Many of my recent discussions with CIOs are centered around data center strategy. It appears CIOs continue to struggle with outdated data center infrastructures, methodologies and processes. More and more CIOs are concerned about how to align their data center investment, strategy and architecture to business goals and objectives. This sentiment even resonates in IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Datacenter 2015 Predictions, Dec 2014, (Doc # 253116), which states that over the next two years, 60 percent of companies will stop managing most of their IT infrastructure, relying on advanced automation and qualified service partners to boost efficiency and directly tie datacenter spend to business value. The IDC report also states that by 2017, 60 percent of the data center-based IT assets, which organizations rely on to conduct business and deliver services, will be in co-location, hosting, and cloud data centers.
My Whitepaper: Begin the Journey Toward Data Center Transformation With Dell, written along with my colleague, David Gawlak, attempts to address these challenges. The whitepaper articulates Dell’s model to assess the present state of data center maturity and to find the right approach to transform the data center to meet the customer’s present and future business needs.
Understanding data center maturity
The first step in understanding maturity is to correctly assess the present state of the organization’s data center set-up. We use our five-phase maturity model as a foundation to design the strategy for the transformation journey.
Level 1& 2: IT operates at a rate slower than speed of business
At Level 1, IT is not aligned to business needs, and is considered a back-office function, where cost control is the main objective. At this level, processes, hardware, software and tools are usually nonstandard, resulting in inefficiency.
At Level 2, organizations have developed transformational roadmaps and have initiated the journey in some cases.
Level 3: IT operates at a rate equal to speed of business
At Level 3, IT supports business programs and projects, but is not able to foster innovation or thought leadership. Enterprises at this level have initiated basic transformational efforts, such as data center consolidation and migration, standardization, and virtualization.
Level 4 & 5: IT operates at a rate faster than the speed of business
At Levels 4 and 5, IT and the business work together to solve business challenges. Companies at Level 4 have partially or fully adopted transformational solutions to drive business agility. Enterprises at Level 5 are typically looking to adopt as-a-service models and outsource the data center infrastructure.
Customizing the data center transformation journey
At Dell, we understand that the transformational journey of each organization is unique. In addition to business objectives, we consider the industry type and organizational structure and culture. We also assess the current state of the data center infrastructure and usage patterns.
We have developed a five-phased transformation engagement plan that helps organizations transition to a higher level of maturity. It helps:
- Adapt and focus
- Identify opportunities
- Define the future state
- Build a roadmap and outline key initiatives
Our approach to data center transformation helps create a vision that is aligned to an organization’s business needs, direction, and strategy; while ensuring ease-of-administration, high performance, cost efficiency, and data security. Based on our extensive experience, we have built a transformation maturity model that helps companies develop and adopt the right strategy in line with their business objectives. Using this model, enterprises can move forward—either in a linear fashion or quickly advance to a higher transformation maturity level.
About the white paper
In today’s competitive and dynamic world, businesses and chief information officers expect a lot more from their data center investments. The data center ecosystem should not only support IT and business alignment, but also provide an ability to introduce next-generation solutions, such as software-defined data centers, virtualization, autonomics, private and public cloud models, and advanced security services.