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The changing role of infrastructure and operations

I&O leaders will need to automate for efficiency, manage customer requirements, optimise cloud operations and explore new technologies to improve services and enable innovation

Digital acceleration and global economic uncertainty are challenging how infrastructure and operations (I&O) leaders manage their IT systems, especially when combined with maintaining complex legacy technologies alongside embracing modern architectures.

In addition to managing this hybrid environment, the exponential increase in telemetry volume and velocity has added scale and complexity. The increase in the generation and consumption of data means that there is an increasing need to gather business insights with automation, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML)

This domain of AI for IT operations (AIOps), along with modern incident management practices, must also assist in issue resolution and provide actionable intelligence with greater speed and accuracy.

These new realities have made the role of I&O more visible as organisations adopt “anywhere operations” to ensure business continuity. Most I&O leaders now face increasing pressure to deliver improved services while enabling innovation through the introduction of new technologies.

Supporting business objectives

I&O teams now play a critical role in helping organisations find new forms of operational efficiency, scale productivity and pioneer new business models.

To keep up with these new demands and avoid risking irrelevance to the business, it’s important for I&O leaders to continually focus on transforming, securing and enhancing their leadership capabilities. At the same time, ensuring teams have the skills, techniques and cultures to deliver the needs of the business and customers.

To deliver improved services and support the organisation in new and innovative ways, there are four key areas you can focus on.

1. Automate for efficiency, quality, speed and repeatability

I&O automation reduces operator toil, improves cycle time, drives accurate and faster problem resolution, as well as increases the quality and repeatability of services. To be successful, automation must be centrally embedded in your overall I&O strategy and not appear sporadically through siloed initiatives.

Gartner predicts that 70% of organisations will implement structured automation to deliver flexibility and efficiency by 2025, an increase from 20% of organisations in 2021. Only 21% of I&O leaders report high levels of success in their automation endeavours, however, so make sure your automation is embedded to be successful. This will help you improve digital business experiences and deliver value to stakeholders.

2. Monitor and manage customer requirements

Monitoring and IT service management of I&O is undergoing significant transformation, as traditional approaches are often not suitable for modern distributed environments. The ephemeral nature of these environments requires new technologies to gain visibility into critical services.

If you use new approaches, such as the use of AIOps, observability and modern incident management, these will help you deal with the overwhelming volume and velocity of operational data, allowing your team to make fast, more accurate and better-informed decisions.

By 2026, Gartner predicts 70% of organisations successfully applying observability will achieve shorter latency for decision making, enabling competitive advantage for target business or IT processes.

A growing number of organisations are focusing on application performance monitoring (APM) and observability to measure user experience and drive business outcomes. By 2027, Gartner expects the percentage of applications monitored by APM and observability solutions in an enterprise will rise from 20-50%.

3. Optimise cloud operations

Organisations are under pressure to effectively manage and support cloud environments. As requirements grow, ensure you are building methodologies to effectively manage public, hybrid and private clouds at scale, while maintaining control over costs and governance, and demonstrating value. In addition, develop operational strategies that address modern architectures, such as microservices, containers and cloud functions.

4. Sense, anticipate and respond

I&O teams traditionally have had a conservative approach and are often resistant to change. In the modern agile world, those that don’t innovate run the risk of being bypassed. To meet new demands and customers, explore new technologies and assess the business benefits they can bring, such as increased agility, reduced developer friction and faster release cycles.

Padraig Byrne is senior director analyst at Gartner

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