Insight, a global technology provider and highly valued NetApp partner, helps businesses manage today and transform tomorrow. Last year, an Insight-commissioned IDG survey revealed what progress has been made and which hurdles are proving most difficult for leaders on the IT transformation journey. In this article, Juan Orlandini comments on those findings and how Insight has transformed to better help customers thrive.
Juan Orlandini is not afraid to call your baby ugly.
The chief architect for Insight’s Cloud and Data Center Transformation Division admits that he relishes being known for frank conversation. “My role is to help our clients determine how IT can best support their business. We map out strategies that look at both the benefits and the risks. To successfully realize your vision, you first need to acknowledge the things you have to overcome.”
But clients who have the opportunity to work with Orlandini and Insight’s Cloud & Data Center Transformation team claim that a keen sense of caution is equally matched by his enthusiasm for innovation. “I’ve had the great fortune of riding almost every new technology wave. The opportunity for invention has always been exciting, but what we are able to achieve now is practically unbelievable.”
As Chief Architect for Insight’s Cloud & Data Center division, Juan assesses new and emerging technologies, and recommends strategies, technologies and practices that can help clients advance their business.
Digging Into Vendor Hype
“There is a lot of hype around shiny new vendors. We kick the tires and try out all the options in our Research and Innovation Hubs. But often the marketing brochures don’t match what the technology is capable of. Or the costs to implement and support are hidden. We look at everything.”
NetApp has been one of Insight’s longest partnerships. “We love working with them. Their FlexPod and HCI architectures, along with their Data Fabric story, are very appealing for clients, because you have an opportunity to simplify your operational guidelines, processes, and architectures, and get that delta between how you run it and how the cloud runs it to be much smaller. It enables our clients to make intelligent decisions around which platform makes sense for which workloads without any kind of lock-in.”
Reinvention Drives Smarter Services and Capabilities
Insight itself is no stranger to reinvention. Juan is part of Insight’s Cloud & Data Center Transformation leadership team, which has seen the $6.7B company evolve to align with the needs of today’s enterprises. Once a traditional supplier of technology, Insight has expanded its services, capabilities, and teams, and created four key solution areas:
- Cloud and Data Center Transformation
- Digital Innovation
- Connected Workforce
- Supply Chain Optimization
“We have completely transformed our own enterprise and have thrived through the very same challenges our clients are facing. It means we can relate at every level of their organization, from the C-suite across to the business units and deep into the data center, cloud, and digital innovation teams,” Orlandini continues. He admits that the most difficult part of the equation is helping customers navigate the rapid pace of change. “It’s an old saying but still true: You need to align people, process and technology to benefit.”
Partnerships Key to Success
Orlandini believes that partnerships are key at Insight. “NetApp is probably one of our longest technology alliances. FlexPod, HCI, and NetApp’s Data Fabric strategy is very appealing for customers because of the opportunity to simplify operational guidelines, processes, and architectures, and make intelligent decisions about where workloads should run.
Insight’s greatest strength is our people. If you look at the value that each one of our four solution areas bring, the overwhelming benefit is our breadth of technical resources. These teams are hyper-focused on everything, from how you acquire, consume and support technology and how people work and collaborate to identifying the best platforms for the clients’ workloads (private, public, or hybrid) and enabling complete digital transformation.
Pace of Change Means New Ways of Working for IT
We are writing or rewriting legacy applications to take advantage of edge computing, artificial intelligence, machine learning and more, and we’re building next-generation data centers that exist on-premises, in the cloud and at the edge. Next-gen data centers are where the data is.”
Orlandini adds: “This is a time of both significant disruption and opportunity for IT organizations. It can be daunting. However, IT teams are in a position to play a strategic role in advancing their businesses through digital innovation. We help enterprises set their course and streamline their transformation journey to achieve intended results.”
But the biggest challenge facing companies today is the rate of change.
“It surprised me for a while that people were saying, ‘Hey, this cloud technology is a new thing.’ It’s not true at all. The only thing that’s really new is how we consume IT services because cloud has changed the speed of interaction and increased client expectations; and I’m talking about the very end users – the people who are behind what our clients produce.”
Orlandini elaborates by commenting that while IT is not doing anything new, they do need to work in new ways to support client expectations.
Technology, skills, and/or process changes may be needed. This can be overwhelming, especially given the need to balance the need to manage IT, while innovating.
Navigating the Future with Confidence
Insight helps organization navigate their IT transformation journey. From assessing business needs, analyzing workloads to determine best-fit platforms (hybrid cloud, public cloud, etc.), and modernizing applications, to helping organizations mitigate risk, achieve compliance, and manage hybrid environments, Insight streamlines the transition.
Clients are overwhelmed by the rate of change, and trying to organizationally align themselves to understand that this pace of change is actually the new normal. This is one of the key values Insight brings: helping our customers figure out the best way to operationalize under the “new normal” to efficiently run their businesses.
Brokering IT Services in the Era of Cloud
“If you think about, say, a car manufacturer: computers have been running what car manufacturers do since the fifties, and this will continue. But now you’re changing how IT supports the other things that go into making cars better. My car has an infotainment service inside of it. It’s got screens and maps and hundreds, if not thousands, of data collection points. If you digitally innovate, you can turn that into revenue, generating multiple new sources of income for the car manufacturer. It really comes down to the pace of change, and it is a pace that many organizations are not organized and built to support.”
Orlandini cautions that IT needs to be prepared to respond to businesses because they are made up of more sophisticated users today; users who aren’t afraid to reach out to any cloud provider, give them a credit card number, and be up and running in 20 minutes. That behavior bypasses all of the security and controls that IT has by necessity had to put in, as good stewards of the organization.
“People assume that the cloud is cheaper,” says Orlandini. “That might very well be true once you factor in speed of innovation and emerging technologies. However, for well-understood and steady-state environments, it’s important to consider on-premises as a viable alternative. Our experience has been that in those cases, a well-run on-premises infrastructure can be significantly lower cost than equivalent cloud services.”
Aligning organizationally for transformation means that IT becomes a better service broker. “The clients who are most successful in their transformation journeys will have an IT team that is able to say, ‘Yes, I can help you. I can’t provide that service directly, but here is one of the cloud providers we’ve identified that falls within our governance. Use them and go for it.”
In conclusion, Orlandini suggests that Insight acts in a similar fashion for their customers. “Customers come to us and say, ‘Hey, I don’t want to be managing fifty vendors, I want one vendor who can help me spend my money more wisely, help me develop new things when I need them, and help me manage and consume technology more cost effectively.’ That is what we do at Insight. We’re about helping our clients thrive at a new pace of change.”
For more information, download the Insight-commissioned IDG survey.