The Backend Has Moved To The Forefront: Changing Landscape Of IT Infrastructure

Muraleekrishnan Nair, Global Head - Cloud Infrastructure Services, UST GlobalAn alumnus of Loyola Institute of Business Administration, Muraleekrishnan is responsible for Contract, Vendor, and People Managements, Business Growth, Service Line , SLA, and Client Relations for UST Global.

G one are the days where IT infra leaders needed to limit their prowess inside remote datacenters and corner network rooms. Rather than being the backend, they are now front runners and the torch bearers of business transformation. They are now being invited to the Business Strategy meetings! I was once asked at an event,‘What is the future of IT Infrastructure?’ My immediate answer was, ‘Future of IT Infrastructure is No Infrastructure’. This response was met with an eerie moment of silence in the room. I call this the moment of self realization for about 200 IT infrastructure professionals gathered to listen to me. It was a cold January morning in New York and this response possibly dampened their spirits even further. Some of them gazed-out through the window, some others simply looked down to their feet with shoulders heavy.

However, we all agree that IT cannot run without Infrastructure, I continued. This statement brought the attention back. They all started looking at me again with all ears. IT Infrastructure is changing, and that
too at a pace which never occurred in the past several years! It is the most exciting time for any IT Infra professional. For the first time in history, IT Infrastructure is leading business transformation from the forefront.

So, what is causing this change?
1. Digital Transformation: Digital business is already here. It is challenging the way business is traditionally done. It is not merely limited to Facebook or Uber the impact is pertinent across all core verticals of business, be it Retail, Banking, Healthcare, Insurance or Technology. Every large enterprise is in the process of digital transformation. IT decisions are driven by business needs, more than ever. 70 percent of IT budget today is driven by business and not by the IT department. CIOs now need to align to overall business and take decisions to drive business transformation or will be left behind and muscled out of the race. Transformational projects need to be backed by Agile infrastructure. Traditional standalone infrastructure will not be scalable, flexible and cost effective to meet today’s transformation needs.

2. User Experience: It is key in digital business. Systems need to be always on high performing, and completely secured. Depleting performance can move the users away and can cause considerable revenue loss and bad reputation to the business. IT Infra needs to be designed to meet such complex requirements. Hybrid systems of On-Premise Datacenters, Private Cloud, Public Cloud, and Micro DCs need to address the complex business needs and elevate the user experience simultaneously.

3. Geo Regulations & Security: Large enterprises are not limited to one country or geography alone. They need to operate across the globe. With the advent of regulations like General Data Protection Regulation(GDPR) and increasing threat around cyberattacks, IT Infra needs to be designed to address country wise regulations and security. This brings an increased focus to where & how IT systems are hosted and managed. IT Infra leads need to be at the forefront in making these strategic decisions.

4. Speed to Market: Digital transformations shouldn’t run for years. They must bring immediate shortterm changes and gains to the organization. They should also bring the DevOps culture to the organization to continuously integrate and deploy new features and modules. Scalable & flexible IT Infra is the backbone for this CI/CD(Continuous).