Rank #1: IT@Intel: Data Center Strategy Leading Intel’s Business Transformation
IT Best Practices: Intel IT runs Intel data center services like a factory, affecting change in a disciplined manner and applying breakthrough technologies, solutions, and processes. This enables us to optimally meet Intel’s business requirements while providing our internal customers with effective data center infrastructure capabilities and innovative business services.
Building on previous investments and techniques, our data center strategy has generated savings exceeding USD 3.8 billion from 2010 to 2019.
Over the next three years, we plan to extend the data center strategy to continue our data center infrastructure transformation. We will accomplish this by using disruptive server, storage, network, infrastructure software, and data center facility technologies. These can lead to unprecedented quality-of-service levels and reduction in total cost of ownership (TCO) for business applications. And they will enable us to continue to improve IT operational efficiency and be environmentally responsible.
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Aug 31 2020
Rank #2: Affordably Increase Network Bandwidth with Optics
IT Best Practices: Intel IT is using Intel Silicon Photonics to affordably increase network bandwidth in Intel’s data centers.
Intel’s demand for network bandwidth grows 30 to 40 percent a year. As a result, a key component of Intel IT’s data center strategy is network innovation. Intel IT is increasing deployment of 100 gigabits per second (Gbps) connectivity, using Intel Silicon Photonics.
When Intel IT compared Intel Silicon Photonics to conventional optics-based technologies, they found that it provides the following advantages:
• Uses less power (only 3.5 watts)
• Is less expensive
Intel IT standardized on the CWDM4 MSA QSFP28 model because it can span up to 2 kilometers on SMF. This model can also operate in a wide range of temperatures (0° to 70° Celsius) at low power (3.5 watts), which was important for variety of data center deployments.
Over the last 18 months, Intel IT has deployed more than 8,000 100 GbE ports across Intel and 3,000 Intel Silicon Photonics transceivers. The deployment of Intel Silicon Photonics has enabled us to meet the growth in demand for network bandwidth without significantly increasing costs.
Intel IT’s adoption of Intel Silicon Photonics helps improve network utilization, reduces costs per port, and enhances overall data center efficiency. Intel IT has reduced the costs associated with all network components (physical cabling, active switch equipment design, and optics). This has enabled Intel IT to lower the overall cost of transitioning to 100 Gbps. What’s more, Intel IT is poised to break new ground with even faster network technology–they are ready to meet the data explosion head-on and satisfy Intel’s demand for data processing for the foreseeable future.
Aug 28 2020
Rank #3: Streamline Deep-Learning Integration into Defect Classification
IT Best Practices: Intel factories are using the Intel Distribution of OpenVINO toolkit to streamline deep-learning integration with the factories’ computer vision automatic defect-classification systems.
Intel factories have been using computer vision for over a decade to automate defect detection and classification. The factories use TensorFlow as the core open source library to help develop and train deep-learning models. However, the interface between the computer vision systems and TensorFlow is cumbersome and requires days of custom programming from data scientists.
The Intel Distribution of OpenVINO toolkit significantly streamlines this interface. Therefore, Intel IT has found it to be the most convenient and fastest way to deploy deep learning (in particular, deep neural networks) in the Microsoft Windows environment.
- The OpenVINO toolkit helps data scientists more easily interface with powerful back-end deep-learning engines like TensorFlow.
- This frees up data scientists to use their time more productively.
- There is no unique hardware to deploy—the OpenVINO toolkit runs on existing Intel Xeon processor-based servers.
- Because it is optimized for Intel hardware, the OpenVINO toolkit boosted model inference performance by 10x, according to internal Intel IT measurements.
When Intel IT began using the OpenVINO toolkit, they weren’t concerned with inference speed. However, the 10x performance increase that they experienced is an added benefit and opens up additional use cases. For example, they are now exploring the use of OpenVINO for real-time process control, which requires millisecond response times. They are currently working with the OpenVINO development team to add the necessary temporal convolutional network model into the Model Zoo.
Intel IT is committed to making Intel’s manufacturing processes as accurate and efficient as possible. Computer vision was an important step in achieving those goals. Now, the OpenVINO toolkit helps save time so that highly qualified engineers can accomplish more productive tasks, rather than coding a cumbersome interface to TensorFlow. OpenVINO helped Intel IT simplify development and optimize TensorFlow for top performance.
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Jul 14 2020
Rank #4: Developing a Robust, Sustainable Merger and Acquisition Process
IT Best Practices: A robust merger and acquisition (M&A) process (which also applies to divestures) is a growing aspect of Intel’s business. But there is nothing simple about evaluating and integrating technologies and business capabilities or supporting incoming employees. IT organizations must use their experience to focus on the following areas:
- Security and privacy. Cybersecurity and privacy pose a particular risk to the value of M&A before, during, and after closing the deal.
- Integration. Understanding new business capabilities and the challenges of data harmonization are necessary to developing a phased and prioritized approach.
- Technical debt. Existing systems are not phased out overnight and must be maintained until integration is cost e?ective and/or necessary.
At Intel, we have a dedicated IT M&A team that does more than execute on deals. We participate in due diligence discovery, planning, and integration to help Intel secure greater business value, and sometimes highlight potential unforeseen costs. We use an M&A lifecycle process to approach each deal with guiding principles of putting employees, suppliers, and the business value first.
The IT M&A team advocates across IT to help deliver customized, secure, and cost-e?ective solutions, and brings expertise in its operating model, strategy, and capabilities. We are accountable for aligning IT capabilities and business processes, and our robust professional network brings a cohesive approach to each deal.
Divestures—or separation programs—can be as challenging as acquisitions. They are largely dictated by the buyer’s integration plan, giving us much less control. When planning a divesture, we use the following:
- Mission critical (Pre-sign). This is what must be in place at or immediately after close. It requires a full assessment of the IT footprint being divested, transition services agreements (TSAs), partner and commercial agreement alignment, and working with the buyer to develop a “Day 1” plan.
- Initial separation (Close/Day 1). These are initial separation activities, such as removing separated employees from IT systems, exporting relevant data, physically moving people, putting TSAs and commercial support in place, and updating IT systems to re?ect sold inventory.
- inal separation (Day 2). This is the final separation of IT capabilities, such as extracting deal-relevant data from all remaining systems, terminating TSAs, and cleaning up connectivity, assets, and so on.
M&A is not simple, but in today’s business it is increasingly more common. While many organizations outsource this work, at Intel we have achieved great success by forming a dedicated IT M&A team that handles due diligence as well as integration. With a consistent M&A lifecycle process, we have built years of experience in evaluating, prioritizing, planning, and executing the integration of incoming organizations and the separation of divestures.
Cybersecurity is a particularly risky area as breaches can result in unforeseen costs, and even devaluation of the deal. Our planned approach brings a clearer understanding of the challenges, opportunities, and risks that help us add value to the business and ease the transition for employees
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May 13 2020
Rank #5: Modernize IT Portfolio Management with an Agile PMO
IT Best Practices: Intel IT has formed an Agile Program Management Office (PMO), as a part of Intel IT’s transformation and modernization. We have adopted Agile methodologies to deliver ongoing value to our customers. Instead of long release cycles with massive changes and enhancements, we are organized in small, focused Agile Persistent Teams (APTs) that are self-directed in prioritization and decision making. APTs work in close, daily partnership with representatives from the business to align on priorities. Additionally, we have taken an “investment portfolio” approach to the work that emphasizes cost/ benefit-focused decision making and viewing the IT portfolio as a whole. This allows for trade-o? decisions, evaluation of systemic risks, and a comprehensive understanding of the strategic value the portfolio is intended to deliver.
Our Agile IT PMO provides enterprise-wide support that enables the following:
- Data-driven decision making. Through standard tools and metrics, we provide real-time insights into all programs across IT, enabling us to more efficiently make “once and done” decisions that a?ect our entire portfolio rather than assessing each program or project in isolation. Cross-capability roadmaps help us make decisions based on impact and timing.
- Accountability. Through right-sized governance, we provide support to PMO segments and APTs to help ensure on-scope, on-schedule, on-budget delivery.
- Transparency. We use a standardized dashboard to provide at-a-glance project/program execution health, team capacity, risk mapping, and progress reports.
When armed with accurate, complete, and consistent information, APTs can make informed decisions about the priorities and value they provide to their customers. However, when their decisions impact systems or teams beyond their immediate area, the IT PMO takes advantage of systems of record to present “one version of truth” across the entire IT portfolio.
We measure our PMO against industry-standard benchmarks to understand how far we have come toward our goals, but also to identify and incorporate best-in-class metrics for the future. In early 2020, we partnered with Gartner and surveyed IT leadership to identify opportunities to mature services and provide greater value. Participants included IT general managers, segment leads, principle program managers, Segment PMO leads, as well as members of IT Finance
and Delivery Methods and Coaching. 19 participants completed the survey (40 percent) and four partially completed the survey. The feedback helped us identify where we made the most progress, what was most important to them, and our focus going forward.
We scored the highest on our ability to provide valuable metrics, specifically through the Value Management Office (VMO) dashboard. We nearly reached the benchmark in seven other areas; we also focused primarily on emerging capabilities in cost tracking, investment allocation, and managing risks and interdependencies. These results indicated that we were achieving transparency and standardization, two foundational capabilities necessary to a successful VMO dashboard.
As we move into the future, our newly formed Agile PMO will enable lean principles that ensure clear line-of-sight from strategy to execution. We plan to continue our cross-capability road-mapping to enable the prioritization of
new capabilities and innovation investments as a part of the business value we bring.
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May 08 2020
Rank #6: Optimizing PC Refresh
IT Best Practices: Optimizing PC refresh is a priority for Intel IT. It is imperative that Intel employees have up-to-date technology and devices that let them perform their jobs efficiently. Intel IT historically updated on-sta? engineers’ devices every three years; other direct hire, full-time employees every four years; and waterfalled older machines to contingent workers. But discussions with employees revealed they needed faster and lighter laptops to help them do their jobs easier, more efficiently, and more comfortably.
We embarked on an initiative to provide Intel’s workforce with new technology every three years—or less—across the board. We are also working on providing employees with a device that supports their particular job. We use telemetry data—while protecting the users’ privacy—to discern work habits and identify individual computing needs. We measure things like CPU and memory utilization, wait time, on/o? times, and connections to the wireless network. We also measure which applications are being used—for example, Web browsers, office/productivity tools, design and development tools, and games—and how long users are accessing them. We currently categorize users into the following personas:
Road Warriors: travel frequently and rely on their laptops out in the field. They appreciate extra-lightweight machines with long battery life and speedy wake-up times.
Gear Heads: technical experts that may require very powerful, high-performing PCs to complete increasingly demanding tasks or a platform that can enable their productivity.
Meeting Masters: in the building most of the time, but spend a good portion of their day in conference rooms. This group requires a PC with a long battery life and the ability to support multiple collaboration tools.
Builders: typically manufacturing technicians and engineers who work in a lab or factory, but also return to their desks to check email, make calls, and attend meetings. This group needs reliable but less powerful machines than other personas, and size and weight are not a big consideration.
Free Dwellers: with jobs in marketing or project managers of a globally dispersed team, these users can work anywhere throughout the office environment. This group requires a powerful and lightweight laptop.
Co-working Crew: primarily work from their desk, collaborating with people near them or around the world. This group doesn’t require the powerhouse machines that engineers need, and some might be able to do their jobs efficiently with a lower-tier PC, if their primary activity is reading and sending email.
We allow workers using devices older than three years to select a new PC in a form factor and with performance and capabilities that match their needs. Previously, we primarily o?ered PCs with Intel® Core™ i5 processors; we are now including a higher percentage of PCs with Intel Core i7 processors in the mix.
Our PC refresh program will provide employees with updated equipment that meets their job requirements, and will give all workers a device that best suits the jobs they need to do, helping to reduce maintenance costs, facilitate collaboration, boost productivity, and increase employee satisfaction.
May 07 2020
Rank #7: Building a Multi-Cloud-Ready Enterprise Network
IT Best Practices: Intel IT is building a multi-cloud-ready enterprise network that can meet Intel’s constantly-changing network requirements. Increasing adoption of public cloud services, enormous data and network bandwidth demand growth, an increasingly complex cybersecurity landscape, and new business models and product lines are shaping a new approach to both our data center networks and Intel’s WAN.
At the heart of the new network paradigm is software-defined networking (SDN) that helps automate networking work?ows and consistently maintain a healthy information security posture. Other aspects of our network transformation include the following:
- Upgrading data center networks from 10 and 40 gigabit Ethernet to 100 gigabit Ethernet and increasing network port utilization
- Taking advantage of regional co-location facilities to improve interconnects and scale the WAN
- Establishing ?exible but security-conscious controls that support both on-premises and public cloud workloads
While we are in the midst of our network transformation journey, we are already experiencing cost and operational benefits related to scalability, support for multi-cloud, automation, and information security. We believe our multi-cloud network strategy can accommodate Intel’s large on-premises private cloud as well as public cloud services so we can seamlessly meet Intel business needs and deliver maximum business value.
As Intel begins another 50 years of technology advancement, it relies on Intel IT to provide the necessary networking capabilities to support the business. Our network strategy accommodates exploding amounts of design, testing, and manufacturing data on our private cloud network along with migration of certain enterprise workloads to a multi-cloud environment. Flexible yet comprehensive information security controls help protect users and data, while SDN automates networking work?ows and increases operational efciency. We are excited about our network transformation efforts, which enable Intel to continually transform the world through innovation and collaboration.
Mar 06 2020
Rank #8: Smart Buildings at Scale
IT Best Practices: Construction of smart buildings at scale isn’t easy. For decades, enterprises have included smart technologies in their buildings to gain operational efficiencies, save maintenance costs, and make their offices more user-friendly. While these companies may have experienced incremental gains from taking individual measures like installing smart temperature controls, the main value of these systems comes from integrating them into a single platform.
But lack of standardization means that disparate technologies from multiple vendors may not be compatible, and integrating multiple smart technologies into a single connected building can introduce many logistical and operational complications.
Intel IT and Intel Corporate Services joined forces to create a new design and development center in Petach Tikva, Israel. We call the building “PTK1.” Taking an enterprise approach, we focused on user experience (UX) before selecting technology solutions. We used a design-build-operate vendor to manage the project from design to delivery and operation, integrating many different smart building systems and acting as a single source for vendor contact. We created the approach and best practices for this smart building from the ground up. This blueprint is now an asset in and of itself, and Intel and the vendor are using it to replicate and build additional smart buildings (and even a smart village), in collaboration with other industry-leading companies.
The model integrates a variety of Intel® products, including Internet of Things (IoT) and information security controls. It generates enormous volumes of data via 14,000 sensors, which we use for artificial intelligence (AI) solutions and to enable smart operations, efficiency, and a positive user experience.
The result is a user-centric building that helps us attract the best industry talent and improve Intel’s workforce productivity. With a repeatable model that we can use to construct additional smart buildings on Intel campuses, we can lower future smart building construction costs by 25 percent compared to the original PTK1 building expense (excluding the infrastructure and hardware).
Mar 04 2020
Rank #9: Transforming Security Posture with Innovations in Data Intelligence
IT Best Practices: Intel IT is improving Intel’s security posture with data intelligence–deploying a new Cyber Intelligence Platform (CIP) based on leading-edge technologies, including Splunk Enterprise and Apache Kafka. The new platform ingests data from hundreds of sources and security tools, providing context-rich visibility and a common language and work surface around the data. It significantly improves productivity, efciency, and e?ectiveness across the entire Information Security (InfoSec) organization. Access to real-time data, streams processing, machine-learning tools, consistent data models, and orchestration and automation capabilities decrease the time it takes to detect and respond to increasingly sophisticated threats and ultimately leads to faster insights for prevention.
The Intel IT team deployed this big data solution in just five weeks and immediately started realizing business value. The CIP infrastructure is based on Intel Xeon Platinum processors, Intel 3D NAND Solid State Drives, and Intel Optane SSDs, providing the compute power Intel’s security experts need to gain faster and more intelligent insights while reducing time to pivot between security tools.
Some of the key benefits of the new CIP include:
* Easy implementation and fast ramp of human talent
* A common work surface across all of InfoSec
* Data taxonomy, common language, and search on the fly
* InfoSec org is DevOps ready
* Schema-on-demand with automated data normalization
* Complete threat categorization and kill chain visibility
* Simple integration of curated third-party security tools
* Connection to open source machine-learning libraries
As Intel’s chief information security officer, Brent Conran, says, ”Intel Information Security is much more agile than we’ve ever been in the past. But we need to continue to hone our skills. With artificial intelligence and machine learning there is more data, which means more risk. But it also means more rewards…not just cost avoidance…we are saving real green dollars.”
Built with a combination of Intel® architecture, Splunk, and Kafka, the CIP enables Intel to respond to threats faster, provides insights into faster prevention, and helps reduce risk.
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Oct 24 2019
Rank #10: Security Architecture Enables Intel’s Digital Transformation
IT Best Practices: Intel IT’s integrated enterprise security architecture has achieved greater business flexibility by collaborating with business units and providing clear security guidelines, applying a “trust-but-verify” model; improved business enablement by removing many interdependencies to make security easier and more consumable; and reduced technical debt with a framework for applications to adopt modern integration standards.
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Oct 17 2019