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IT Modernization

digital transformation as a driver for better customer experience
// Digital Transformation

IT Modernization

What does IT modernization really mean?
The IT modernization definition will certainly vary across businesses, industries, and personas, but it ultimately means leveraging technology to meet expanding business goals. It means aligning IT and business units to compete in today’s digital economy. It means digitizing and improving the customer experience to improve service levels and create market differentiation.
Why modernize?

Too many businesses are held hostage by their homegrown and legacy solutions and cannot efficiently onboard new partners and new sources of revenue. This limits their ability to scale and grow.

Organizations with the bigger company picture in mind modernize IT systems end-to-end to better achieve goals and compete in today’s business ecosystem. What we mean by “end-to-end” is integrating all inbound and outbound data flows to enable the visibility to effectively track the entire order life cycle, automate workflows, proactively troubleshoot problems, and meet customer SLAs.

IT Modernization represents transformative changes in your organizations:
  • Technology (software, hardware, networks, data, etc.)
  • IT staff capabilities and processes
  • IT structure and culture (agile, lean, customer-focused, etc.)

In other words, IT Modernization is strategic, not simply tactical. The distinction is important. Tactical changes are incremental and support your current business model and strategies. Strategic changes are transformative and enable new and reengineered business processes that support continually evolving business strategies.

IT Service Management (ITSM) and ITIL

IT service management (ITSM) is a set of policies and practices for implementing, delivering, and managing IT services for end-users in a way that meets the stated needs of end-users and the stated goals of the business. ITSM is a key component of IT Modernization. ITSM is a cohesive approach to designing, delivering, and supporting IT services. ITSM represents cultural and structural transformation. ITSM shifts the view of IT as a technology provider to IT as an essential business partner delivering high-quality services. Additionally, ITSM focuses on the continual improvement in the effectiveness and efficiency in providing those services. IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) is the predominant body of knowledge and approach to ITSM. ITIL is a descriptive, not perspective, framework and set of ITSM best practices.

The ITIL framework is described below:

  • Service Strategy, which focuses on the full ITSM processes lifecycle—designing, developing, implementing and managing a portfolio of IT services, plus determining the cost and budget for these services and forecasting future demand for services.
  • Service Design, which covers designing services and processes with respect to business requirements for availability, security, service level agreements (SLAs) with users, continuity (including backup and disaster recovery services) and much more.
  • Service Transition, which describes best practices for moving to a new or changed service with minimal impact on service quality and performance.
  • Service Operation, which outlines the everyday, nuts-and-bolts management of deployed services, including fulfilling service requests (from users or departments), responding to problems and incidents and controlling access to services.
  • Continual Service Improvement, which covers the steps for revising or expanding services as business needs change.

ITIL is exhaustive, but an organization’s ITSM program does not need to implement it exhaustively. In other words, Innovative Logics can aid your organization in tailoring and implementing ITIL processes and practices in a sequence and at a scale and pace that “fits” your organization’s unique business needs, requirements, and constraints.

Disaster Recovery Planning

IT disaster recovery planning should follow from and support business continuity planning.

Business Impact Analysis: Identify the areas and functions of the business that are the most critical and enable you to determine how much downtime each of these critical functions could tolerate. 

Risk Analysis: Evaluate your risks and consider the overall impact on your business. What financial losses due to missed sales opportunities or disruptions to revenue-generating activities would you incur?

  • What kinds of damage would your brand’s reputation undergo? How would customer satisfaction be impacted?
  • How would employee productivity be impacted? How many labor hours might be lost?
  • What risks might the incident pose to human health or safety?
  • Would progress towards any business initiatives or goals be impacted? How?

Prioritizing Applications: Not all workloads are equally critical to your business’s ability to maintain operations, depending on how long you could stand to have them be down and how serious the consequences of data loss would be. Separate your systems and applications into three tiers:

  • Mission-critical: Applications whose functioning is essential to your business’s survival.
  • Important: Applications for which you could tolerate relatively short periods of downtime.
  • Non-essential: Applications you could temporarily replace with manual processes or do without.

Documenting Dependencies: The next step in disaster recovery planning is creating a complete inventory of your hardware and software assets. 

  • The next step in disaster recovery planning is creating a complete inventory of your hardware and software assets.
  • Designing resilience—and disaster recovery models—into systems as they are initially built is the best way to manage application interdependencies.

Establishing recovery time objectives, recovery point objectives, and recovery consistency objectives: By considering your risk and business impact analyses, you should be able to establish objectives for how long you’d need it to take to bring systems back up, how much data you could stand to use, and how much data corruption or deviation you could tolerate.

  • Recovery time objective (RTO) is the maximum amount of time it should take to restore application or system functioning following a service disruption.
  • Recovery point objective (RPO) is the maximum age of the data that must be recovered in order for your business to resume regular operations. For some businesses, losing even a few minutes’ worth of data can be catastrophic, while those in other industries may be able to tolerate longer windows.
  • A recovery consistency objective (RCO) is established in the service-level agreement (SLA) for continuous data protection services.

Regulatory compliance issues: All data backup and failover systems must be designed to meet the same standards for ensuring data confidentiality and integrity as your primary systems.

Choosing technologies: Nontraditional cloud-based backup solutions or full-scale Disaster-Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS) provide a means to replicate your production environment.

Choosing recovery site locations: Store data somewhere that’s geographically distant enough from your headquarters or office locations that it won’t be affected by the same seismic events, environmental threats, or other hazards as your main site. On the other hand, backups stored offsite always take longer to restore than those located on-premises at the primary site, and network latency can be even greater across longer distances.

Continuous testing and review: Simply put, if your disaster recovery plan has not been tested, it cannot be relied upon. All employees with relevant responsibilities should participate in the disaster recovery test exercise, which may include maintaining operations from the failover site for a period of time.

As your hardware and software assets change over time, you’ll want to be sure that your disaster recovery plan gets updated as well. You’ll want to periodically review and revise the plan on an ongoing basis.

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