The global pandemic has created a remote working experiment of epic proportions, putting pressure on IT infrastructure like never before. With majority of the workforce carrying out their jobs virtually in the new normal, organizations are looking to build robust digital infrastructure to enable their employees to work from home seamlessly. This calls for democratization of IT systems, processes and innovations. In an exclusive interaction with CXOToday, Kunal Nagarkatti, Chief Operating Officer at Clover Infotech, talks about how, in the current scenario, IT democratization will give corporate the ability to take work outside the organization and distribute it anywhere in the world leading to better operational efficiency and customer experience – and in turn greater brand recall.
CXOToday: Democratization of IT is already on the rise for several years now. What trends do you observe in recent months?
Kunal Nagarkatti: Absolutely! Democratization of IT has been underway for many years now. However, it has witnessed unprecedented acceleration due to the COVID-19 induced pandemic. It has also clearly demarcated organizations based on their digital readiness. The organizations with robust Information Technology infrastructure have ensured democratization of technology to enhance experience for their customers, business users and employees, vendors, partners etc. while the ones that have exhibited reluctance with respect to adoption of digital transformation initiatives have had to face myriad challenges to run their operations smoothly and to stay afloat.
CXOToday: How democratization of IT is supporting employees to work remotely especially in the new normal?
Kunal Nagarkatti: Democratization of IT has been possible in enterprises because they are equipped to provide secure rights-based access to employees who connect to critical systems from various devices and networks. Thus, employees can work from anywhere and still add immense value to business acceleration and growth. Furthermore, the advent of collaboration tools has augmented the cause of democratization of IT as employees can seamlessly align remotely and attain objectives. Well-managed organizations have been witnessing a direct co-relation between employee productivity and IT democratization initiatives. If the business model supports remote working and the organization has established processes to manage and monitor a remote workforce, they can significantly benefit from the democratization of IT.
CXOToday: What is driving technology democratization in recent times?
Kunal Nagarkatti: I think the ubiquitous availability of internet has been a great leveler. The penetration of internet to the last mile and the increasingly affordable smartphones and data packages have ensured democratic access to information and technology. This forms the crux of digital transformation across industries and it has enabled organizations to operate seamlessly all through the year.
CXOToday: How can enterprises harness the power of cloud computing to accelerate IT democratization?
Kunal Nagarkatti: Cloud computing has rendered a sense of comfort with respect to stretching the perimeter of the organization beyond its four walls. Applications, the underlying technology, and data can now be safely hosted on the cloud. The cloud service providers are leaving no stone unturned with respect to security of data, systems, and applications. Hence, decision makers are now considering cloud for much more than their compute, network, and storage requirements. Cloud-native applications and new-age technologies such as Blockchain, Analytics, and IoT are also being offered in “as-a-service” models. With capabilities across software, platform and the underlying infrastructure, organizations are increasingly optimistic about converting their huge IT capex into a more predictable, flexible, and scalable Opex model.
CXOToday: How does democratization of IT impact enterprise IT security? How is it changing the overall cybersecurity landscape?
Kunal Nagarkatti: Democratization of IT demands that the sphere of influence of the internal IT teams should stretch beyond the organization’s premises. With democratization of IT, organizations must ensure secured access through a multitude of devices (desktops, laptops, tablets), asset types (organization’s asset, employee’s personal technology asset), and internet service providers and networks. Hence, the IT teams must step-up their surveillance and enhance cybersecurity measures to prevent threats and malicious attacks from vulnerable access points. It must also undertake initiatives to raise awareness regarding cybersecurity and ensure strict compliance of the organization’s cybersecurity policies to safeguard its digital assets and data.
CXOToday: Democratization of IT is giving a fillip to Application modernization and cloud enablement. How will it help enterprises and what are the areas of caution for the enterprise?
Kunal Nagarkatti: We must understand that most of the legacy applications were not built to scale with the advancements in digital technology. Hence, they might have either become completely obsolete or functionally and technologically irrelevant. The time, cost, and effort that the organizations spend towards managing these applications is significant. It is further compounded by the customizations that these applications might have undergone. With democratization of IT, the organization is compelled to make these applications cloud ready by upgrading them functionally or technically. They must eventually sunset applications that wouldn’t scale up to the cloud. In terms of new applications, a cloud-native one would be the preferred option. Hence, democratization of IT and proliferation of access points would demand that the entire application landscape is cloud-compliant, and the technology supports and enables cloud native applications to be added seamlessly.
CXOToday: How, do you think, the role of managed services providers (MSPs) evolve to adapt to the new normal with most employees working from home?
Kunal Nagarkatti: Managed Services Providers (MSPs) work as per pre-defined Service Level Agreements (SLAs) with their customers. Hence, they are clearly aware of their customer’s expectations. MSPs while working from home ensure that their employees are well equipped with the necessary devices, software, and network connectivity to perform their roles and responsibilities immaculately.
The most important aspect that MSPs need to consider while adapting to the new normal is to ensure security and automation. With multiple devices and multiple internet services connecting to the customer’s systems and data, MSPs need to ensure the highest levels of security, and strict access controls for applications as well as the underlying IT infrastructure. They must also deploy intelligent automation solutions so that rule-based and redundant tasks can be executed with minimum human supervision. In the new normal, it is also important to have a comprehensive view of the Managed Services engagement. We have ensured that our customers have access to a self-service portal wherein they can check and review our Managed Service delivery anytime and connect and talk with our consultants in just a few clicks. They can also download customized reports whenever they want in formats which can enable easy analysis.
CXOToday: What are the transformations that democratization of IT would bring about, from an enterprise perspective?
Kunal Nagarkatti: I believe that any transformation from an enterprise’s perspective must bring about distinct improvements in three aspects – customer experience, quality of collaboration and service delivery, and cost efficiency.
With democratization of IT and processes to ensure uninterrupted collaboration, the customers of an enterprise can experience enhanced level of service delivery and engagement. The increasing reliance on systems may be challenging to begin with. However, once the initial inertia is overcome, it might lead to saving time, cost and effort spent in technology and end-user experience management due to augmented levels of digitalization and automation within the ambit of security. The enterprise can, thus, channel the time, cost and effort spent in collaboration and non-productive activity into core business and strategic objectives. It will lead to business acceleration, immersive customer experience and higher brand recall.