Once confined to the basements of corporate buildings, today’s IT infrastructure often lives in advanced data centers that have tens of thousands of servers. In an increasingly digital age, it is now crucial for companies to have infrastructure services in place that run application services that process transactions, handle customer data to reveal market insights, and support analytical tools that help executives and managers make and communicate the decisions shaping complex organizations.
One of the best ways to support changes in IT infrastructure and managed workplace services today are to integrate business strategy into both. McKinsey advises companies to get creative with service desk infrastructure. One way to accomplish this is to identify sources of value in order to offer support services, become more efficient, redefine business models and improve the customer experience.
Sources of Value
The first source of value McKinsey pinpoints involves real-time data collection, in which information is delivered immediately after collection. One example it provides are insurance companies in Britain and the U.S. that are using GPS devices and sensors to record the speed of cars, and also any damage to them. Infrastructure is necessary in this case to support and manage the sensors and other devices necessary to capture information accurately and cheaply.
McKinsey then identifies large-scale analytics as the next source of value. Companies are able to make decisions by using specialized algorithms, systems and processes to review, analyze and present information in a form that is more meaningful for organizations or end users.
Speed to market is another valuable point that companies need to consider. Infrastructure should be set up to support fast reaction time, including the ability to set up sales offices in rapidly growing territories quickly, give customers off-site support for their initiatives, or when online interactions swell, meet demands for services.
It might seem obvious, but companies also need to think about the customer experience. Gone are the days where all customer interactions are done in person. Now, customers want to interact via cell phones, call centers and kiosks, as well as in person. Only the right infrastructure can switch and route consumers across different types of networks flexibly.
From desktop productivity tools to smartphones, employees’ productivity relies on the corporate infrastructure. Decisions must be made about issues like balancing security with ease of use, where to set up videoconferencing equipment and which types of personal devices make the most sense to utilize.
Along with employees’ productivity, developers’ productivity is dependent upon corporate infrastructure. McKinsey writes that too many applications developers spend up to a third of their time as amateur systems engineers, devoting hours to consulting with server and network teams, trying to figure out incompatibilities and struggling to bridge gaps with technologies. Developers’ time could be better utilized in modeling applications for business processes or writing code.
What are Four Principles for Agile Transformation?
McKinsey advises that there are four shifts that can enable IT infrastructure organizations to operate in more agile and efficient manners. The first involves managing infrastructure by using software to construct environments in a quick, efficient way, similar to the way that application developers manage code. The next shift describes forming cross-functional teams of experienced infrastructure engineers that work with agile methods, simplifying processes for delivering infrastructure offerings and improving how infrastructure teams and development teams work together.
McKinsey notes that a modern agile IT infrastructure organization relies on well-rounded engineers to work closely with developers and deliver solutions efficiently, making extensive use of automation.
Four Groups of Critical Technologies
It’s becoming a more common trend – customers are interfacing with multiple channels at the same time. Gartner cites Olive Huang, its research vice president, who said, “by 2021, 15% of all customer service interactions will be completely handled by AI.”
Due to this shift, customer service and engagement leaders will need technology to deliver the desired user experience to clients.
Gartner has created four focus areas that group the most critical technologies:
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