Thor Wallace, senior vice president and CIO of NETSCOUT, presented “Modern IT: NETSCOUT’s Digital Transformation” at the Wall Street Journal CIO Network Summit Sept 21, 2021. In his presentation, Wallace described how NETSCOUT has modernized our internal IT infrastructure over the last three years. He noted that early on in their planning process, NETSCOUT IT identified agility as the key to accomplishing the company’s current goals and to achieving future success. “Agility isn’t simply the ability to go fast but also the ability to adjust quickly,” Wallace said, describing how the IT organization went on to determine how changing technology or changing the organization or some combination of both would allow them to be agile.
Bringing Agility to People, Process, and Technology
People changes at NETSCOUT IT, Wallace said, included training, cross-training, and new job descriptions; process changes included incorporating Agile methodology, cross-functional teams, and continuous delivery of services; and technology changes included a shift from on-premises hardware to cloud-based software, positioning the IT organization for future challenges and opportunities.
When discussing the organizational and process roadmap, Wallace also stressed the importance of eliminating silos in the IT organization and instead forming collaborative teams capable of meeting the demands of broadly scoped projects. “If you move into the cloud space, for example, that is a multidisciplinary project,” he said. “You must have at the table networking people who understand networking, obviously, applications people, and infrastructure people all working on the same problem. If you don't have everyone in the same place, you can really open yourself up for risk.”
Standardizing Across Domains
Wallace also shared NETSCOUT’s IT performance roadmap, showing its start as a strictly support function and its final-state goal as an agile department fully integrated into the entire business. When discussing how NETSCOUT meets and plans for these goals, he outlined an improved and standardized project lifecycle management process that bakes in architecture as one of its stages. He noted that as IT reviewed project requirements for this digital transformation, the team chose one standard for any system that varied across NETSCOUT “We’re a company of three major legacy companies,” Wallace explained. “NETSCOUT IT is a rollup of various other organizations.… For example, we had three domain name systems. So why don't we standardize on one?”
Ensuring Reliability and Security via Visibility
Wallace noted that in moving to cloud-based applications and systems, IT organizations must show improvement from their legacy systems as well as continuous reliability. Wallace encouraged viewers to consider whether they have the “…data and the capabilities to understand what's working and what's not working in a very quick way.” In highly distributed environments, he pointed out, IT organizations need visibility to and control of their entire network to find and diagnose any problems. “Visibility is fundamental to ensuring smooth operations and meeting user experience requirements during and after digital transformation involving foundational changes,” he said, emphasizing the importance of edge visibility, not just for network performance, but network security as well.
Watch the presentation here.
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