You might be forgiven for thinking, that in today’s Cloud-centric World an understanding of IT infrastructure is no longer a critical requirement. If you can spin up new…

Due Diligence: A sound start on the journey to the Cloud and Digital Transformation

You might be forgiven for thinking, that in today’s Cloud-centric World an understanding of IT infrastructure is no longer a critical requirement. If you can spin up new servers in the public cloud in a matter of minutes and your developers are designing serverless apps and services, why should it be necessary to think about the physical infrastructure?

The reality is somewhat different. Mobile, IoT, Big Data, Analytics, Media Streaming and AI are all driving strategic change, in where apps and data are stored and processed and how and where services are consumed. These changes are driving a rapid evolution in business models. The ability to adapt your business at pace and to disrupt, rather than being disrupted, is now a critical business capability.

It makes no difference if you are running your own data centre, have gone completely public-cloud or have some mix of the two, the decisions you do, or don’t take, will have a profound effect on the success of your business. The speed with which new technologies are introduced, the way in which existing and new vendors jostle for position and dominance and the availability of a range of different delivery options make for complex, and sometimes confusing procurement scenarios.

The question we often hear from CIOs and business leaders alike is, “OK, I get it, but how and where do we start?” The first thing to do is to get a clear understanding of your current IT infrastructure estate and the applications you are running.

If you are involved in a merger or acquisition, the idea of undertaking due diligence on the target’s IT environment is an expected and necessary step in identifying risks and unexpected costs. But such due diligence shouldn’t be restricted to an M&A scenario. Failure to carry out due diligence on your IT estate could mean unexpected, costly problems arise during any cloud migration or digital transformation project.

If you don’t know what IT hardware and software you’ve got, how can you prioritise what to move to the cloud?

Lack of due diligence also has implications for day to day IT operations. The recent WannaCry cyber-attack resulted in many parts of the NHS shutting down all their IT. This was not because all the systems were in danger of being affected. Far from it; it was a consequence of not having a clear, documented picture of what systems they had where, the state of update patches, interconnectivity and interoperability vulnerabilities etc. Lack of a data driven understanding of their environment lead them to take the nuclear option because they had little ability to assess risk.

Due diligence is far more than a tick- box exercise

Due diligence sounds like one of those dull, necessary tasks that are needed to tick the governance, risk and compliance boxes. However, the reality is it is hard to be agile and responsive if you don’t have a sound, data driven start point. Kick that due diligence on your IT environment off now. You can’t have a cloud or digital transformation strategy without an understanding of where you are starting from. It provides the basic underpinning for understanding how IT will support the business moving forward.

by Peter Borner

Peter is the founder and Managing Partner of Percipience llp. He is an entrepreneur and successful business leader with board level experience and senior leadership roles with global firms including Sony Music, British Telecom, Liquid Audio and Axispoint. He currently holds a non executive position on the advisory board for Rise-To and is active in the third sector with Rotary and The Rotary Foundation. His expertise includes technology diligence for M&A and advising firms on IT consolidation and migration to consumption based costing through the use of Cloud Technologies, Agile and DevOps.

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