Driving Business Innovation Through IT Adoption

Media Corp International is proud to be hosting the CIO Leaders Roundtable Dinner, Powered by Tata Communications for the exciting new launch of IZO Cloud Enablement Platform. The Roundtable will be taking place on December 9th at Restaurant Petrus, Island Shangri-La, Hong Kong and will provide the attending CIO’s and Senior IT Executives an overview of Tata Communication’s IZO Private Cloud.

In order to get a better understanding of this platform, we spoke with CR Srinivasan, Senior Vice President – Global Data Centre & Cloud Business, Tata Communications who will be speaking at the dinner engagement and who shared with us the organisations’ best practices that help enterprises manage the transition to Hybrid IT.


In today’s hyper-competitive global market, enterprises need a more flexible and agile approach that enables them to respond faster to new opportunities. In addition to the traditional IT delivery model, today’s enterprises need a new and separate IT fast-track model – Hybrid IT. As with any change however, the move to Hybrid IT requires a thoughtful, step-by-step, risk-mitigated approach.


sriniCR Srinivasan, Senior Vice President – Global Data Centre & Cloud Business, Tata Communications

Can you give us your views on some of the major trends that are affecting enterprise IT organizations today and their delivery models?

Enterprises around the world are rushing to leverage value from mobile, cloud, analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT). All this is resulting in a widening digital divide between what their IT organizations can provide and what the enterprise wants and needs. IT organizations are working tirelessly to respond to these changes and the answer appears to be a new, emerging IT model that combines stability and agility to meet both traditional enterprise IT needs and those of fast-moving enterprise business units.

What is creating the widening digital divide between what IT organizations can deliver and what the enterprises various stakeholders want?

Today’s entrepreneurial start-ups are being launched not inside the proverbial garage, but within business units of large global enterprises. These new business units are driving enterprise innovation by leveraging new analytical tools, cloud and outsourced technology services.

Some of the major challenges for them have been operational obstacles – getting the fast response they need from IT. Here the businesses are facing an interesting challenge, how to maneuver the clash of cultures and priorities. IT operations are traditionally highly structured and measured – not especially focused on flexibility and agility, which is what these new and aggressive business units need. The collision of these diverging priorities has led business units to essentially go their own way and seek IT solutions outside the control of the IT department.

What is the driving force leading to the emergence of Hybrid IT as the new IT model for today’s world?

The traditional IT model was born in the 1950s and 1960s – a world without digital technology and the Internet. Now, with the ubiquitous Internet and digital transformation, the pace of change is accelerating at warp speed. Enterprises, large and small, cannot afford to wait months to implement new initiatives and solutions. That’s why, in addition to the traditional IT model, today’s enterprises need a new and separate IT fast-track model – Hybrid IT.

Can you elaborate further on Hybrid IT from your perspective?

Hybrid IT is the principle of two IT delivery models co-existing within the same enterprise, but delivered, managed and supported differently. The challenge today for a CIO is to enable the two ends of the spectrum to interact and work together to enable a more stable IT organization which delivers to the needs of today’s users. Typically, they can be defined as ‘Traditional IT’ and ‘Agile IT’. Traditional IT as we know it, moves slowly and emphasizes scalability, efficiency, safety and accuracy. Agile IT is the new, non-sequential approach to IT that emphasizes agility, flexibility and speed. It’s focused on time-to-market, rapid application evolution and alignment with the new business unit approach.

What are important considerations for enterprises embarking on the transition to Hybrid IT?

According to the current industry trends, the move to Hybrid IT requires a thoughtful, step-by-step, risk-mitigated approach – not a great leap forward. Business leaders need to find answers for diverse set of questions:

  • What are the best transition methodologies to follow?
  • Where should different kinds of workloads run?
  • How will the enterprise develop new application models for this new paradigm?
  • What kind of infrastructure is needed?
  • What kinds of tools are required to manage this new environment?
  • Where should different kinds of data be stored?

What according to you should be the starting point for IT leaders within enterprises to start this journey?

I would advise IT leaders to first determine which model makes the most sense for a project. Deciding which mode to use on a project often has more to do with company culture than anything else. Some corporate cultures demand that every detail be worked out before making a move. Others favour moving fast versus agonizing over every potential flaw. The takeaway: determine which camp your enterprise aligns with – and move ahead cautiously or quickly.

What are the success criteria that an IT leader should look for, when making a choice?

Success criteria for projects deployed using either of the IT models are not the same. This completely depends on what the end objectives are. Agile IT projects are more exploratory and many may not have a set list of capabilities required at the start. Identifying the business outcome and aligning resources at the very beginning of the project to the best of knowledge is a very important first step. For example, a potential outcome could be “improve lead generation by X% through better segmentation of marketing campaigns.” The outcome defines the scope and fulfilling the scope determines completion, rather than just fulfilling a list of technical requirements.

How should enterprises best manage the transition process to Hybrid IT?

Instead of forcing every enterprise IT need into the same model, Hybrid IT allows different workloads to be handled differently. The end objective is deploy optimal IT infrastructure best suited for the need using minimum business resources.

It is advised to start small, with one or two pilot projects that include both modes. You’ll want to see how a fast-track model project works in parallel, openly and collaboratively, with traditional model projects. In time, the Hybrid IT model will refocus IT on four key areas of transformation:

  • Deciding what is right for an organization is dependent on organization culture. Business leaders need to make the right choice in deciding which model of hybrid IT is apt for their organization
  • New ways of designing, developing, and deploying applications and services using: cloud services; distributed, fault-tolerant system architecture; and agile, DevOps methodologies.
  • Business applications amenable to new architectures, iterative feature development and fast release cycles.
  • IT skills required to work within the agile/cloud environment and which successfully implement the resulting applications and services.

What other aspects should be considered?

I would like to begin with applications that have been deployed and supported currently within the IT environment. A large enterprise can have 500 or more applications running through its IT infrastructure. You need to compile an inventory of them all, determine which ones are still useful and group them according to the appropriate IT model – traditional or fast-track.

Next, the infrastructure. Most enterprises also have multiple types of IT estates within their current deployment models: leased, private, public and hybrid, but have very little control over what their clouds are doing or how well they are performing. You will want to take an infrastructure inventory and determine what services and applications are running in each.

And finally the management tools needed to bring all this together. Many large enterprises are using open source technology to launch their Hybrid IT transformational journey. The goal with open source is to increase flexibility and control, avoid vendor lock-in and mitigate expensive licensing costs. You’ll want to determine the best way to incorporate various open source solutions into your IT infrastructure based on licensing, compliance and support among other criteria.

Could you provide us with some details of the recently launch IZO Private Cloud solution, which seems to be your response to enterprises looking to make the hybrid IT journey?

Operating clouds with multiple vendors and managing workloads across siloed IT environments can become a very time consuming and complicated process. IZO Private Cloud is an OpenStack based platform that has been developed in response to our customer requirements to enable them to operate and deliver a seamless and integrated backend infrastructure. The service helps enterprises deliver IT services with agility, foster innovation and increase efficiency across the board.

IZO Private Cloud offers “single pane of glass” with complete automation, orchestration and management, which provides unprecedented visibility and control of various workloads that are running in diverse clouds environments.

Are you currently working with your customers to deploy this solution?

Yes, absolutely. We are currently working with a leading infrastructure financial conglomerate group in India with business interests across various sectors. The group has four entities and each has a separate IT infrastructure and different delivery models, some more evolved than others. The major challenge was to help them consolidate their entire IT estate and deliver a robust and secure integrated cloud solution for all the four entities on a common platform. We have deployed the IZO Private Cloud solution for this customer for an end-to-end seamless integration, and also be able to customize the architecture to align with their IT growth strategy. We provided an open platform for them to integrate their existing services, helping them deliver internal IT services transparently through chargebacks and integrated managed services including auto-ticketing, workflow monitoring, etc.

Can you tell us more about Tata Communications and how its positioned to support enterprises looking to adopt cloud computing?

Today, enterprises everywhere are looking for new ways of disruptive innovation. According to some reports, data creation, management and storage needs of the organizations are expanding at a pace that has never been seen before. Cloud services help bridge this gap for enterprises and has hence become a very important part of the puzzle, that needs to be understood and adopted fast, to stay competitive and grow faster.

Businesses need a technology partner who can match this pace and as a global tier-1 telecommunications provider, Tata Communications is well positioned to address these needs. Last year we launched our IZO cloud enablement platform with solutions to help enterprises reach and connect into the top cloud providers of the world, securely and with predictability. With the recent launch of IZO Private Cloud, we are now offering customers the ability to manage those clouds, with advanced automation and orchestration, and simultaneously integrate multiple internal IT environments. We will be adding more services to this platform to help enterprises on the path to cloud adoption including storage and security services.

Thank you Srini, we look forward to see you at our CIO roundtable in Hong Kong.


This interview was conducted for the CIO’s and Senior IT Executives attending the CIO Leaders Roundtable, Powered by Tata Communications IZO Private Cloud. Please click on the above link to view the full Digest e-magazine. 

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