Preparing Your IT Infrastructure For AI

"Any custom application, database and middleware developed on old technologies may be considered obsolete and will likely not be compatible with current and future platforms. These issues need to be identified early to find appropriate solutions before the implementation even begins."

What Are Some Best Practices for Organizations to Consider When Implementing New IT Processes or Software?

As this can be quite a complex topic, let’s start with the basics.  It is an exciting time for data technologies, as it has seen some impressive and industry-defining progress in the last few years.  Deep Learning (DL) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) based computing power increased exponentially in recent years, meanwhile, new Artificial Neural Network learning algorithms are being deployed and their applications have been successfully embedded into Cloud computing.  These are all very exciting innovations!

Before businesses can benefit from these data technologies, the most critical step is to build an efficient and reliable IT infrastructure, to generate, process and store data. Business Management Software (BMS) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software usually take the role of managing business procedures and storing daily business data in databases. 

Let’s look at Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems as an example: current ERP systems are built on standard business principles but focus on different industries and customer needs.  It’s nearly an impossible task to find a perfect ERP system that can 100% match the needs of any business.  An ideal ERP system should be compatible with most of your major business processes and only require minor customization for unique requirements. Stability, accuracy, security and sustainability are the main criteria when selecting ERP vendors.

What Are Some Common Pitfalls and How Can Organizations Avoid Them?  

A clear vision of your business processes and IT infrastructure is a critical starting point.  In some cases, a business may focus on documenting business processes but pay less (or no) attention to their IT infrastructure.  This is a mistake with wide-ranging consequences including wasting valuable resources by deploying an incomplete or incompatible solution only to realize the pitfalls late in the implementation. Any custom application, database and middleware developed on old technologies may be considered obsolete and will likely not be compatible with current and future platforms.  These issues need to be identified early to find appropriate solutions before the implementation even begins. 

TPG can help organizations analyze and document the current state of business processes and IT infrastructure, identify problem areas, and build improved business processes, practical IT solutions and reliable strategies to match you with the right ERP solution. We can then connect you with certified implementation service providers and provide the necessary training to your team on any new processes or technology. 

How Can You Best Utilize Data From a Business Perspective?

The top priority should be to build a sustainable data ecosystem and utilize external data in conjunction with internal data to enhance business plans and strategies.  Large businesses that need to retrieve data globally should invest in a suitable Cloud platform, connect essential business data and valuable external data then migrate to Cloud storage and then use integrated data infrastructure to build a scalable and optimized data warehouse or data lake (depending on available resources, data attributes, densities and business requirements).  These can enhance operational efficiencies and relieve IT teams from complicated technical maintenance. 

It’s important to note that legacy data tools and protocols (such as some ETL tools and SSL) may not work correctly with current Cloud data platforms.  Inadequate data architecture and data operations typically result in otherwise avoidable expenses.  Cloud data architects should be an integrated part of strategy teams. 

At TPG, we are committed to providing our clients with complete data solutions that integrate and are compatible with their existing business processes and infrastructure. We have a dedicated team with experience in implementing data technologies and Cloud services and are proud of our relationship with data experts and integration with data service providers.

Get to Know Eric Li

Tell me a little about your career path. What made you get into consulting? (Life experiences, skillset, a mentor etc.)

“I started my career as an ERP application programmer and also worked in the role of Database Administrator, ERP Infrastructure Support, Data Specialist and BI Report Programmer.  With years of work experience in the IT field, I have built up extensive knowledge and skills that allow me to provide valuable technical recommendations, guidance and support.  More importantly, I think strategically but also realistically.  I consider all available resources on hand to formulate optimal outcomes.  I also communicate effectively with all levels of technical teams to successfully complete projects. “

What is something you are passionate about outside of your job role?

“Out of work, I like to play video games, watch movies, hike and go to classical music concerts.  When I get a chance, I will start my trip across Canada.”

What drew you to TPG and why do you like working here?

“I appreciate TPG’s positive and supportive team culture, where I feel valued and my work is valuable.  I like that we proudly celebrate successes and learn from stumbles. “