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Is it time to recalibrate your tech teams towards customer-focused innovation?


According to a McKinsey article about banking IT, banks that properly skew their tech spend, tech roles, and tech talent towards customer-focused innovation enjoy faster time to market, greater productivity, and higher levels of employee engagement. However, most banks today still tend to concentrate their tech budget and workforce on low-value operations, roles focused on administering and orchestrating internal processes, and junior engineers with limited productivity. As a result, analysts estimate that banks on average deliver only five to ten cents in additional business value for every dollar of tech spend. 

These insights from the banking sector can easily apply to other verticals, as software has become a major differentiating factor for companies in all industries. As more organizations have begun digital transformation due to pandemic work-from-home policies, CEOs, COOs, and CIOs need to assess how their tech workforce aligns with their strategic objectives and operational requirements. Companies that want to win in today’s highly competitive landscape need to recalibrate their tech workforce to concentrate primarily on experienced software developers who can efficiently add unique business value, and invest less in administrative tech roles and operations that focus heavily on legacy infrastructure, maintaining a high level of technical debt, and internal processes.

Low-value operations obviously still need to occur to keep things running. At the same time, IT operations have become increasingly complex and difficult to maintain. So how can large enterprises effectively manage their IT operations while also concentrating most of their tech budget and workforce on customer-focused innovation? One thing to consider is whether it’s a good idea to tie up internal technical staff with these operations. For many companies, it may make sense to hand off key areas of IT to trusted partners, thus freeing up the company’s own engineers to focus on delivering business value and leveraging their unique knowledge of the business.

Challenges of IT operations

Before you decide the right mix of tech roles for your company, it’s important to understand the main challenges of IT operations today. Here are five major challenges that affect technical staffing decisions for large enterprises.

  1. Technical complexity. Most large enterprises today use a mix of traditional virtualization, public and private clouds, plus potentially other computing footprints (such as mobile, IoT, edge, and so on). Supporting both legacy and modern workloads is extremely complex, especially with the increasing adoption of fast-moving open source cloud technologies, and continual staff training is required to maintain currency with new technologies and best practices. 

  2. Distributed nature of everything. Large enterprises often have a global footprint encompassing hundreds to thousands of locations and jurisdictions, while also requiring redundancy to ensure that critical locations and applications stay online. Different geographies and use cases also have different legal and security compliance requirements that need to be met.

  3. Difficulty of staffing. It’s extremely challenging to hire and retain technical staff, especially engineers pre-certified in the hottest technologies. With the new normal of flexible work from home policies, it’s easier than ever for IT professionals to search for new jobs and switch employers, and many enterprises are experiencing higher than usual attrition.

  4. Establishing efficient operational and software development disciplines. Large enterprises are increasingly adopting methodologies such as infrastructure as code, automated testing, and CI/CD to improve resource management and software development processes. One of the greatest challenges of enterprise IT is figuring out how to properly execute and assimilate these methodologies at scale across hundreds to thousands of locations, applications, and microservices.

  5. Keeping applications secure and available. As companies, their applications, and infrastructure become more distributed, the attack surface for large enterprises continuously expands. The world has also seen an increase in the frequency of ransomware attacks, viruses, and other security threats. Additionally, enterprises need to be vigilant about maintaining application availability, which can degrade from infrastructure failure or overload, data inconsistency, and other factors.

Recalibrating your tech workforce

For each of the challenges, consider your team’s current strengths and weaknesses. Think about all the different areas of IT at your company, from infrastructure and customer-facing technology to asset management and backup and recovery. Which areas can your team effectively perform in-house at a reasonable cost? Are there any areas that are getting too expensive, risky, and/or difficult to manage, that would be better left in the hands of trusted partners?

Also think about your company’s IT strategy. Which areas deliver differentiating business value and should be a high priority for full-time positions in your technical staff? Conversely, which areas provide the least unique value for your business and could effectively be delivered by partners? 

For many enterprises, infrastructure is an area of IT that offers minimal differentiating business value and has become increasingly difficult to maintain, especially with highly distributed, technically complex deployments and the adoption of open source cloud native technologies.

IT service providers can remove the burden of managing low-value operations, and many offer contractual SLAs and service obligations to reduce the risk of transitioning IT functions to them. For example, the Mirantis Flow open source cloud native data center as a service features guaranteed outcomes, including up to 99.99% availability SLA and the first container or VM provisioned within 48 hours of Mirantis accessing your hardware. Mirantis also offers guaranteed outcomes for our OpsCare Plus managed services and OpsCare 24x7x365 enterprise support, available for all of our container and cloud platforms.

From a cost and quality perspective, it can also be advantageous to transition IT functions like infrastructure to an as-a-service model. For example, Mirantis Flow can reduce your data center software and support costs by up to 50%, while also providing world-class support and services from industry-leading experts in open source cloud technologies.

Achieving more with your technology budget 

Managed services for IT functions like infrastructure are a great way to recalibrate your tech budget and workforce towards customer innovation. Why build and maintain a full infrastructure team when you can get guaranteed outcomes, cost savings, and industry-leading expertise in the latest technologies? You will no longer need to deal with all the headaches of managing multiple platforms, clouds, and technologies and enjoy peace of mind knowing your infrastructure is safely and properly maintained on your behalf.

Ultimately, leveraging managed services or operational support from a partner like Mirantis can help your organization achieve more with your technology budget. You’ll be able to better align your tech investments with strategic objectives, simplify the adoption of complex cloud technologies, and free up your engineers to focus on delivering business value.

To learn more about managed services from Mirantis, contact us.

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