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Back to the future (in computing)


18 November 2016

Dermot Casey

Blogs by author: Dermot Casey, Principal Technology Consultant, BT


A lot has changed in IT over the past 25 years. However, as Dermot Casey outlines, some things are moving backwards…

Look back, to move forward.

When I first started my career in computing 25 years ago, bigger organisations would lease large mainframes, and users would access these machines on what were called green screen terminals. A lot has happened since then; the age of the personal computer (PC), networking, the internet. And now, after 25 years of client-server dominated network architecture, we’re moving ‘back to the future’. We’re going back to a cloud-based leased environment, where all aspects of ICT are offered as a service. And, according to IDC[1], by 2018 at least half of IT spending will be cloud based.

Cloud is just like any utility — it relies on shared access to resources to achieve coherence and economies of scale. Now, in the 21st century, organisations are looking to outsource computing functionality to a utility-based service, and focus on their core business. And this makes sense as it allows businesses to have a more predictable, recurring expense for ICT, with no staffing costs.

The future of applications.

Applications are changing too — web-based, ‘as-a-service’ software updates are now pushed hourly rather than yearly, because business and end users demand it. Environments are more complex and less within your control. And all of this has caused a fundamental shift in how applications are developed, delivered and consumed. This means that most enterprises will continue to use on-premises environments for existing legacy applications with new cloud-native applications being deployed going forward.

Innovative analytics improves sales effectiveness.

Just recently I worked with a customer who was experiencing major performance problems with a key application on their sales mobile devices — and this prevented a full roll-out across the region.

We worked with the IT team on a performance-monitoring solution to improve application performance, stability and scalability.

The business also had a number of users with different mobile devices, who required new application features too. This meant they faced the challenge of providing a faster time to market and improved collaboration between production, testing and the development team.

BT deployed a monitoring solution, which was able to capture all user transactions and performance metrics — even down to code level. This allowed the customer to analyse transactional performance and end-user behaviour to help improve sales effectiveness through a better customer experience. And we could measure this by the higher tablet usage from advisors — as well as the increased sales and productivity each month.

Access to the future cloud.

The future of cloud is also something of a juggling act. It means working with and managing multiple platforms. And crucial to this is a flexible, end-to-end service you can rely on, with performance and security assured.

So what does your future hold?

Cloud is evolving and will continue to do so. And this means you need to transform your IT infrastructure and applications to stay relevant in an increasingly digital world.

But change isn’t straightforward. You need a cloud roadmap which takes account of what your current IT environment looks like, any associated risks in a transition, steps on how to mitigate those, and an audit of performance — including how well your applications are performing. And ultimately, you need an end goal — a clear idea of where you want to get to and how you will get there, with minimal impact to your daily operations.

This probably sounds like a headache, but it needn’t be. BT has a team of consultants and experts who do this every day. We have a clear, proven methodology to help you audit your current infrastructure, map the virtualised environment and design the target operating model to achieve this.

The only thing certain about the future of cloud technology is that it will continue to evolve and change — and you need to change with it.

Don’t manage this alone — speak to BT’s consulting experts to oversee this in a way that works for you.

[1] IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Cloud 2016 Predictions.