Friday, 28 October 2016 14:19

Is your IT department preparing for digital transformation?


Digital transformation means organisations need to think about changes to the workplace and applications, and what services need to be deployed, BMC's chief technology officer for EMEA Eric Blum told iTWire.

He pointed to the way HSBC plans to close about 2000 of its branches in the UK and suggested that would require the development of a digital workplace for staff no longer housed in bank branches.

Such situations mean IT departments would need to rethink the way they deliver services in order to keep up with the rate of change expected by business units.

Rather than two major releases of software per year, they would need to think in terms of one a week.

They would also need to provide service catalogues, onboarding services, training and more.

Some of the largest European banks are going down this route with the aid of BMC, he said, including one of the top three.

But it's not just the financial services industry that's undergoing significant changes. Blum also cited BMW, which is using BMC's Remedy service management to support its resellers, with MyIT as the interface to shield people working in dealerships from the technicalities.

The service operation within a car dealership is more similar to IT support than you might imagine, he suggested. A customer experiences a problem, requests service, and the support staff start by checking for known problems that cause those symptoms and their solutions.

And dealers increasingly need to be able to see which versions of the various pieces of software are running on a car, for example, to check if the latest navigation updates have been installed.

If a customer calls in while driving to report an issue, the service desk agent can even remotely check a connected car while it's running, and then, perhaps, advise the customer to take the car in for servicing or just to pull over and park so an over-the-air patch can be safely applied.

Other sectors going through similar changes include telecommunications, managed service providers, and healthcare. This approach is also suited to emerging areas such as the Internet of Things and smart cities, Blum suggested.

"5G is coming" and that "is going to be a paradigm shift in energy demand" – many fewer proxies will be required to act as intermediaries between the sensors and controllers in the field and the systems that supervise them, resulting in lower overall cost.

But this will make automation and configuration management even more important, he said, pointing out that BMC has already rearchitected much of its software to cope with the massive numbers of Things expected – 30 billion within the next few years, according to some estimates.

Part of that change is the adoption of microservices, which means additional instances can be easily spun up to deal with increased demand. "When you start to do that, there are no architectural limits," Blum said.

While very large numbers of devices are expected, they probably won't generate as many trouble tickets as systems used directly by people, and "it's all about the monitoring and the automation".

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Stephen Withers

Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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