Accenture: Unlocking the intelligent infrastructure
In the race to achieve digital transformation, many organisations are straining their IT infrastructures to breaking point. The business results, meanwhile, of IT systems under intolerable pressure are only too clear: customer-service failures, supply-chain delays, stalled innovation and compromised security.
It doesn’t have to be this way, says Steve Paxman, managing director in the Infrastructure Services Practice at consultancy firm Accenture. By creating what he refers to as an ‘intelligent infrastructure’, organisations can ensure that they’re better prepared to react to market and technology changes – even staying one step ahead of them, if they’re lucky.
“And, as a result, they can serve customers better, collaborate more effectively and innovate faster,” says Paxman.
This intelligent infrastructure will be the subject of Paxman’s presentation at IP EXPO Europe’s Digital Transformation Summit. There, he’ll provide attendees with more detail on Accenture’s vision of IT infrastructure that can predict, learn, self-provision, optimise, protect and self-heal.
“At Accenture, we talk to a lot of large enterprises – and many smaller ones – that are now making a big push in order to go from being followers to being leaders in digital,” he says. “But increasingly, we see them recognise that their ability to move quickly and respond flexibly to changes in the market is compromised by constraints imposed by their IT infrastructure.”
That doesn’t mean chucking the lot and starting fresh with shiny new kit, however. It means taking a more considered approach to integrating existing IT assets with new ones and weaving together a blend of on-premise and third-party, often cloud-based, resources.
“The components that make up the intelligent architecture are all broadly known and familiar to IT heads,” says Paxman. “The challenge lies in integrating and managing them in ways that produce the best business results.”
So what can the intelligent architecture do that previous approaches to IT infrastructure struggle to achieve? By Accenture’s definition, an intelligent architecture is one that: knows when extra capacity is needed – and when it might be required again; optimises services by moving applications and processes to different providers, based on cost effectiveness; senses when a problem arises and takes steps to fix the problem itself; and automatically configures unifed communications for employees and secure connectivity to the core enterprise.
That sounds like a tall order – but Paxman insists it’s not a pipe-dream, just a careful blending of automation, orchestration and advanced analytics technologies.
“This is a journey. The vision I’ll be describing isn’t something any company can create overnight. For most, it will take a phased approach over two to three years – but they’ll need a very clear idea of where they want to be at the end of the journey. So, in other words, they need to understand the destination they’re trying to reach.”
And that destination, he adds, won’t be defined by new technological capabilities, but by better business outcomes: productive employees, innovative new products and services and satisfied customers. But make mistake, he says: “The race is already on.”