Observations from Gartner’s Infrastructure, Operations and Cloud Strategies Summit

GTSG listens closely to Gartner.  Why? Each Gartner analyst has perhaps 1,000 interactions with end-user organizations per year. These interactions are then synthesized, with best practices (and emerging best practices) crystallized into research which represents the best thinking of a broad range of analysts over the full range of industry segments.

At GTSG, we regularly engage with dozens of these analysts. We benefit from their unparalleled insight; our clients benefit from both the broad market scan and the security that comes from knowing that GTSG’s methods are consistent with Gartner practices and solution paths.

It’s still 2020, so the Infrastructure, Operations and Cloud Strategies Summit was virtual.  GTSG has worked this event since 2014, each time in Las Vegas.  While we all miss the face to face interaction, the event was executed with typical Gartner excellence.

Over 125 sessions were available, and early next month, we will publish a summary document.

For today, let us offer what we heard from the Top Trends Impacting Infrastructure and Operations.

Analyst Jeffrey Hewitt opened with a Strategic Planning Assumption: by the end of 2023, more than 90% of I&O will have most of their staff working remotely.  Not surprisingly, the percentage of all employees working remotely at least some of the time exploded from 30% to 76% during the pandemic.  Post pandemic, this percentage is expected to level at 48%, a nearly 60% increase from the outset of 2020

The top trends were six this year, and certainly informed by the “work from anywhere” future:

  • Anywhere Operations
  • Optimal Infrastructure
  • Operational Continuity
  • Core Modernization
  • Distributed Cloud
  • Critical Skills vs. Critical Roles

Anywhere Operations: planning must acknowledge impacts on staff and support, the end customer, and the network.  Edge and cloud deployments are increasingly considerations.  The inevitable challenges to traditional thinking and culture will be rewarded with more flexible and resilient organizations, and with broader talent choices.

GTSG believes that our long history with latency analysis will be of particular value in workload placement engagements.

Optimal Infrastructure: we need to think of I&O – as “integration and operations.” Programmable infrastructure and platform ops were emphasized going forward.

Operational Continuity is a given today: workloads must support customers wherever they are.  Jeff used Microsoft’s underwater deployment- to illustrate the not-new concept of the lights out data center: automated deployment with zero or minimal touch maintenance.  While there is tremendous upside to the automation, the new tools and processes can be challenging to justify.

Here at GTSG, we talk continuously about the need for continuity requirements to be based on business priorities- everything starts with the Business Impact Analysis (BIA). For more, we’ve written a paper: Rightsizing Disaster Recovery Under Financial Pressure 

In the Core modernization discussion, Jeff recalled a conversation among analysts speculating on whether a pandemic would bring the end of the mainframe.  As a firm founded in the mainframe over three decades ago, GTSG feels obliged to note that the pandemic hasn’t threatened the mainframe in the slightest.

Modernization, however, does continue.  It should be considered a process, not a project.  The effort required for culture change, funding and new processes can reward an organization with lower technical debt and more agile infrastructures.

GTSG can help you to work with application leaders to identify where to make an impact (the intersection of urgency and readiness) and can help you to develop and implement a modernization plan in manageable work efforts with realistic timelines.  We have helped with everything from what one client described as “Mainframe Decommission Study”  to cost analysis for those who will rightsize the platform for the right workloads.

The Distributed Cloud can improve infrastructure performance at the locations most important to you and does offer the desirable “no-touch” options mentioned above, albeit with the risk of lock-in and the high cost associated with an immature market.

Critical Skills vs Critical Roles:  This change in focus can more effectively align spend with business needs.  Jeff emphasized the inclusion of competencies as well as skills and noted that some organizations included “indistractability” among these traits.

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We’ll be back next month with a short summary of the event.  If we can help with any of the areas we’ve discussed, reach out to Partners@GTSG.com and one of us will get right back with you.  Thank you.