As the pace of business changes at an ever-increasing rate, there are increasing demands on IT systems to support continual change. From an IT perspective we need to be ‘on the front foot’ to anticipate the needs of the business. One of the terms we will hear more regularly is that of ‘Fast IT’. We caught up with two of our leading architects, Ramy Ibrahim and Charles Ponniah to get a further insight into the concept of Fast IT and how organisations can embrace it.
From Left: Ramy Ibrahim, Charles Ponniah.
Can you explain what FAST IT is?
Ramy: Fast IT is a relatively new term. It’s about the new way of delivering IT services. It is a way of thinking that will enable rapid innovation in a business. It’s about providing that experience that consumers traditionally get, that corporate IT departments always seem to slow down.
Why is it important to move to Fast IT?
Ramy: It is about the user experience. If the user experience isn’t up to the standards that users expect, they will find a way around it. The key thing is making sure you meet the internal metrics such as security governance and delivery method, but also ensuring that it delivers a good user experience.
Charles: It is also about enablement. At Fujitsu, our focus is on getting people onto the technology faster to enable them to produce things in a more creative or faster way.
How do organisations stand to benefit from adopting Fast IT?
Charles: It is all about unleashing ability, efficiency, productivity and creativity. It is about having the ability and capabilities to outpace your competition. Late last year we conducted a “Hackathon” with our employees from across Australia and New Zealand. As a result of this concentrated effort over two days we identified a number of viable products that we could look to commercialise. This is a great example of how organisations can benefit from this approach rather than the traditional models of development.
Is Fast IT, something we can take advantage of now?
Charles: We can definitely take advantage of it now, for example this is the basis of Fujitsu’s Windows 10 express offering. In the past there was no choice but to lock everyone into a standard SOE to standardise IT management. Now we can offer end users much more flexibility while still satisfying the requirements for standardisation of certain aspects of the corporate environment.
In an organisation, how do we dictate which people move to a faster IT before the rest?
Charles: It is not so much about focusing on job titles but focusing on the functions that people perform for the business. If they are tasked with digital transformation or are the new age thinker, they need the new age technology first. For example, those who work in the digital-focussed roles will benefit from moving faster first.
What roles do you think would be suited to getting onto that fast IT approach as opposed being supported by traditional IT.
Ramy: You can no longer put everyone in one bucket. So the strategy for tackling a large enterprise like a big bank for example, is seeing where the different use cases are. You have to see where the applications stand from a platforms perspective. One approach is to establish the users who have less requirements. Take the travelling salesman example, they depend on very few applications, most will be web enabled, they just need productivity applications on top. They don’t need heavily managed laptops as you would for a call centre, which might have PC owned compliance and other regular requirements. But from an applications perspective, it’s about who should be put on a legacy platform and who should move forward onto the likes of Windows 10, and not hold them up because of one or two applications. By using virtual App and desktop technologies, you can isolate those legacy systems and still move ahead.
So it’s more role based than person based?
Ramy: Correct. You no longer deliver one service from IT, it is about having the Swiss army knife solution rather than the single solution to go across your whole business.
Can you give us some examples of Fast IT in the market?
Ramy: One example of that is the Windows 10 express service that Fujitsu launched last year. We are no longer managing a laptop and a desktop in a traditional manner: you are taking what Microsoft delivers on a device such as a surface pro in its native fashion, and managing that over the cloud. So you don’t need the traditional infrastructure, you’re getting the updates from Microsoft directly, with IT administration, control and security services on top from Fujitsu.
What about security? Does moving down the Fast IT path compromise security?
Charles: If you look at traditional IT we focus on protecting the device. We want to lock the device down. New age security thinking should be focussed on the data that the user can access. Our Windows 10 express service focuses on the information and data that the user can access and how you can manipulate the data. It is not about restricting the user or the device.
From your experience, what is the feedback from users about taking advantage of Fast IT?
Charles: If you look at how you can seamlessly run our life from your phone, the first thing you do in the morning is to pick up your phone, not necessarily to check emails, it’s getting the information to focus on your day. Corporate services or enterprise services should be as seamless or as quick as using your phone, that is what users want.
Ramy: The users move away from focusing on technology to making sure they are achieving their business productivity.
What’s the best approach to get started with Fast IT?
Charles: I think it’s important to start with the key objective in mind. Strategy and assessment are important, but it’s also important we are outcome focused from the very start. It is important to ask what I want for my users in my environment in 18 months or 5 years, whatever the target is. There is a really good video from Fujitsu Forum that discusses the ‘enabling digital culture’ that explains this really well.
Ramy: The key decision to change is to understand your current landscape and to see where the opportunities lie. Based on that, you can make the assessment on what areas to tackle first, what are your quick wins and what are your strategic areas. Fujitsu can help start that move by doing an end user services assessment as a starting point.
Charles: Essentially it’s about knowing the customer, being rooted into their organisation and establishing how far we can push the boundaries. This is something that is currently working really well with customers who are traditionally slow and want to get fast.