The firm recognizes that strong growth has led to inefficiencies and complexities that need to be weeded out through continual transformation

How does an IT infrastructure and services firm that serves more than 75% of the top 100 companies on the Fortune Global 500 list even begin (or need to) transform itself to continue growing?

In digital terms, NTT Ltd is enormous, with a diverse and often complex set of digital environments to run and maintain, comprising more than 25,000 servers and 2,200 applications hosted in more than 50 data centers. 

However, due to that growing complexity, the firm had determined that digital complexity had resulted in inefficient allocation of resources, making it hard to get high-level visibility at a governance and financial control level. 

To address this, NTT required a coherent and scalable game plan for how to proceed on a global scale, but a first test case to build the playbook was needed. This was identified in the firm’s on-premises data center in Singapore, whose equipment was nearing end of life.

Design and discovery phases

A core goal of the transformation planned revolved around modernizing and unifying security through secure design and Zero Trust principles, with the following imperatives being central to the design phase:

    • The system would be designed around a unified cloud that was less complex, more versatile and more cost efficient, so that it would centralize operations for global security, business continuity, and disaster recovery.
    • The resultant infrastructure must be able to quickly adopt new cloud security solutions and work toward central alignment of global security. The security posture was to be improved through secure design and Zero Trust principles.
    • In addition to moving more to the cloud, the plan was to consolidate and reduce costs through decommissioning applications and workloads by up to a third through a central operating model. By no longer needing decentralized support, the firm expected to achieve an operational cost reduction of roughly 30%. A unified cloud future: Less complexity, more capabilities, more value
    • Once the design phase was completed, each workload would be reviewed during a discovery phase to ensure meeting of all business requirements.
    • The firm must be transformed to be able to do much more with less. In the old environment, spinning out new services or onboarding a new client could take weeks. The goal was to reduce the time to market for the services business.
    • The overall consolidation and simplification of the organization must improve business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) capabilities, by providing a systematic view of all assets and allow much faster recovery than in the past, better functionality and lower cost. What is important is boosting the overall observability of the infrastructure to facilitate validation of the health of the infrastructure state and optimization of resources and costs. Previously, many big-picture costs were hidden in different areas across all the countries and regions. With the transformation, the firm would be able to manage total cost of ownership while unifying resources and global spend more efficiently.

A successful trial run

In the test case, approximately 25% of existing workloads were decommissioned. The remainder were migrated using a rehosting strategy, with all remaining Windows and Linux virtual machines and servers (approximately 1,500 to 2,000) moved to Azure, and most VMware workloads moved to Azure VMware Solution, with a few VMware workloads remaining on-premises.

The delivery platform transformation achieved workload migration savings of more than US$100,000 per month. In addition, the firm estimates the overall three-year total cost of ownership savings from the move to a consumption-based Azure model to be US$1m.

Pascal Weiss, the firm’s Regional Chief Information Officer (Asia Pacific) said he views the first test case in APAC as a successful trial run for the entire company: “We’re now ready to accelerate based on our experience over the last few months, leveraging our new playbook. Our migration to the Azure cloud platform is a powerful opportunity to transform our organization. We expect to generate US$5m in savings and achieve an objective of reducing operational cost within IT by 30%,” in addition to making the firm “more satisfying for employees, easier for clients, and more valuable for shareholders.”

According to the firm’s IT Information Systems Director, Richard Banfield: “A lot of our services teams are already certified in Azure, which helps us to transform even faster. The global business case for the move to Azure is profoundly impactful.”