As we often see, companies must adapt their business to maintain their customer base and simultaneously remain afloat in the competitive market. The “computer” generation or “millennial” generation, is changing the structure and functionality of organizations while acting as a catalyst for IT transformation. With this, comes a need to deliver more capabilities at a fast speed and operate with agility.
David Fitzgerald, Director of Distributed Infrastructure, and his team at Unum, a life/accidental insurance company, recognized this need and have focused on data center automation to improve cycle time and service delivery. He discusses business goals and the cathartic moment they realized they needed to change.
What was the initial catalyst for your IT transformation?
From an infrastructure perspective, things were happening a little bit too fast for us. We were trying to slow everybody down and work at our pace because it was important for us to maintain a standard way of doing business. But our end users began asking why they couldn’t just take their credit card and go to Amazon EC2 to get the server they want in 15 minutes. They didn’t understand why it took our organization so much longer. That was a cathartic moment for us. We weren’t really thinking about what the company needed to do; we were thinking about how we needed to control things as an infrastructure group to make sure that our world remained pristine and under control. So that was when we started down the data center automation path.
The organization has been able to improve the agility of their business by significantly accelerating the delivery of their IT services and implementing data center automation. But to get there, they needed to take a step back and define exactly where they wanted to go with their transformation.
What are your goals for the IT transformation?
What we are really trying to accomplish now is to get people to think differently about the way that we do business and how we deliver services. Previously we had developed a culture around our ability to handcraft a server, any way anybody wanted it. We prided ourselves on the ability to do that well. And now when we take a step back, we realize how profoundly stupid a philosophy that was as an organization. You will never improve business value going down that path. We probably had no two servers in the environment alike which creates an incredible overhead because it’s very difficult to problem solve in that environment. That was our way of doing business and evolving took a tremendous amount of change in our organization. This cultural change and shift in accountability was probably the most difficult piece of the project.
Watch this short video to learn more about Unum and how they are differentiating their business model to cater to the computer generation. Be sure to visit the Luminiaries site for more on their story and other organizations who are paving the way in cloud.