Laying the foundation for future transformation – A busy 2015 for CIOs

|January 6, 2015 0
CIOs need to put few foundational blocks in place to make the transition smooth

 Khirodra Mishra

The technology industry is undergoing a tectonic shift that will redefine the way infrastructure, application and process layers are configured in IT environments. Digitalization of business is ‘here and now.’ The speed at which it’s being embraced is unparalleled. Moreover, as emerging technologies around cognitive computing, smart advisor technologies, Internet of Things and 3D printing become more mainstream, the IT environment in an enterprise will look very different than what it is today.

These emerging technologies will impact the performance of business groups more directly. The CIO organization will become more ingrained with the business groups, blurring the line of delineation between IT and business. IT will become critical for long-term success of the business.

However, for a CIO, migrating over to this future state of technology is not going to be smooth, unless it is planned very meticulously. As this transformation takes shape, CIOs need to put few foundational blocks in place to make the transition smooth.

Variabilization

‘Simplifying IT’ and ‘doing more with less’ have been by practiced CIOs for few years now. Moreover, the explosion of “as-a-service” options across infrastructure and application environments has provided much needed relief to CIOs from getting locked into capital-intensive technology investments. The fixed costs are variabilized and business groups are realizing immediate returns on those investments. This variabilization of IT costs is tearing down barriers to new market entry and expansion, and is paving the road for profitable growth. Through this, CIOs have one less thing to worry about when sales are slow. The business is focusing more on what they do best, rather than worrying about technology costs. CIOs are able to take out asset-based inefficiencies from IT environments and getting ready to embrace technologies of the future with gusto.

Consumerization

The concept of mass customization in the manufacturing industry has been practiced for years. That concept has entered the technology industry in last few years. Now every technology user is like a CIO in his/her own right. BYOT (Bring your Own Technology) is encouraged by many enterprises, though ‘security’ remains the biggest deterrent. Nonetheless, this wave of consumerization of technology is fast gaining momentum. Breaking the barriers of standardization across the enterprises, technology is becoming more personal and relevant to users, fostering growth in productivity and driving innovation. Studies conducted by leading technology analyst firms point out that about 50 percent of the U.S. workforce is already mobile and conducting business outside of their primary work place for more than 20 percent of their work week. By adopting more comprehensive consumerization trends, employees will stay more agile and be able to move at the speed of their end-customers.

Automation

A few years back it would have been difficult to imagine a driver-less car speeding away on a busy highway. But today, through a combination of smart technologies and automation, it’s not far from reality. Automation is making sweeping changes across industries, enabling them to bring new products and ideas to market faster and more efficiently. In the technology industry, infrastructure is becoming more intelligent and applications are getting more agile. Analytics-based algorithms are baked into the core of technology to enhance the decision making abilities in a production environment. The impact of automation could be seen in areas as basic as software development and visualization environment and as critical as disaster recovery execution. With time, the maturity and adoption of automation is going to leapfrog and we will see self-service and self-healing technology stacks in most parts of our technology environment. Embracing automation will be a key step to architecting a sustainable future. This makes it necessary for CIOs to explore all possible avenues to implement automation in their respective environments.

Implementing these foundational blocks comes with strategic and operational challenges. Yet, even small steps in these directions can go a long way in getting ready to embrace the transformation. 2015 is going to be a busy year for CIOs in driving several actions around these themes to stay nimble, competitive and future-ready.

The author is global head – Strategy and M&A, infrastructure & cloud computing, Dell Services

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