The past two years have been a boon to digital transformation. As IT teams scrambled to adjust to new work models, digital transformation plans accelerated. Now, with the breathing room to reassess the state of IT infrastructure, comes the recognition that many data centers are overbuilt.
It’s time to evolve into a new phase of data center maturity. Data Center World reports more than half of midlevel and enterprise organizations are moving from legacy to hybrid infrastructure using primarily public — and occasionally private — cloud solutions. In some cases, they’re leveraging their existing data centers with a colocation strategy. What is the state of your data center? Is your on-premises model acting as financial and technical debt, which can be easily removed?
The state of data centers
It’s time to take stock of your data center. Have virtualization and the cloud created underutilized assets in your on-site corporate data center? Data Center World believes this is likely and suggests organizations are now moving into a new kind of model by incorporating collocated data center partnerships.
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, corporate data centers were 50%-75% full and growing. Over the following decade, virtualization halted their growth and reduced raised floor utilization, so data centers were utilized at roughly 25%-50%. When the cloud came on the scene, corporate data center usage dropped to approximately 15%-25%. Today, corporate data centers operate as a huge source of technical debt, and some enterprises are either selling their data centers and leasing back the 15%-25% they require or moving on to a collocated data center space.
Data Center World’s national survey points to 58% of IT managers retooling their data architectures for a more future-fit approach, prioritizing flexibility, adaptivity, and a lighter footprint. This makes sense when you consider edge computing as the go-to approach for managing the proliferation of data from internet of things (IoT) devices — and as a strategy to counter geopolitical or regulatory restrictions. The more data your company collects from distributed sources, the more sense local colocation makes.
At what point are IT architectures considered overblown? IT bloat creates technical debt, and technical debt kills digital transformation efforts.
Is technical debt holding you back?
For most enterprise organizations, technical debt includes costs for hosting data within their own IT infrastructure. ITPro Today says, “An organization that is constrained by the inertia of its accrued technical debt does not have the ability to respond as deftly.” Deloitte agrees, stating, “The accumulation of technical debt adversely affects an organization’s ability to innovate, and employ new technologies (e.g., digital channels), which makes it harder for the organization to retain its market share, secure clients, and stay on track with market trends.”
Technical debt limits corporate flexibility and the necessary agility for successful digital transformation. Most of the IT infrastructure your business has purchased over the past decade will not stand up to the shifting innovations and agile work requirements of a successful push toward digital transformation.
Two types of technical debt affecting IT infrastructures, and your ability to transform them, include:
- Technical debt from legacy on-site hosted architectures and the workflows that interact with them.
- Technical debt accrued from ceding your data to a cloud services provider and any flow caps the provider creates.
The first form of technical debt is obvious and widely recognized, but the second form is new. ITPro Today asks some key questions to consider in your efforts to streamline your IT architecture:
- What is the opportunity cost of not using a software as a service (SaaS) model?
- What technical debt does the SaaS model artificially apply to your infrastructure?
- How does this technical debt alter how you do business?
Strategies for streamlining IT infrastructures
What’s the best strategy for streamlining your data?
Address these five key points:
- Match the priorities of the software, hardware, and workflows to their real-time benefits.
- Determine ownership of each resource in your architecture.
- Remain alert for innovations that cut technical debt.
- Reduce waste.
- Consider third-party partnerships to reduce on-site technical debt.
Assessing whether you are overbuilt, and how your tech stack affects your digital transformation, is complex and challenging, but it’s the first step to addressing your IT infrastructure challenges. As technology is increasingly ingrained in your organization’s processes, your efforts to think strategically about these tools may be overwhelmed by daily tasks. Reassess whether the pieces of your IT infrastructure are strategic assets or whether they are holding you back from your efforts to digitally transform.
How do you get there? By partnering with a service provider to transform your underutilized data center. Contact the Windsor Group Sourcing Advisory to learn more.