Agile IT: Scaling up or down

The ability to scale up and down IT resources rapidly is imperative for meeting the changing needs of our users and customers. However, our recent survey shows that some UK businesses are not ready to adopt agile IT solutions because they are constrained by existing legacy systems. 

Businesses are facing growing challenges in managing the agility of new cloud solutions and legacy systems have created several cost and flexibility issues. So how exactly can agile IT ease the burden?  Through faster access to variable computing resources, it can help to reduce costs and bring new products and services to the market. 

But first, let’s look at the reasons why organisations choose to adopt agile IT solutions. One of the reasons most often cited by executives is to better align IT with real business needs within their organisation. Transforming fixed infrastructure and operational investments could also improve IT flexibility and knowledge work productivity. 

CIOs and other technology executives face tough questions about what to do with their legacy infrastructure and software application portfolio. While it’s largely agreed that cloud computing is a good move and likely to improve IT productivity, making the transition is a greater step.

For those CIOs and IT executives looking to adopt a more agile IT environment, a number of developments must evolve and key steps be taken to ensure success. The first essential ingredient for successfully moving to agile IT is a fully developed application retirement roadmap. This is something that 80 percent of organisations indicated they do not have. 

Secondly, it is imperative that CIOs and IT executives work closely with their business counterparts to determine the future and present needs of their organisation’s IT infrastructure. Thirdly, the best way to reap the benefits of agile IT initially, is to conduct an application rationalisation exercise based on general criteria but also specific agile IT principles and suitability for cloud technology. This will help the business work out whether to sustain, consolidate, modernise, or retire each application that supports a core business function.
Agile IT can transform how business is done by making it easier for employees to access the information they need, when they need it, and to collaborate more effectively with others both inside and outside the organisation.  To prepare for the transition to a new agile IT infrastructure, CIOs hoping to capitalise on the benefits should also implement a governance process and an application roadmap for modernising legacy IT.  This will enable them to integrate new solutions more rapidly and gain the ability to ‘plug-and-play’ their core software functions without encountering some of the difficulties often faced by organisations. 

As organisations need to be increasingly agile in order to keep up with the competition, we can expect that agile IT will continue to be adopted with success. 

Posted by Stephen Nunn, Managing Director, Infrastructure Consulting Group, Accenture

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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