Compelling business case for IT infrastructure modernization

By | 3 minute read | May 1, 2019

If you’re a CIO or CTO who has been tasked with helping your line of business leaders create new digital business models, well, you’re not alone. That being said, learn from your peers. Don’t increase your stress level by attempting to deliver digital transformation results on outdated platforms.

The rate of innovation and associated concerns about security and cost optimization creates enormous pressure for IT leaders. Accelerated data growth in your IT environment complicates protecting, managing and analyzing your assets. When security and infrastructure flexibility are mere table stakes, turning data into actionable business insight requires advanced capabilities.

Simply put, the systems modernization you need today is likely more than a minor upgrade. You’re playing a new (digital business) game with new rules. Therefore, you’ll need to modernize your IT infrastructure and the way you deliver superior IT services to your key stakeholders. Think ahead, be prepared with a modernization plan and financial justification.

Why IT infrastructure modernization matters

“Building and maintaining up-to-date infrastructure is becoming ever more critical to organizations looking to support next-generation applications, architectures, and digital transformation initiatives,” says Stephen Belanger, senior research analyst at IDC’s Infrastructure Platforms and Technologies group. “IDC’s research outlines the clear value that regular server upgrades can have for organizations looking to achieve higher levels of efficiency and agility.”

The following excerpts are from an IDC Perspective paper[1].

While there is no standard timeline for replacing servers, IDC’s 2017 ‘Server and Storage Workloads Survey: Understanding 3rd Platform Usage’ found that the mean lifecycle for servers in operation was 5.15 years.

However, there is a compelling business case to upgrade servers at a more frequent cadence.

IDC recently conducted a Business Value study (see Accelerate Business Agility with Faster Server Refresh Cycles, IDC #US42505917, July 2018) and found that organizations achieved the following cost and operational efficiency benefits from upgrading servers:

Cost benefits:

  • On average, total server-related costs, including server costs and maintenance, power, and facilities costs were substantially reduced over a three-year period with a server upgrade.
  • Cost of operations was more than halved on average over a three-year period.
  • Unplanned downtime occurred much less frequently on average over a three-year period.

Operational efficiencies:

  • On average, IT staff went from spending the majority of their time to less than half of their time “keeping the lights on” after upgrading servers.
  • IT staff time spent on deployment, management and support (help desk) was all significantly shortened on average over a three-year period.

In addition to cost and operational advantages, regular server refreshes enable companies to consolidate IT footprints onto a fewer number of more powerful systems. This can translate to an array of other IT benefits including greater performance, agility and efficiency.

Some key findings from the study regarding IT efficiency, performance and IT agility improvements from server upgrades are as follows:

IT efficiency:

  • Organizations surveyed required a fewer number of physical servers on average after server upgrades.
  • VM ratios (number of VMs per virtualized server) more than doubled on average.
  • The number of business apps per physical server substantially increased among survey respondents.

IT agility:

  • Both staff and calendar time required to deploy new physical servers decreased.
  • Staff time required to carry out server upgrades was nearly halved on average.
  • Application development lifecycles and deployment times were both considerably shortened.


  • More than one-third of respondents were able to reduce the average time needed to run batch processes.
  • More than one-fourth of respondents improved application performance and the execution of business processes by upgrading servers.

IT modernization economic benefits

According to IDC’s Business Value study, performance and agility improvements stemming from server refreshes translated to additional business worth an average of more than $100,000 per server across survey respondents.

Clearly, the facts demonstrate that timely upgrades of server infrastructure yield a real competitive advantage that goes beyond the more typical perceived technology uplift. Despite the tangible benefits, IDC research indicates that a segment of clients is hesitant or unable to upgrade servers on a regular cycle.

If you need help or support to determine the inherent value of a proactive server upgrade plan for your organization, then reach out now to an IBM representative or Business Partner for your free consultation and get an immediate assessment.

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[1] Source: Server Upgrade Cycles: Why Faster Is Better, IDC #US44236318, November 2018