The ability to adapt to business requirements a key CIO priority

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The Internet of Things (IoT) is driving digital transformation across industries.

That said, legacy infrastructure could be preventing organisations from successfully making this transition.

This is the view of George Kalebaila, International Data Corporation Sub-Saharan Africa Senior Research Manager.

“Organisations will have to invest in systems that are not application specific,” he says.

“Architectural approaches such as software-defined networking, which decouples the control logic from the underlying switching and routing, will be critical as it will also be far more flexibility.”

This allows organisations to easily allocate resources where they are needed in real time, making network resources such as compute and programmable.

“This allows the infrastructure to scale and move with time and changes are made at an application level. The network layer can easily be programmed to do what you need it to do because the logic is removed from the hardware and included in the software. This means you can just reallocate and align those resources to whatever new business requirement you may have.”

Building a software-defined enterprise is one of the topics which will be discussed at the upcoming IDC South Africa CIO Summit, taking place at Emperors Palace from the 20 to 21 April 2016.

The discussion will highlight how organisations will have to relook at their service delivery models and enable automation to become truly digital.

Kalebaila believes that it is important for organisations to embrace open standards.

“Firstly, adopting open standards means that you do not get locked into one specific vendor. Secondly, you are able to harness the power of best in class and select the best vendor for a specific application or use case that you want to implement. This allows you to have a multi-vendor environment provided it supports and adopts open standards,” he adds, however, that you must have the right processes in place within your internal environment that support agility and the ability to adapt to changing business requirements.

“We don’t know what applications we will be running in the next 3 to 5 years, but if the company has infrastructure that is agile and flexible enough, then they will be able to recalibrate and put new business processes in place that satisfy the requirements of the new applications.”

There has been a definitive shift from a network-centric approach to an application and service-centric approach.

“The IT department in an organisation exists to give a service, not to be a bottleneck. The applications that an organisation needs to run to fulfil their business needs should dictate the network environment, not the other way around,” says Kalebaila.

The business imperative, therefore, drives what the environment looks like.

“In the past, the IT department would tell the business what infrastructure is in place and what applications can be run. Today, however, the business is telling IT what they want to do and IT is then tasked with creating an environment to execute on that. This model allows you to scale and forego some of the Capex investment because you are infrastructure light or can even transfer your risk to a cloud provider,” he says.

Kalebaila concludes that while there will always be a need for hardware, the importance thereof is diminishing as hardware is becoming a commodity.

“The cost of hardware used to be sixty to seventy percent of the total cost of Capex spend, but over time, this has decreased. It will also continue to decrease due to economies of scale and consolidation. This will, in turn, force consolidation within the vendor environment because fewer organisations are buying the kit. This is similar to the trend we are already observing in the telecommunications environment where the margins are declining that they are forced to consolidate to survive for them to remain relevant.”

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About Author

Thabo Mphahlele is the BizNis Africa Head of Sales and Marketing. Mphahlele was previously MultiChoice Production Support Analyst responsible for developing and monitoring applications. In addition, Mphahlele develops and automates batch scripts and is responsible for the daily infrastructure maintenance at MultiChoice. As a Production Support Analyst, he is responsible for incident analysis solving , developing and constructing business reports for SQL and Oracle and implement change controls for the business. Additional responsibility includes monitoring system performance via SOA, Kibaba (Elasticsearch), H.P BSM, HP Sitescope. Mphahlele is responsible for creating infrastructure performance reports through HP Ops Analytics, monitoring payments via Splunk and in-house built-in tool and disaster recovery simulation and testing. At Nashua Mobile, he was responsible for application development and enhancing the web sites At South West Gauteng College, he was the IT Technician and Network Administrator. During his tenure at Double Digit Media, he was he focused on application and web site development for new and existing clients Mphahlele contributes as a Content Manager for BizNis Africa.

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