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[Expert advice] Digital Transformation Key Issues: Cloud, Agile & DevOps

June 21, 2018

In a context of increased competitiveness, New Information Systems Technologies are at the heart of the search for value contributing to the development of companies. This value is generated by the implementation of an IT solution responding to an economic challenge aimed at improving the competitiveness of the Company or representing a competitive advantage facilitating the taking of market share.

The perpetual search for operational excellence in the service of the business lines is pushing the Information Systems Departments to cut back and put them to the limit. Indeed, the operation of an Information System can sometimes prove to be very complex in view of the risks involved. Thus, the first half of 2018 was marked by the launch of numerous strategic projects in search of, on the one hand, the right organisational model adapted to the context and culture of the Company and, on the other hand, new efficient processes integrating new technologies and methodologies.

In this value creation approach, the transformation towards an Agile & DevOps model targets the provision of competitive IT Services to the Business Units, aligned with their needs, knowing that reactivity and agility of implementation are an integral part of the requirements.

Mourad BEN HAMOUDA, Technical Director at ITS Group, IT Services company specialized in accelerating the digital transformation of its customers, offers us a master plan composed of five key programs to succeed in its transformation:
1. IT ecosystem change with the emergence of new technologies and particularly in the Open Source sphere
2. The transformation of IT professions with the arrival of new technologies requiring new skills but also new practices
3. The evolution of IT Infrastructures and sound from the Technical Base to "Agile" Infrastructures or Infrastructures as code in a public, private or hybrid Cloud strategy.
4. The transformation of IT Production towards a DevOps model with Agile collaboration between Developers and Operators
5. Securing Information Systems by taking into account all the developments of the previous projects but also the new General Rules for the Protection of Personal Data (RGPD)

Changing IT ecosystems
Born at the beginning of the 1970s, free software (Open Source) today represents nearly ten percent of the budget of Information Systems Departments. In recent years, Open Source solutions have reached a level of functionality and maturity equivalent to that of some software publishers, while offering guaranteed support and maintenance with new Open Source publishers. In addition to the economic gain on the cost of licenses, the Open Source sphere is very active in terms of innovation, which is the main expectation of the market and which explains why the growth of Open Source is greater than the growth of the IT market. It should be noted that publishers and manufacturers (for the hardware part) of proprietary solutions are not left behind, and also meet the demand for innovation.

In this spirit of innovation, the Information Systems Departments define their technological roadmap by integrating the use of new solutions, whether they come from the Open Source or Private world. This gives rise to a multitude of POCs (Proof of Concept) of new products (Software or Hardware) on a restricted perimeter in order to test its effectiveness, but also to demonstrate its added value in the context of the Enterprise. Thus, with the arrival of these new Solutions, IT ecosystems are changing and require new skills to ensure interoperability and usability.

The transformation of the IT professions
The need for agility coupled with the arrival of new technologies have a strong impact on the evolution of IT businesses. Indeed, many Information Systems Departments are strengthening their teams with transformation managers experienced in Agile methodologies and technical and functional consultants with a disruptive approach. In order to succeed in the transformation, the teams align themselves with new practices in historically ITIL-based organizations with a culture of on-demand service delivery. Information Systems Departments are leading an unprecedented change management with strong impacts on Human Resources.
It is a question of identifying, supporting, informing, training and above all leading the implementation of an organization around common short and medium term objectives. This change impacts not only the IT Businesses but also the Businesses of Companies who must think and rethink their strategy by relying on innovation and implementation capacities, particularly in an Agile logic.
The Information Systems Departments are developing new partnerships, thus enabling the contribution of new rare skills and even the implementation of training programs or courses to overcome the shortage of skilled profiles in these new professions.

The evolution of IT Infrastructures
The infrastructure layer does not escape its transformation even if it imposes numerous constraints related to its three essential hardware components: Servers, Storage and Network equipment.
The foundations of a so-called Agile Infrastructure are based on 2 levels:
1. hardware and software
resources 2. Infrastructure services offered to end users in the form of APIs via a portal
The IT Infrastructure Departments are strongly tending towards an Infrastructure as code by relying on solutions aimed at automating and accelerating the delivery of environments through virtualization, hyperconvergence, containerization and orchestration without neglecting the security aspects.

The transformation of IT Production
The production engineering profession is at the crossroads between the world of technical infrastructure and that of functional applications. It is a question of ensuring and guaranteeing the integration of applications in their target Production environment while meeting the requirements of operability. The IT Production Departments are setting up new tool platforms whose purpose is to serve projects in a DevOps approach on the following 4 macro-processes: Continuous Integration, Continuous Qualification, Continuous Deployment and Continuous Monitoring.

Securing Information Systems
There are two major phenomena in the security of Information Systems: cybersecurity and the RGPD. Indeed, cybercrime remains at the forefront of CISOs' concerns and 38% of global companies have not achieved DPM compliance. The Agile & DevOps Transformation stimulates Information Systems Departments to implement new technologies in search of innovation. In addition, the rapid evolution of information systems through innovation brings new security issues, the key to which will probably come from innovation itself.

The Information Systems Departments believe that they will pass a major stage in their digital transformation by 2020. And this is only a phase of digital transition because with the democratization of artificial intelligence coupled with connected objects and robotics, we can expect new perspectives and trajectories of digital transformation.

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