Creating an Aerodynamic Infrastructure (part 1)

Having made the argument for adopting an Aerodynamic Business model, this two part series continues the theme, looking at the elements needed to create an Aerodynamic Infrastructure. In part 1 we discuss the features of an Aerodynamic Infrastructure, whilst part 2 will set out the required building blocks.

The primary feature of a truly Aerodynamic Infrastructure is operational excellence and efficiency.

This is achieved by reducing the complexity and overheads of building and operating ICT infrastructure, as well as driving down the share of ICT budget used to run what is already in place.  Typically 80% of ICT budgets are allocated to running existing infrastructure.  This suggests 80% is spent on maintenance and 20% on strategic investments that drive businesses forward – it is clear where the drag is here.

Delivering an Aerodynamic Infrastructure is all about cutting back on that drag:

  • Using best practice architectures with best practice operational tools and processes
  • Building, operating, and provisioning cost effectively
  • Significantly reducing complexity whilst transforming service delivery and user experiences.

That last point should not be overlooked.  This is not just about cost-cutting - because today, experience is everything.

Users want and expect engaging experiences with IT devices, applications and content, and they want to be able to work productively and efficiently.

The CFO wants an experience that is cost effective to build, operate and consume - and to know that every penny invested in ICT delivers an operational improvement or a business differentiation.

Meanwhile, the CEO simply wants ICT to do the things that help the organisation do what it does best – whether that’s treating patients, selling insurance policies, or manufacturing engine parts.

So, if ICT is to be truly Aerodynamic, ICT leaders need to be thinking not about what to deploy, but what benefits to the business and users they are delivering. Increasingly ICT leaders are being judged on;

  • Improving the experience for ICT users
  • Reducing the cost of ICT service delivery
  • Increasing the speed of new application or service deployment
  • Supporting new ways of working and user experiences
  • Maximising the available time for ICT led business innovation

Prior to defining the building blocks required to fabricate this structural nirvana, however, a number of points need to be considered;

  1. What infrastructure already exists and how much is it costing?
  2. Who are our third party vendors and suppliers of current infrastructure?
  3. Is the business keeping up with new technology solutions? (Gartner predicts that “by 2014, refusing to communicate with customers via social channels will be as harmful as ignoring emails or phone calls are today” []

In summary an Aerodynamic Infrastructure enables ICT Leadership to spend less on "business as usual" management and maintenance.  On the flip side, this means they can invest more of their time and budgets on building an environment that is focused on delivering new and innovative IT services to their organisation - whether that’s BYOD, mobile video conferencing, or business analytics.

What do you consider the main business driver in your organisation for adopting this approach?  Let us know in the comments section below. In part 2 we will look at the building blocks required to get the structure built.

Tags Strategy, Aerodynamic Business, Business Strategy