Data Center and Infrastructure Optimization
In many organizations, the IT infrastructure resembles a coral reef - with each passing year layers are piled upon layers, piece by piece, until the entire structure grows into a massive, highly complex ecosystem. Like reefs, they can be both delicate and dangerous at the same time. An overgrown IT infrastructure costs too much. It is brittle and slow to change, made up of too many data centers and servers and often relies on an inefficient, often outdated network of storage, networking and service delivery capabilities.
IT organizations are thinking about their data center and infrastructure needs in innovative new ways. At Deloitte, we bring years of experience in IT infrastructure, data centers and service delivery models, and we know how to bring business strategy in line with IT capabilities, assets and applications. That gives us the ability to help clients see the big picture while implementing solutions that work on the front lines of the business, taking into account everything from tax and real estate to organizational change. Because we are independent, we do not sell infrastructure products or outsourcing services, and we maintain relationships with all the major vendors. Learn more about the offering.
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If you could regain control over the infrastructure, you could be a hero – but at this point, is that even possible? In the face of important new developments in areas like cloud computing, the answer has to be yes. With the capabilities the cloud offers, from on-demand self service and broad network access capabilities, to resource pooling and measured services, the ground is shifting in the area of infrastructure optimization. And that is a good thing - if you can take advantage of it.
Given the new reality of scarce resources and steadily increasing capacity requirements, IT organizations are thinking about their data center and infrastructure needs in innovative new ways. For instance, infrastructure optimization could mean looking outside their own infrastructure assets, placing more consideration on cloud computing and software-as-a-service options provided by external vendors – whatever it takes to support the business. Because as complicated as the environment may seem today, business demands for new applications to support changing strategies and requirements are not slowing down – they are growing. And that can make capacity and demand planning unpredictable. By lining up the right mix of infrastructure assets, it is a lot easier to navigate these issues and deliver results. And, at a minimum, infrastructure optimization through consolidation, virtualization, rationalization and service delivery optimization is a given.
How we can help
One of the challenges of infrastructure optimization is the number of options on the table for everything from networks and servers to storage and appliances. Lease temporary facilities or build from scratch? “Patch and run” the existing infrastructure? Outsource? Move to the cloud? At the same time, the business environment is changing rapidly in some fundamental ways. The workforce is increasingly mobile. As consumers, they expect more from business applications. And the security demands are only growing.
There is also the issue of aligning with the business. After all, this is not some abstract technology exercise. This is about serving the business better, which requires understanding its needs today and what they are likely to be in the future.
At Deloitte, we are not just leaders in IT and business strategy, operations and planning. We bring years of experience in IT infrastructure, data centers and service delivery models and we know how to bring business strategy in line with IT capabilities, assets and applications. That gives us the ability to help clients see the big picture while implementing solutions that work on the front lines of the business, taking into account everything from tax and real estate to organizational change. Because we are independent, we do not sell infrastructure products or outsourcing services and we maintain relationships with all the major vendors.
Here are some of the ways we can help:
- Develop an objective view of the efficiency and effectiveness of the current infrastructure operating model, service delivery model and assets
- Assess cost effectiveness, risk and other systemic qualities, such as reliability, scalability and adaptability
- Evaluate internal capabilities and skills
- Identify business-driven future-state capabilities and needs
- Explore opportunities for improvement through optimization, consolidation and other forms of transformation
- Examine alternate service delivery models such as outsourcing, data center co-location or cloud computing
- Develop an individualized improvement strategy and roadmap
- Develop and manage project plans to execute implementations and consolidations
- Align application portfolios and IT project portfolios
- Develop enterprise architecture roadmaps
- Develop and implement business continuity and disaster recovery programs to protect critical business assets
- Rationalize application portfolio
- Design and implement shared services infrastructure
- Improve service delivery through the development or implementation of the full life cycle of IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) processes
- Design programs to align capacity and demand across the infrastructure and data center stack
- Achieve significant cost savings in IT expenditures
- Defer or avoid new expenditures
- Realign IT spending behind the most pressing issues
- Shift from “firefighting” to innovation and business agility
- Reduce complexity
- Increase agility and responsiveness
- Enable self-provisioning
Seven ways to get more value now
Deloitte has helped hundreds of companies adapt their infrastructure foundations to their current business environment. Here are some practical tips we have learned along the way:
Simplify. Complexity is the enemy of effectiveness and efficiency and often results from many changes over time. Remove unnecessary complexity – duplication, redundancy, overlap - and focus on extending and expanding simplification efforts.
Standardize. Chances are that your organization relies on too many technology vendors, none of whom are working with a holistic understanding of your goals. There are a handful of vendor-provided technologies that can actually deliver the scale your organization needs. Identify them and find ways to cut elsewhere.
Virtualize. It is no secret that there are more options than ever for moving capabilities and services out of your hosting environment and onto someone else’s. It can be a huge benefit – but it should be executed within the context of a clear business strategy.
Integrate and automate. Technology evolution has greatly increased the potential for automating repetitive tasks and significantly decreasing manual work, helping reduce costs and increase quality. Once again, these efforts should be linked with simplification and standardization efforts to increase potential benefits.
Centralize and consolidate. There are a lot of models for centralizing – regionally, globally and functionally. It all depends on your needs. Make sure you have the right model first.
Innovate. While cutting costs is important, it is equally important to continue investing in new capabilities and mechanisms to drive business results. By shifting spending from “keeping the lights on” to innovative projects, while at the same time maintaining acceptable service levels, you can increase the value generated by IT.
Don’t forget your people. Everyone in your technology organization has been operating with the same fundamental assumptions about infrastructure for years. Changing their attitudes and approaches will be important. It will also be very hard work.
Data Center and Infrastructure Optimization in action
- A global media and technology company needed to increase IT efficiency. We helped create a shared services organization and designed an optimization roadmap to reduce infrastructure spending by 25%.
- A large financial services company wanted to reduce its infrastructure and applications footprint to improve the delivery of products and services to global customers. Over the course of three years, we helped execute a global infrastructure transformation program that delivered more than $1 billion in run-rate savings.
- When a global food retailer with stores in nine countries looked for ways to improve its IT infrastructure, we helped define a list of efficiency initiatives that could reduce power consumption by up to 50 percent. Our IT roadmap and strategy delivered a detailed plan for extending the longevity of existing data centers by 15 years, in keeping with the company’s long-term strategic goals.
- An international real estate company was quickly outgrowing its current data center model and needed to identify a better approach to support continued growth. We evaluated 11 data center operating models and recommended a strategy that included outsourcing data center operations and implementing a new disaster recovery site. We also created an in-depth business case to help the company secure board-level approval to implement the new strategy.
- When a global manufacturing company with operations in 14 countries and retailers in 170 countries decided to migrate to a single global data center, we helped create the plan for putting this complex strategy into action. We mapped the company’s entire application portfolio to core business processes, creating a clear picture of what assets they had and what roles they served. We also helped the company maintain service level agreements (SLAs) throughout the transition, resulting in a high level of service during a high-risk moment.
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