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Gartner Identifies Top 10 Trends Impacting Infrastructure and Operations for 2019

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Gartner, Inc. highlighted the key technologies and trends that infrastructure and operations (I&O) leaders must start preparing for to support digital infrastructure in 2019.

“More than ever, I&O is becoming increasingly involved in unprecedented areas of the modern day enterprise. The focus of I&O leaders is no longer to solely deliver engineering and operations, but instead deliver products and services that support and enable an organization’s business strategy,” said Ross Winser, senior research director at Gartner. “The question is already becoming ‘How can we use capabilities like artificial intelligence (AI), network automation or edge computing to support rapidly growing infrastructures and accomplish business needs?”

Mr. Winser encouraged I&O leaders to prepare for the impacts of 10 key technologies and trends to support digital infrastructure in 2019. They are:

Serverless Computing

Serverless computing is an emerging software architecture pattern that promises to eliminate the need for infrastructure provisioning and management. I&O leaders need to adopt an application-centric approach to serverless computing, managing APIs and SLAs, rather than physical infrastructures. “The phrase ‘serverless’ is somewhat of a misnomer,” noted Mr. Winser. “The truth is that servers still exist, but the service provider is responsible for all the underlying resources involved in provisioning and scaling a runtime environment, resulting in appealing agility.”

Serverless does not replace containers or virtual machines, so it’s critical to learn how best and where to use the technology. “Developing support and management capabilities within I&O teams must be a focus as more than 20 percent of global enterprises will have deployed serverless computing technologies by 2020, which is an increase from less than 5 percent today,” added Mr. Winser.

AI Impacts

AI is climbing up the ranks in terms of the value it will serve I&O leaders who need to manage growing infrastructures without being able to grow their staff. AI has the potential to be organizationally transformational and is at the core of digital business, the impacts of which are already being felt within organizations. According to Gartner, global AI-derived business value will reach nearly $3.9 trillion by 2022.

Network Agility (or Lack of?)

The network underpins everything IT does — cloud services, Internet of Things (IoT), edge services — and will continue to do so moving forward.

“Teams have been under pressure to ensure network availability is high and as such the team culture is often to limit change, yet all around the network team the demands for agility have increased,” said Mr. Winser. The focus for 2019 and beyond must move to how I&O leaders can help their teams increase the pace of network operations to meet demand. “Part of the answer is building network agility that relies on automation and analytics, and addressing the real skills shift needed to succeed,” said Mr. Winser.

The demands on the network are set to grow with the advent of 5G, increasing cloud maturity, and the explosion in numbers of IoT devices. “These are just a few of the pressures leaders should anticipate — so the critical time frame to deal with this challenge is now,” said Mr. Winser.

Death of the Data Center

Gartner predicts that by 2025, 80 percent of enterprises will migrate entirely away from on-premises data centers with the current trend of moving workloads to colocation, hosting and the cloud leading them to shut down their traditional data center.

“I&O leaders must prepare to place workloads based on business needs, not constrained by physical location. From colocation through to public cloud — plenty of alternatives to on-premises data centers exist. Leaders must identify whether there are truly strategic reasons to persist with on-premises needs, especially when they consider the significant amount of investment involved is often amortized over many years,” said Mr. Winser. Preparations must begin now, as the critical time frame for this is 2021 to 2025.

Edge Computing

IoT and immersive technologies will drive more information processing to the edge, redefining and reshaping what I&O leaders will need to deploy and manage. The edge is the physical location where things and people connect with the networked digital world, and infrastructure will increasingly reach out to the edge. Edge computing is a part of a distributed computing topology where information processing is located close to the edge, which is where things and people produce or consume that information. It touches on the laws of physics, economy and land, all of which are contributing factors to how and when to use edge.

“This is another trend that does not replace the cloud, but augments it,” said Mr. Winser. “The critical time frame for organizations to adopt this trend is between 2020 and 2023.”

Digital Diversity Management

Digital diversity management is not about people, but rather about the discovery and maintenance of assets that are “out there” in any given modern digital enterprise. “There has been huge growth in the range and quantity of “things” that I&O is expected to know about, be supporting and be managing,” said Mr. Winser. “Traditional asset management is still important, but we’re moving into the realms of involvement with new assets that might have direct effects on the finances, health and welfare of the organization’s customers.” Preparing I&O is vital now before the critical time frame of 2020 to 2025.

New Roles Within I&O

I&O leaders find that staffing justifications require resolving complex relationships between costs, activities and customer quality expectations. Explaining I&O staffing requirements to IT and business leaders in terms of business value by connecting staffing levels to business performance and strategic objectives is a must in today’s modern digital enterprise.

“For instance, IT is increasingly taking on the role of supporting cloud services in terms of aggregation, customization, integration and governance. A big challenge with cloud services is keeping costs under control, and the business expects I&O to be doing just that. Rather than focusing solely on engineering and operations, I&O must develop the capabilities needed to broker services; these will require different roles to the I&O of old,” said Mr. Winser. The critical time frame for this trend starts immediately in 2019.

Software as a Service (SaaS) Denial

SaaS is software that is owned, delivered and managed remotely by one or more providers. The provider delivers software based on one set of common code and data definitions that is consumed in a one-to-many model by all contracted customers at any time on a pay-for-use basis or as a subscription based on use metrics.

In 2019 and beyond, SaaS will have a big impact on how organizations look at infrastructure delivery strategies moving forward. However, most I&O leaders are still focused on infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS) solutions. “SaaS itself is becoming a level of complexity that IT shops aren’t yet coping with as they should. The shift to SaaS must be accompanied with I&O support, all the way from ensuring visibility is maintained of what is in use, through to supporting compliance requirements and enterprise integration needs. Leaders must start this now as the pressure will be on through 2021 and beyond,” said Mr. Winser.

Talent Management Becomes Critical

Historically, IT staff have been vertically organized based around the technology stack they managed. As infrastructures go digital, there becomes a need for people to work horizontally across stacks in order to identify and remediate technology work stoppages in their business. Expanding I&O skill sets, practices and procedures to accommodate hybrid operations is of the utmost importance in 2019 and beyond. “In short, talent is the critical ingredient for a modern, high-performing technology organization, and great talent is in high demand. People that show versatility and adaptability are quickly becoming must-haves, particularly in hybrid environments,” said Mr. Winser.

Global Infrastructure Enablement

Despite few infrastructures being truly “global” in nature, organizations must still prepare for the notion of “infrastructure everywhere.” While doing so, I&O leaders must work within the constraints of tight budgets and cost pressures.

One way to tackle this challenge this is to wisely choose the network of partners needed for global success. “I&O leaders must look hard at their existing partners and raise the bar of expectation. Can they clearly identify the value the partner will bring to them in the context of global infrastructure? Are they unlocking all the value from recent investments their partners have been making?” said Mr. Winser. “There will be no time for ‘B-team’ partners in 2019 and beyond — I&O leaders must be on top of this trend between 2020 and 2023.”

Gartner clients can learn more about I&O leadership in the report,”2019 Planning Guide for Infrastructure and Operations.“

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Tata Tele business service hosts a Successful discussion with CXOs for resilience & business growth in Post COVID world

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Tata Tele Business Services (TTBS), hosted CXO Round Table Discussion with industry leaders on building a new mindset for business resilience and growth. The discussion centered around Respond, Reboot and Reinvent as key imperatives; with large Enterprises reinventing their business models as they continue to respond effectively to the aftershocks of the crisis.

 While the potential requirement for many organizations is to build digital competency, the larger goal is to be data-driven and leveraging the cloud capabilities. Moreover, witnessing variable cost structures, agile operations, and automation which could create stronger capabilities with digital presence and security.

According to an IDC report, ‘By 2022, 70% of all organizations will have accelerated use of digital technologies, transforming existing business processes to drive customer engagement, employee productivity, and business resiliency.’

Industry representatives such asUpkar Singh, Director IT, Fidelity Information Services India Ltd., Raj Neravathi – Head of Technology, Titan, Yogesh Kothari – Sr. Vice President, Quatrro Business Support Solutions shared their expertise upon business agility, examples from their professional career and how they are successfully driving the digital transformation journey for their organization.

Addressing the session, Mr. Shibhu Davies, Sales Head – North and East, Tata Communications Ltd. said, “There is a plethora of technology available in the market, understanding the most suitable one for a particular business is the key factor. To thrive in the next normal, companies must be data driven to make critical and timely decisions. While there is an uptick in the businesses investing in data and nimble technologies like cloud and AI, many are still struggling to maintain momentum. Businesses need to get out of cultural obstacles, address data privacy and governance challenges to enhance their degree of business transformation.” 

Elaborating further on increasing adoption of Cloud communication, Mr. Shibhu Davies explained, “Cloud Communication suite like Smartflo being offered by Tata Teleservices are inherently designed for a digital or hybrid environment and is well-equipped to deal with the growing overlap between digital technology and enterprise operations. Besides enhanced efficiency and operational flexibility, it offers more robust security to your business with a pre-configured unified threat management system.”

Mr. Upkar Singh, Director IT, Fidelity Information Services India Ltd said “Covid has created an unprecedented impact across all regions – organizations that are flexible both from technology and operational perspective have been able to RESPOND in time, REBOOT their functions and are now REINVENTING result oriented approach”

Mr. Raj Neravathi – Head of Technology, Titan said, “During times of catastrophes, leadership plays a very important role in adoption to change. Composure, calmness, honoring and supporting every internal and external stakeholder through thick and thin helps revive business and defines leadership by example.” 

Mr. Yogesh Kothari – Sr Vice President, Quatrro Business Support Solutions said, “Challenges that enterprises are facing in the current times is resistance to change. There is a lack of vision for creating a digital journey for the customer and technology know how for their business” 

Highlights of discussion: 

Challenges in Technology Adoption 

The key challenges faced by enterprises for adopting new technologies extend both towards the changing customer experience along with employee pushback. Merely purchasing and implementing a solution in response to a localized issue does not equate to technology adoption and agility. Organizations are considering two key points, recognizing and responding to the shifting trends in consumer behavior and avoiding the initiatives that target specific issues.

The post-covid world has led to unexpectedly increased customer readiness towards trying new channels for interacting with businesses. 

Organizations adopting to technology, lead to driving changes strategically through an ongoing process where being receptive to changing consumer trends helps in the formulation of effective roadmaps. These roadmaps can then be used to build better value propositions by leveraging the right technological advancements, leading to business growth and benefits.

Role of Leadership In Bringing Organizational Change

Leadership plays a very critical role while dealing with catastrophes. From healthcare solutions to virtual classrooms, from facilitating remote work and learning, from re-imagining online business models and digital revenue lines, to stepping up the cyber security, organizations are working on new challenges.

The pandemic has accelerated transformation multifariously for businesses in India. Organizations are re-imagining their business models, relooking at talent management strategies, and fast-tracking digitalization efforts to be more resilient to disruption. 

Organizations are simplifying and enhancing their IT landscape, architecting systems for integration, balancing operational and capital expenses using the cloud. Investments are being made towards intelligent systems that provide incremental learning abilities. 

Technology Investments for a Digital Future

Over the last couple of months, it has become increasingly evident that digital adoption is not negotiable. Having the right technology to power up digital strategies is fundamental in today’s business world. It is a business requirement without which organizations are not able to grow in a rapidly evolving market landscape.

A good business continuity solution that delivers digital workspaces to access critical applications, have accelerated the performance of organizational applications on remote connections. With right platform and solutions clubbed with excessive trainings, organizations have managed to continue with their operations without major loss in productivity or efficiency.

Digital technologies have caused a shift in customer expectations, resulting in a new kind of modern buyer. Today’s consumers are constantly connected and aware of what they can do with technology. Bringing the employees up to speed to cater to the new age customers has been one of the key form of investments for various organizations. 

Respond, Reboot and Reinvent – The New Mindset for Growth

Organizations have taken immediate actions focused on keeping people safe and essential business functions operating. This has been relatively marked with high effort and possibly chaotic activity.

Organizations are adopting to the wholistic approach, recognizing evolving customer demand, channels of information consumption, building continued incremental intelligence including technology that provides agility. Agile decision making and strategy setting by enterprises have outsized performance and established a lead over the competition that sustains long after the initial disruption. By reinventing themselves, organizations have learnt to conduct operational processes and workflows in new, repeatable, and scalable ways.

Key Takeaways

  • Gaining New perspectives, relooking at business models and embracing new models of harnessing technology have become business priorities.  
  • Reinvent on an ongoing basis to build an agile, adaptive & resilient enterprise for a sustainable future. 
  • Uninterrupted connectivity between all stakeholders, internally within employees and externally with customers and vendors across platforms and touch points is of critical importance.

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Networking

Bharti Airtel Announces 5G Ready Network

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In a major landmark, Bharti Airtel (“Airtel”) announced that it has become the country’s first telco to successfully demonstrate & orchestrate LIVE 5G service over a commercial network in Hyderabad city.

Airtel did this over its existing liberalised spectrum in the 1800 MHz band through the NSA (Non Stand Alone) network technology. Using a first of its kind, dynamic spectrum sharing, Airtel seamlessly operated 5G and 4G concurrently within the same spectrum block. This demonstration has emphatically validated the 5G readiness of Airtel’s network across all domains – Radio, Core and Transport. 

Airtel 5G is capable of delivering 10x speeds, 10x latency and 100x concurrency when compared to existing technologies. Specifically, in Hyderabad, users were able to download a full length movie in a matter of seconds on a 5G phone. This demonstration has underlined the company’s technology capabilities. The full impact of the 5G experience, however, will be available to our customers, when adequate spectrum is available and government approvals received.

Gopal Vittal, MD & CEO, Bharti Airtel said: “I am very proud of our engineers who have worked tirelessly to showcase this incredible capability in Tech City, Hyderabad today. Every one of our investments is future proofed as this game changing test in Hyderabad proves. With Airtel being the first operator to demonstrate this capability, we have shown again that we have always been the first in India to pioneer new technologies in our quest for empowering Indians everywhere.” 

“We believe India has the potential to become a global hub for 5G innovation. To make that happen we need the eco system to come together – applications, devices and network innovation. We are more than ready to do our bit.” added Gopal Vittal.                  

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Networking

Airtel Xstream Fiber Rolls Out Gigabit Wi-Fi Experience

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Bharti Airtel (“Airtel”) has kicked off the New Year with some exciting news for customers with the launch of hyper-fast Wi-Fi experience. 

Airtel Xstream Fiber customers can now enjoy 1 Gbps data speeds over Wi-Fi and no longer have to be constrained by a dedicated LAN cable. The Airtel Xstream Fiber Rs 3999 plan now comes with a complimentary 1 Gbps Wi-Fi router to go with unlimited data quota and massive bundled content.  

The highly advanced 4×4 Wi-Fi router, will enable seamless 1 Gbps Wi-Fi coverage across Homes and Small Offices. This will unlock a great experience for online gaming and animation and for work or study from home with large number of concurrently connected devices. Small Offices will be able to deploy multiple high speed connections for applications such as stock trading and online collaboration that requires reliable high speed connectivity with zero downtime.      

Says Vir Inder Nath, CEO – Homes, Bharti Airtel: “Reliable high speed connectivity is a lifeline in today’s digital first world and Airtel is proud to be at the forefront of India’s broadband revolution. A key ask from our customers was liberation from the LAN cable to enjoy the 1Gbps experience and we are delighted to make that happen.”        

Airtel Xstream Fiber’s 1 Gbps broadband plan at Rs 3999 also comes with a complimentary Airtel Xstream Box that offers 550 TV channels and OTT content from the Airtel Xstream app library that includes over 10,000 movies & shows aggregated across 7 OTT apps and 5 studios. It offers subscription to premier video streaming apps such as Amazon Prime Video and ZEE5, all accessible through the Airtel Xstream Box.

Airtel is India’s largest private sector broadband service provider with presence in over 150 cities. 

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