Opinion: Successfully managing large IT environments
The Australian enterprise infrastructure market is set to grow 11.3% in 2021 due to hybrid cloud adoption and infrastructure modernisation trends, according to new research from analyst firm, IDC. They say that 2020 was undoubtedly a year in which business disruptions accelerated enterprise IT infrastructure transformations in response to the unprecedented market dynamics.
Large IT environments include thousands of connected devices, systems and applications across multiple locations, so Australian-based enterprises need an easy way to gain visibility and control of their increasingly complex, hybrid or legacy infrastructures.
Successfully managing these large IT environments requires information about performance, availability and usage. The increase in the pace of code changes, testing, deployment and monitoring means that IT teams have to balance a lot of goals, constraints and tradeoffs.
To gain complete visibility of large IT environments, enterprises will often have a multitude of monitoring and analysis tools, generating in-depth information about every IT component. Having many point solutions makes the monitoring task a significant challenge to ensure that they can keep an eye on everything simultaneously. This wastes time and creates data silos that can lead to human error.
Centralising their monitoring platform, so that IT teams are instantly informed when issues occur in their IT infrastructure allows them to take appropriate and immediate action to mitigate any risks. Viewing the entire infrastructure through an integrated, single dashboard allows for a clear line of sight across an entire system and removes any blind spots.
By taking steps to create full real-time visibility across their entire technology stacks, large Australian companies can create a culture of observability across their infrastructure, networks, virtual environments, storage, applications, cloud and hardware. Gaining observability in near real-time will reduce a company’s time to resolution and will result in a much improved end-user experience.
Loosely coupled systems
Large enterprises often deploy thousands of applications to support and enable their business. Many of the core applications are large, monolithic systems featuring layers of dependencies and workarounds in established companies.
In these large IT environments, quarterly release schedules can create 24-month backlogs of updates and fixes. Making even minor changes to these core systems may require months of regression testing, adding to the already massive workload for IT teams.
Over the last few years, we have seen an entirely different approach to IT infrastructure design in which core components are no longer interdependent and monolithic but are “loosely coupled.”
Transforming a legacy architecture
Large enterprises can no longer afford to ignore the impact that complexity, lack of flexibility and inadequate scalability have on their bottom lines. By transforming their legacy architecture into one that emphasises cloud-first, containers, virtualised platforms and reusability, they may be able to move broadly from managing instances to managing outcomes.
The inevitable architecture
For many established companies, the move to an inevitable architecture represents the next phase in a familiar modernisation journey that began when they moved from mainframe to client-server and then to a web-centric architecture. The inevitable architecture, that has been adopted by many modern enterprises, is a cloud-based, distributed, elastic, standardised technology stack built for reliability, scalability and speed.
None of these technology transformations over the past two decades were easy, often taking months or even years to complete, but the outcome would usually justify the effort. It is already becoming clear that, taken together, a flexible architecture represents a fundamental shift across the IT enablement layer, that can deliver immediate efficiency gains while simultaneously laying a foundation for agility, innovation and growth.
Risk capabilities and profiles
There are many questions and challenges that CIOs need to address as they and their IT teams build more flexible and efficient architecture. For example, they may have to create additional processes to accommodate new risk capabilities that their organisations have not previously deployed.
Implementing new platforms often comes with risk and security capabilities that can be deployed, customised and integrated with existing solutions and business processes. While enterprises should take advantage of these capabilities, their existence does not mean they can ignore their risk considerations. Risk profiles vary, sometimes dramatically, by organisation and industry. Factory-embedded risk capabilities may not address the full spectrum of risks that an organisation faces.
Overcoming the enterprise monitoring challenge
So, it seems clear that having multiple methods to monitor everything in the IT environment is essential for a large organisation. The challenge for enterprises is to successfully monitor tens of thousands of elements in real-time and to ensure that they are performing well. This results in quicker response times, improved computing processes and satisfied employees and customers. Ultimately this will provide better performance through a high level of observability, intelligence and automation.
The obvious solution is to provide centralised IT infrastructure monitoring to gather data from many disparate sources and to avoid IT teams drowning in a flood of overwhelming information. Creating visibility across the entire tech stack is about empowering teams to work smarter, not harder while ensuring that the business objectives are met.
Rainmaking + ESG Launch Supply Chain Resilience Accelerator
Rainmaking, one of the world’s leading corporate innovation and venture development firms that create, accelerate and scale new business, has partnered with Enterprise Singapore (ESG), a government agency that champions enterprise development, to launch Singapore’s first ‘Supply Chain Resilience Accelerator’.
The new programme will unite startups and enterprises to boost scalable technology solutions that help fuel supply chain resilience by addressing pain points in transport and logistics.
Over the last 13 years, Rainmaking has launched 30 ventures totalling US$2bn, including Startupbootcamp. Having invested in over 900 startups that have raised more than US$1bn, Startupbootcamp is one of the world’s most active global investors and accelerators.
The new programme looks to help build more resilient supply chains for Singapore’s burgeoning network of startups by leveraging its advantageous position as a global trade and connectivity hub. As part of the Supply Chain Resilience Accelerator programme, no less than 20 startups with high-growth potential will have the opportunity to become a part of Singapore’s vibrant ecosystem of startups.
Calling Supply Chain Solution Startups!
The programme will kick off with an open call for startups who specialise in supply chain solutions for end-to-end visibility, analytics, automation and sustainability.
Applicants will then be shortlisted and receive nurturing from Rainmaking, fostering valuable engagements with corporates to drive scalable pilots with the aim to stimulate investment opportunities.
“Covid-19 exposed the fragility of global trade, and the Supply Chain Resilience Accelerator is our opportunity to spot weak links and build back better. Piloting outside tech can be an incredibly efficient way to test viable solutions to big problems, provided you de-risk and design for scale. Our programme does precisely this by helping corporate decision-makers and startups to work on compelling business opportunities, anticipate operational risks, and ultimately co-create solutions fit for wider industry adoption,” said Angela Noronha, Director for Open Innovation at Rainmaking.
Pilots will run from Singapore, with the objective that relevant organisations may adopt successful solutions globally. To that end, Rainmaking is currently engaging with enterprises specialising in varying industry verticals and have expressed interest in partnering.
“Even as we continue to work with startups and corporations all over the globe, we are so pleased to be anchoring this program out of Singapore. With a perfect storm of tech talent, corporate innovators, and robust institutional support, it’s the ideal launchpad for testing new solutions that have the potential to change entire industries. We look forward to driving the transformation with the ecosystem,” added Angela Noronha.
One of the first selected corporate partners is Cargill, a leader in innovating and decarbonising food supply chains.
"Cargill is constantly exploring ways to improve the way we work and service our customers. Sustainability, smart manufacturing and supply chain optimisation are key areas of focus for us; exploring these from Singapore, where so many key players are already innovating, will help us form valuable partnerships from day one. We look forward to joining Rainmaking and ESG on this journey to work with, support, and grow the startup community by keeping them connected to industry needs,” said Dirk Robers, Cargill Digital Labs.
In order to raise awareness on the importance of building resilience and how technology can be leveraged to mitigate risks of disruption, industry outreach efforts will include fireside chats, discussions and demo days.
In July, Rainmaking will host a virtual insight sharing event for innovation partners as well as a ‘Deal Friday’ session that connects businesses, investors, and selected startups with investment and partnership opportunities.
Programme events will also benefit Institutes of Higher Learning by offering exposure to how advanced practitioners leverage new technologies to transform traditional supply chain management and share real-world case studies and lessons learned, better equipping next-gen supply chain leaders.
“As an advocate of market-oriented open innovation, we welcome programmes like the Supply Chain Resilience Accelerator, which aims to help companies resolve operational pain points, strengthen supply chain resilience and spur growth in a post-pandemic world. With a strong track record in driving open innovation initiatives for the transport and supply chain industry, we believe that Rainmaking’s in-depth knowledge of the ecosystem and network of global partners can complement Singapore’s efforts in accelerating our business community’s adoption of tech-enabled tools, to better manage future disruptions and capture opportunities arising from shifts in global supply chains. This will in turn help to strengthen our local ecosystem and Singapore’s status as a global hub for trade and connectivity,” said Law Chung Ming, Executive Director for Transport and Logistics, Enterprise Singapore.