On the front foot: how to keep pace with IT evolution

On top of CIO dilemmas around whether to opt for public or private cloud, software defined storage or hardware, they’re also managing infrastructure for an increasingly flexible workforce – one that can work any time of day or night, from anywhere and on any device.

The swift pace of technological change is not rest-like for the ones implementing it. In fact, it’s most likely pretty stressful.

But here’s the bottom line: even if it’s not as good as a rest, change is inevitable. And whether businesses are trying to keep up with changing consumer behaviour, competition or even a diversifying workforce, the right IT infrastructure, and the right strategy supporting it, are vital.

>See also: The changing role of the CIO and boardroom in 2017

There’s simply no use trying to shoe horn new technologies into what’s already there. It’s time for a rethink: and that’s exactly what CIOs and IT managers are starting to do.

Back to school

Hardworking, high performing IT infrastructures are not achieved by implementing a single product or technology. Success is about having the right frame of mind: a CIO has to be ready to innovate, develop and implement change.

Remaining wedded to the old way of doing things hasn’t cut it for a while. But with so many new products promising to be the next big thing, how are CIOs staying on top of technological developments and identifying what’s hot, and what’s not?

It’s becoming more difficult: would you know whether OpenStack or Docker was right for your needs? Or whether you should consider NVMe this year? It almost goes without saying how important those decisions are.

Selecting the wrong storage solution for example, could slow down your business at best. At worst, it could cause outages and lost data.

CIO education and training is so important: both to understand the technologies that are available to them and to get to grips with the demands of their infrastructure.

>See also: Gartner vs Forrester: will the CIO please stand up?

It’s not possible to make an informed choice without a good understanding of the technology that’s out there. And even then – knowing a product has high performance levels isn’t enough – will it perform well with a customer’s existing technology? And is the right fit for the job it’s required to do?

For example, a storage solution designed for business critical data will be a very expensive choice for archived data that’s only kept for compliance.

Going back to the classroom can fill some people with dread – but education is key. And not just intermittent training: being talked at for a few hours, a couple of times a year. This has to be a commitment to continual learning: finding a trusted expert who’s happy to share their thoughts, going to key industry events, and spending time getting to know what the organisation’s infrastructure really needs.

A commitment to education makes sense for the organisation: there’ll be fewer issues if the right technology is implemented. But it also makes sense for the CIO, who will be in a much better position to advise decision-makers in the business, and share expertise and knowledge with the IT team.

Shaking the IT industry

The industry – from vendors to the channel – has to change its mind set too. Making wild claims about how technology performs in the lab can be confusing and misleading.

Vendors will need to be more transparent when it comes to explaining what their solutions can realistically achieve and what type of environment they’re best suited to.

This approach will benefit all involved: the customer, who will have the information they need to make the right choice, and the vendor, who will build well-earned trust, which is very valuable in today’s fickle market.

And the channel, already expert in so many solutions, will also feel the pressure to get a more detailed understanding of breakthrough technologies. Many customers rely on resellers, for example, to offer advice based on the best fit for their requirements and their budget.

>See also: Going digital: the changing role of the CIO

They expect their reseller to really understand what’s on offer. Customers already select their resellers based on knowledge and insight, but that’s going to become even more crucial.

The whole of the channel will have to prove its worth, and it’ll do that through educating itself and its customers, and by building stronger relationships with vendors.

The fourth utility

There was once a time when the IT infrastructure was a couple of desktops and a printer. Now it’s become a utility: as important, if not more so, that water, gas and electricity.

But it’s not the same: power and water supplies don’t change from one quarter to the next. The demands on them rarely increase without warning.

With IT such a crucial, but evolving, part of the business, it makes no sense to plug away, doing what’s always been done and hoping for the best. CIOs that do that will come unstuck very quickly – and they understand that.

That’s why education is already becoming so important, and will continue to be vital over the coming years.


Sourced by Boyan Ivanov, CEO, Storpool

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...