By Gopinathan Krishnaswami

IT industry experts estimate that by 2020, more than 85 percent of customer interactions could be managed without a human. Business leaders from every industry are analyzing the long-term implications of artificial intelligence and automation, both internally for process management and externally to drive customer experience.

It’s already clear that incorporating these solutions in the right way can help drive efficiency, reduce costs and isolate repetitive tasks to free employees to tackle higher-level work. Yet to realize their full potential, there’s a single starting factor many companies must consider first: the need for the proper IT infrastructure to empower their capabilities.

Gartner estimates that by 2020, there will be 20.4 billion connected devices in use worldwide – more than double the 8.4 billion available in 2017. Given the wealth of data available to companies today, high-speed processing, connected device management and real-time analytics are key to unlocking real business benefits–yet without a modern, cloud-optimized system, these capabilities are only a dream.

There are many options available for companies navigating an infrastructure modernization, and cloud migration is a key priority for enterprises today. Identifying the right set of applications by taking into consideration the cost savings, risk profile and interdependencies is important. Then, having a framework to build a migration roadmap by highlighting crucial considerations and by performing the technical fitment of applications can significantly accelerate the Cloud migration process.

Here are the top considerations for companies as they analyze and modernize current infrastructure to handle the high-volume data processing that will help drive their business in a rapidly advancing data-driven business landscape.

The First Step to Infrastructure Modernization

Modernization is a set of methods and techniques to maintain and extend the value of technology investments. It is accomplished by transforming existing solutions or migrating to newer technologies and platforms if the legacy assets are still adequate to meet business demands. In the case of replacing with newer systems, both green field or off-the shelf, the knowledge and differentiators that exist in the legacy assets are leveraged effectively.

Modernization programs are large scale-transformation engagements that align to business requirements. Business alignment of a given portfolio or application, technology currency and architecture fitment are the key dimensions that decide the roadmap of a given application. Architecture fitment is directly influenced by the Enterprise Architecture Standards and Methods.

Assessment of the application portfolio on the three dimensions is the first step to develop a modernization road map. The goal of the assessment is to determine whether the application should be retained, re-architected, reengineered or replaced.

Determining the Appropriate Cloud Strategy

Once an organization has built a road map for their infrastructure journey, determining whether and how to employ cloud technologies is an important next step. Develop a timeline to assess and migrate legacy workloads, and for each new and legacy workload under consideration, implement formal processes to assess the optimal cloud service and provider.

Cost reduction is the top driver for cloud adoption, as noted by 83% of large enterprises; and the shared cloud model is generally a cost-effective alternative to capital-intensive deployments in the company data center. But, this is not always true. Some apps may be less expensive to run on premises. And the pace of new, business-enhancing technologies and data growth mean that you can expect your budget will continue to increase.

Selling the Strategy Internally

To gain support for a new cloud strategy, education is key. It’s essential that all stakeholders–from the organization’s c-suite leadership to each line of business manager–are not only briefed on the purpose of the strategy, but on how it will drive their business forward. All organization leaders have different levels of familiarity and acceptance when it comes to digital transformation, so making the benefit tangible for their day-to-day operations is makes it easier to sell in a winning strategy.

Additionally, it’s essential to show how cloud management tools will allow stakeholders to track costs and usage for particular workloads. Seventy-seven percent of large businesses cite visibility into costs as a top criterion in selecting a hybrid cloud management platform.

As part of a recent migration, TCS supported a leading North American risk consulting firm as they moved a significant number of business-critical applications from their data center to a public cloud. The project simplifies their architecture across the organization to make it ready to grow and scale – and it’s helped the company realize nearly a 60% cost savings on non-labor expenditures.

Delivering on today’s data-intensive capabilities to drive growth and harness abundance is essential for business success, and a strong infrastructure modernization road map is the key to unlocking these new opportunities.

Gopinathan Krishnaswami is Senior General Manager, Global Head, Infrastructure Alliances at Tata Consultancy Services.

Cloud stock photo by sdecoret/Shutterstock