The rise in the Work From Home (WFH) workforce is increasing pressure on Information Technology (IT) infrastructure in organizations. Organizations are increasingly becoming boundary-less, agile and focusing on building robust digital infrastructure to enable their employees to work from home seamlessly.
This calls for democratization of IT systems through adoption of Cloud, integration of new-age technologies, and the emergence of Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS).
Democratization of IT has been underway for many years now. However, it has witnessed unprecedented acceleration due to the COVID-19 induced pandemic. It has also clearly demarcated organizations based on their digital readiness.
The Tech Panda spoke to Kunal Nagarkatti, COO of Clover Infotech, an IT services and consulting company. Nagarkatti says that a well-thought out IT democratization exercise can enable WFH by considering all aspects such as security, collaboration, support for WFH, and secure access to data and systems by employees as per their roles and requirements.
The organizations with robust IT infrastructure have ensured democratization of technology to enhance experience for their customers, business users, and employees, vendors, partners etc.
“The organizations with robust IT infrastructure have ensured democratization of technology to enhance experience for their customers, business users, and employees, vendors, partners etc.,” he says.
He also adds that the ubiquitous availability of the Internet has been a great leveler for democratization of IT.
“The penetration of the Internet to the last mile and the increasingly affordable smartphones and data packages have ensured democratic access to IT. While COVID-19 has accelerated the democratization efforts, we must accept that there has been a certain level of digital and IT readiness that has immensely helped organizations,” he says.
Cloud PaaS and SaaS Support
Cloud adoption, along with the emergence of PaaS and SaaS, are supporting the decentralization of IT. Nagarkatti elaborates how.
“Cloud computing has rendered a sense of comfort with respect to stretching the perimeter of the organization beyond its four walls. Applications, the underlying technology, and data can now be safely hosted on the Cloud,” he explains.
Cloud computing has rendered a sense of comfort with respect to stretching the perimeter of the organization beyond its four walls
Cloud service providers are leaving no stone unturned with respect to security of data, systems, and applications. Hence, strategic management of organizations are now considering Cloud for much more than their compute, network, and storage requirements.
“Cloud-native applications, and new-age technologies such as blockchain, analytics, and IoT are also being offered in “as-a-service” models. With capabilities across software, platform and the underlying infrastructure, organizations are increasingly optimistic about converting their huge IT Capex into a more predictable, flexible, and scalable Opex model,” he says.
With democratization of IT, organizations must ensure secured access through a multitude of devices (desktops, laptops, tablets), asset types (organization’s asset, employee’s personal technology asset), and Internet service providers and networks.
Democratization of IT demands that the sphere of influence of the internal IT teams should stretch beyond the organization’s premises
Hence, says Nagarkatti, the IT teams must step-up their surveillance and enhance cybersecurity measures to prevent threats and malicious attacks from vulnerable access points. It must also undertake initiatives to raise awareness regarding cybersecurity and ensure strict compliance of the organization’s cybersecurity policies to safeguard its digital assets and data.
“Democratization of IT demands that the sphere of influence of the internal IT teams should stretch beyond the organization’s premises,” he says.
The democratization of IT will lead to a fillip in application modernization and Cloud enablement. It will help enterprises identify the areas of caution because of this trend.
“We must understand that most of the legacy applications were not built to scale with the advancements in digital technology. Hence, they might have either become completely obsolete or functionally and technologically irrelevant. The time, cost, and effort that the organizations spend towards managing these applications is significant. It is further compounded by the customizations that these applications might have undergone,” Nagarkatti explains.
Democratization of IT and proliferation of access points would demand that the entire application landscape is Cloud-compliant
With democratization of IT, the organization is compelled to make these applications Cloud ready by upgrading them functionally or technically. They must eventually retire applications that wouldn’t scale up to the Cloud. In terms of new applications, he says, a Cloud-native one would be the preferred option.
“Democratization of IT and proliferation of access points would demand that the entire application landscape is Cloud-compliant, and the technology supports and enables Cloud native applications to be added seamlessly,” he says.
Role of Managed Services Providers
Managed Services Providers (MSPs) work as per pre-defined Service Level Agreements (SLAs) with their customers. Hence, they are clearly aware of their customer’s expectations. The role they play is a significant one now, which will evolve to adapt to the new normal with most employees working from home.
They ensure that employees are well equipped with the necessary devices, software, and network connectivity to perform their roles and responsibilities immaculately.
The most important aspect that MSPs need to consider while adapting to the new normal is to ensure security and automation
“The most important aspect that MSPs need to consider while adapting to the new normal is to ensure security and automation. With multiple devices and multiple Internet services connecting to the customer’s systems and data, MSPs need to ensure the highest levels of security, and strict access controls for applications as well as the underlying IT infrastructure,” Nagarkatti says.
“They must also deploy intelligent automation solutions so that rule-based and redundant tasks can be executed with minimum human supervision. In the new normal, it is also important to have a comprehensive view of the Managed Services engagement,” he adds.
Nagarkatti believes that any transformation from an enterprise’s perspective must bring about distinct improvements in three aspects – customer experience, quality of collaboration and service delivery, and cost efficiency.
“With democratization of IT and processes to ensure uninterrupted collaboration, the customers of an enterprise can experience enhanced level of service delivery and engagement. The increasing reliance on systems may be challenging to begin with. However, once the initial inertia is overcome, it might lead to saving time, cost and effort spent in technology and end-user experience management due to augmented levels of digitalization and automation within the ambit of security,” he says.
The enterprise can, thus, channel the time, cost and effort spent in collaboration and non-productive activity into core business and strategic objectives. It will lead to business acceleration, immersive customer experience and higher brand recall.