need for organisations to bridge to future technologies, platforms and possibilities.
“New infrastructure has to be adaptable when an organisation moves forward – if there are new technologies out there in 6 to 12 months, can I migrate easily then? That’s the value that open standards and open source is providing today,” Sachin pointed out.
Letters for the future
Open source and open standards are proving to be valuable as organisations are not locked in to one vendors’ solutions. They are presented with more choice, adaptability, agility, and hence opportunity to save costs. As such, businesses are future-fit.
According to Sachin, here are some observations around future-proofing trends for businesses.
“Organisations are still dealing with what’s out there. Future trends are future possibilities. You need to know that your architecture is open enough to accommodate them – integrate with third-party platforms or any technology there happens to be five years from now. This holds a lot of appeal for many forward-thinking organisations.”
Future-proofing one’s environment is not just a one-off exercise, but a continuous effort. Organisations that succeed in this are most often those who practice open standards in the way that they operate their business. This is also reflected in the organisation’s culture and adaptation.
Sachin cited the example of financial services industries (FSIs). For instance, if they want everything to be built on APIs, they need an open architecture for integration, not just within their organisation but also with other organisations. He also provided another example within the retail industry in which he shared “They integrate via APIs with other innovative forms of payment options. These are the ones who are thinking of proofing themselves for the future.”
According to Sachin, there isn’t a lot of difference when it comes to approaching different customers to offer consulting services. It is always a three-step process involving the 3 “Ds” of discovery, designing and deploying.
Some verticals react faster based on what’s happening in their market place. For instance, there is more disruption happening in finance versus oil and gas – the speed of need to change from vertical to vertical varies according to how digitally disruptive the sector is. Considering this, it is evident that the marketplace influences how actively the industry would adopt digital transformation and how aggressive the change plans to be digitally relevant, would be.
Sachin also shared that most innovation happen in customer-facing functions, although there is also demand to modernise infrastructure for more efficient backend operations.
“It does require, for example the FSI, to look internally and say there has to be continuous improvement of legacy IT as well as a charter to continuously innovate in terms of managing infrastructure better,” he said.
Technology is only one piece
Any technology endeavour has to happen with change management in place — for both people and processes. “(Organisational) agility is an intersection of people, tech and processes. Hence, our discovery session is an important part. We have to correlate what IT wants to do with what the business wants. Agility can come from processes and workflows being quicker as well, so there has to be the right change management culture implemented,” explained Sachin.
“While IT and its advancement plays an integral part of a business’ digital transformation journey, people, processes and automatization needs to be taken into account. Coupled together, these elements need to be looked at as a holistic piece. By doing so, businesses are able to adjust their investments and increase their total cost savings,” said Sachin when citing a customer from the banking industry in Indonesia.