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Visual Understanding on Systems is Important in Dealing with Industry Complexities

Robert J. Fecteau, SVP & CIO, SAIC

The move to SaaS and cloud based technologies is shaping the immediate future of the IT industry. Accelerating the on-going change is the BYOD concept, as it allows employees to remain flexible and access the infrastructure of the business. With more flexibility being imparted, you would learn to enhance productivity at work.

We are witnessing several recent developments, playing a big role in outpacing the current era. From a technology perspective, it is always important to understand the existing ones, and adequate importance should be assigned to implementing them in the best manner prior to adopting another technology. The consumerization of technology such as storage is an interesting trend. Explaining on storage, earlier it was a big task to plug in a 5 MB disk into computers, and nowadays, 3T drives have become common. Similar are other trends in consumerization and standardization which continue to drive the industry. Adding to that, mobility has made delivering IT a significant task as more and more people are looking for having information at their fingertips all the time. This is a perfect amalgamation of services integrated with devices. The desire to integrate technology and keeping track of things which are integrated are one of the driving trends currently.

Asset management in an automated sense and an integrated way is a concept which is yet to evolve. It is important to have a better view into the virtual world when we talk about virtual servers and virtual machines. One of the critical aspects is to have a better understanding of your system assets, i.e the way they interact with the system from a security perspective, and the way they are connected in a network. It is always advantageous to view from a digital environment perspective with graphical representations. To gain insights into visual understanding with the latest graphics of how things are connected to the network remains a privilege for decision makers to take timely decisions and help people to understand the complexity of the environment. Moreover, this can be one of the potential areas for investments.

Rationalizing Legacy Applications

The biggest challenge, especially when it comes to the rationalization of legacy applications, is associated with finding a new vendor selling another technology. The ratio too is not in favor of the industry, as I have a 100 percent of the legacy infrastructure, maintaining with 40 percent of people. We are only in the stage of survival, and the current environment makes it critical to locate better ways of rationalization.

Further, managing growth is one of the tricky tasks. The attempts to find ways to control growth most of the times results in buying a new technology. The key is to refrain from obsolete methodologies. To manage the appetite for new things against the desire to keep the old thing running, to control costs in a place and time where everything is getting expensive, bringing value to your investments and many more. The final challenge is the concept of SaaS and cloud operations which are dynamically changing the financial model of the company. Jumping on from a procurement plan with capital expenses into a SaaS model where everything is considered as a pure expense, it changes the way companies operate as some companies use their capital and expense budget as a throttle to make profits. When you tie key systems on expense systems, there is lack of flexibility and depth to be able to make those adjustments to your financial forecasting. So it changes some of the financial values of the way big businesses operate.

The last thing concerning SaaS operations is the legal protections that are available if one goes on to host data on the Amazon host servers. Basically, the real roadblock is to make sure that people and processes are efficient and cost effective.

Innovations are No Silver Bullets

Innovations in many cases are used as silver bullets. Sometimes, the real challenge is to master our capabilities and skills to deliver various services. In this scenario, better management of the human capital and aligning the human capital to the objectives becomes necessary.

With BYOD, we are changing the way people are interacting with computing environment. Through this, significant investments are made on enabling constant upgrades with the system as we continue to be concerned about workflow re-design and implementation. At SAIC, the belief is that innovations begin with people and in that way those are the innovations using technology. Allowing people to explore what they aspire to do differently, identifying the processes that deliver the capability followed by the technology that make it happen becomes almost self-defining. So it is important to enable people and make them proactive, dynamic to solve those challenges for the businesses.

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