Transforming IT infrastructure organizations using agile  

25 October 2018:

Many companies have accelerated application development by adopting agile principles and modern software-engineering best practices, such as automated testing. Yet it remains uncommon to apply these methods and tools to IT infrastructure and operations, even though doing so presents opportunities to increase productivity and the pace at which digital products and services are brought to market. The typical IT infrastructure organization continues to emphasize stability over speed. Requests for infrastructure services still often go through an assembly line-style process involving many handoffs, long delays, and frequent misunderstandings.

Traditional IT infrastructure processes made sense in the past. But now that the latest technology advances have eliminated the need for manual configuration work and consumers expect to interact with companies digitally, it has become essential for companies to modernize their IT infrastructure organizations, thereby accelerating IT deployments and shortening time to market for technology projects. Four shifts can enable IT infrastructure organizations to operate in a more agile and efficient manner. The first of these shifts involves managing infrastructure much as application developers manage code, by using software to configure environments in a swift, reliable way. The other three are organizational: forming cross-functional teams (or “squads”) of well-rounded infrastructure engineers that work using agile methods, simplifying processes for delivering infrastructure service offerings, and improving how infrastructure teams and development teams work together.

Using an agile transformation to modernize an IT infrastructure organization isn’t easy, but it is worthwhile. In our experience, agile approaches can enable IT infrastructure groups to boost their productivity by 25 to 30 percent in six to 18 months, depending on the size of the organization. The gains can increase further as automated solutions are built and fully adopted. Additional benefits often include improved infrastructure service delivery and shortened time to market for digital products and features. In this article, we explore how infrastructure organizations can modernize themselves using agile methods, starting with a glimpse of what the shift looked like at three companies. We also provide a look at the four shifts described above, along with practical recommendations for how to get the transition under way.

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Source: McKinsey

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