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At NTT, we’re moving faster than ever.

Our business-led information technology journey is grounded in the belief that enterprise capabilities, a global operating model and modern engineering with data will enable us to achieve our digital transformation goals.

Our strategy is to be a digital enterprise by 2023. To get there, we’re going cloud-first – and we’ve become our own client in the process.

Why we chose a cloud-first approach

In 2019, we brought together 50,000 people across 31 operating companies to create a single organization. This move to create “one NTT” involved new operating models to deliver a better user and client experience and to supercharge new streams of recurring revenue – all of which posed technical challenges with direct consequences for the business.

With a focus on reducing costs, improving client satisfaction and developing profitable platform-based services, we wanted to eliminate any situation in which our people, clients and partners were not working together seamlessly and efficiently. If disparate teams and groups continued to work in silos, we would sacrifice the quality of our client and employee experience.

This meant we had to make it easier and more satisfying for our people to work and collaborate using digital tools in a secure and trusted environment.

Using a standard architecture to streamline our complex ecosystem

Our newly united entity had more than 25,000 servers and over 2,200 applications, with workloads hosted in about 50 data centers. There were 1,500-plus cloud-based hyperscale subscriptions globally. This complexity resulted in an inefficient allocation of resources, making it hard to enhance our security posture and gain visibility of our environment for governance and financial control.

Consolidating our application footprint under a standard architecture would make it easier for us to deploy and support new hosting platforms, optimize our cloud spend and uplift our security posture with the implementation of compliance frameworks and controls.

So, we decided to transform our digital platform with a cloud-first strategy that led to 100% of workloads migrating to Azure Cloud.

Cloud migration on track to save 33% in opex

The workloads we targeted for migration were diverse. Partnering with Microsoft, we focused on the Azure design and blueprint to create a standardized and consistent Azure platform that could be used across NTT globally.

We set an aggressive timeline to move workloads and decommission redundant platforms without disrupting our service delivery. In one country, decommissioning 25% of our existing workloads and 450 virtual machines enabled us to simplify our digital infrastructure.

We are migrating the remainder in a lift-and-shift approach. The project is on track to deliver targeted savings of more than USD 1 million and savings of 33% on operational expenditure for Australia.

What we’ve learned and how it benefits our clients

This project has given us valuable insight into multicloud initiatives and enabled us to test and refine our methodology for the benefit of our clients.

In the planning phase, we spent considerable time and energy on how we would achieve our business objectives. We focused on understanding the legacy environments and workloads, and liaised with stakeholders to manage the process. During the discovery phase, we reviewed each workload against business requirements and resource constraints.

This approach laid the foundation for a successful, streamlined migration.

We also saw great value in having defined network metrics available in real time. Being able to see exactly how things were deployed enabled us to review and improve with each migration.

Taking an iterative approach, with milestones reached within short timeframes, helps to demonstrate business value faster and keep stakeholders firmly engaged.

What's next for NTT?

Our cloud-first strategy has delivered the speed, agility and flexibility we need to support our digital transformation goals. Our organization is now more responsive to changing customer needs and market conditions. We’re able to develop products and services and take them to market faster than our competitors, increasing our ability to generate revenue.

We are on track to achieve our 2023 vision and will continue to look at opportunities to move applications and workloads from our on-premises data centers into the cloud. As ever, we remain focused on delivering business value to our clients and creating great employee experiences through technology innovation.

Read more about the partnership between NTT and Microsoft.

Pascal Weiss is Vice President of IT Information Systems at NTT. This article includes contributions by Richard Banfield, IT Information Systems Director at NTT.