So, in my previous two posts here and here, I covered the two key outcomes of a modern data center. On one hand, a modern DC optimizes your services, costs, and keeps things lean and mean. On the other hand, a modern DC also facilitates digital innovation, keeping businesses in the digital front. 

So how do we make a palatable migration plan, one that delivers value at every phase?

  1. Know where you are – the current state of IT and business. Establish what’s the matter – issues, on going investments, mid-term imperatives, and influential trends in tech and the industry. The best transformation plans start with a foundation founded on your current state. Avoid “following others” blindly.  
  2. Know that sustainable change is far more effective and hence more important, than plans of grandeur. And sustainable change is derived from transactional + transitional + transformational changes. So you will need to have a mix of quick win initiatives, identify new, low-barrier technology to transition to, and eventually grow that to drive transformational changes. 
  3. Establish the roles that IT will lead in the short-, mid- and long-term plans. Often, I see optimization of existing IT services as the best place to start for quick wins. Find those areas of savings in this age of software-driven, cloud-enabled, flash-powered infrastructure. And making infrastructure changes brings about SLA and cost benefits without application disruptions.
  4. Select your app candidates for technology transitions. Greenfield services and apps are a great place to start with IaaS. Technology domains like data lake and cloud native app development platforms are another great place to transition. Make use of these candidates to introduce transitional initiatives.
  5. Finally, grow the use and use cases of these platforms to facilitate the mid- and long-term innovation. For example, expand the use of a data lake from DWH offloading, to DC analytics, to unification of data, to enrichment of DWH, to driving advanced analytics and finally forming an insights-driven digital enterprise.
  6. Follow the economic season of your company. That will form the practical center of gravity for your transformational activities. Is your company on a growth trajectory? Or is the prime time business message “cost reduction”? Knowing this will drive the mix between optimizing and investing for innovation. Knowing this will make your DC transformation  much more palatable. 

From my experience, that would set a balanced approach in modernizing your data center.