IT portfolio rationalization- A CIO’s guide to survival in tough economic times

A CIO’s Guide: How to survive tough economic times through IT Portfolio Rationalization

A black swan event like COVID-19 pandemic has stymied the plans of many CIOs to upgrade their archaic IT platform into a modern infrastructure of hardware and software to support their dynamic business process. When faced with such predicaments, the first casualties of steep budget cuts are reduced spending and downsizing across the organization. To overcome this quandary, every CIO has to mitigate the crisis and work with a downscaled budget. Thus, it becomes strategically imperative to plow money into critical technologies that will bolster the long-term revenue growth at a nominal cost.

Cloud Technology Saves Money

The adage that ‘IT is not a direct revenue generator, and only an enabler’ has many CIOs worry about conserving their CAPEX and reducing their OPEX. The pandemic has caused a severe impact on the budget for new IT infrastructure, leaving CIOs to scamper and prioritize their investment on new IT portfolios. One of the critical technologies that can help CIOs to save on the total cost of ownership (TCO) without breaking the bank is migration to the cloud platform.

Cloud migration gives CIOs the scalability, flexibility, and accessibility to move applications, services, and data to the cloud, avoiding the need for on-premise data centers and thus reducing the overall costs. Since, there is negligible cost to moving the data into the cloud, the cloud vendors are offering their services at an optimum TCO for migrating application workloads to the cloud. Also, data stored in cloud are very secure as many cloud vendors do a regular update to their platform and offer restricted access to authorized users. These are some key advantages a business can enjoy in case of a disaster like the present pandemic, guaranteeing business continuity.      

While the cloud migration looks like the most logical option, there are few challenges for a business to think before adopting the platform. The cost effective and fastest type of cloud migration is the Lift and Shift process. It involves moving applications from on-premise data centers to the cloud. The impediment to this process is that it is not easy to lift-and-shift commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) and legacy applications to the cloud, as many a times IT needs to replace COTS with SaaS software or refactor legacy applications.

To avoid this conundrum, businesses are adopting a hybrid model in which they are running old applications in their data centers and onboarding new applications in the cloud. This model allows the organization to exploit the applications to leverage data stored in both the environments.

But is there a way to ensure smooth functionality between both the infrastructure to operate under a single data management framework while remaining independent?

Its Data Virtualization

Data virtualization technology creates a catalog of data sets based on logical layer of metadata across the enterprise resulting in a consolidated view of the data across the distributed databases, leaving the data in source systems, removing the need for replicating data. As a result, data can be accessed in real time, liberating users from having to know the location, or the format of the data. This process helps avoid data silos, thus improving the efficiency of cloud platform and also support the hybrid ecosystem (on-premises and cloud).

The challenge for any business is to safely navigate the geographical regulatory landscape without the risk of compromising on sensitive data stored in the data center and cloud. Data virtualization helps business to conform with local regulations that necessitate the traceability of historical data.

Additionally, through a low-code/no-code development environment, data virtualization enables data scientists and citizen developers without programming knowledge to build an application, resulting in lesser resources to set up the data integration engine, facilitating a faster time-to-migration and quicker acceleration towards digital transformation.

Business like Logitech have used data virtualization as an abstraction layer to seamlessly migrate from on-premises systems to the cloud. Majority of Logitech’s application are run on the cloud, including data virtualization, resulting in reduced cost and resources.

IT Portfolio Rationalization

This pandemic has put a spanner in the works for CIOs looking to invest in IT technologies to compete in the fast-changing business environment but not all is lost as there are still options like cloud and data virtualization technologies which offer quick ROI at a lower OPEX, resulting in smooth digital transformation to meet the challenges of modern business dynamics.

Ravi Shankar

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