Eric Johnson, Senior Technologist of Enterprise Cloud at Nutanix, explored the transition from traditional to next-generation IT during his presentation to Argyle’s CIO membership at the 2018 CIO Leadership Forum: Data Strategy & Innovation in Boston on May 2. In his presentation, “IT Transformation from Traditional to Next-Generation: Meeting IT’s New Mandates,” Johnson offered recommendations to help IT professionals embrace digitalization.
Digitalization is transforming the traditional definition of IT. Thanks to the push for digitalization at companies around the globe, many CIOs are incorporating digital technologies into their companies’ day-to-day operations, leading to business model transformations. Plus, digitalization frequently helps CIOs identify new revenue opportunities and discover innovative ways to use digital technologies to differentiate their companies from the competition.
Today’s CEOs expect big things from IT professionals. No longer are IT professionals solely responsible for maintaining a company’s IT infrastructure and systems. Instead, IT professionals are expected to help a business generate revenue growth and become more productive and efficient than ever before.
“IT is moving from being a cost center and becoming a business enabler,” Johnson stated. “CIOs are really putting an emphasis on the era of digital now and digital first.”
Cloud computing is one of the key reasons why IT expectations have increased. The public cloud enables business users to quickly and effortlessly access a wide range of information from any location, at any time. Meanwhile, the public cloud delivers secure data access and offers business users the ability to retrieve information on computers, laptops and mobile devices.
Business departments often expect IT professionals to provide the same level of data access and security they enjoy via public clouds in private cloud environments. Yet IT professionals sometimes struggle to meet these departments’ expectations.
“The public cloud has reset business expectations,” Johnson said. “Different lines of business now want their applications in minutes, not weeks.”
How IT professionals approach cloud computing may have long-lasting ramifications on a business and its key stakeholders.
If IT professionals explore cloud innovation, they may discover the best ways to deliver seamless experiences across all cloud environments, at all times. Also, IT professionals who prioritize digitalization may be better equipped than others to match or exceed business departments’ expectations.
“There’s not a single cloud anymore,” Johnson indicated. “You need to make sure you’re delivering the same [public cloud] experiences in private cloud environments.”
CIOs can foster a culture of digitalization across IT teams. By doing so, CIOs can help these teams transition from traditional to next-generation IT.
“The CIO now has a dual role of maintaining the existing IT environment and embracing a new era of digitalization,” Johnson pointed out.
With digitalization priorities in place, CIOs can help IT teams look beyond visibility across public and private clouds and mobile devices. In fact, digitalization may lead IT teams to retrieve and analyze data that they can use to help a business make informed decisions.
“Enabling digitalization is a completely different mindset,” Johnson noted. “It involves moving away from visibility and toward predictability.”
Digitalization should empower IT professionals to act quickly to implement changes, too.
If CIOs embrace digitalization, they can leverage technologies that enable IT teams to move quickly to keep pace with a business, its employees and its customers. As such, CIOs can help their IT teams optimize the value of next-generation technologies.
“There is often little opportunity for small or big changes [with IT],” Johnson said. “And that’s a big issue, especially with new [IT] features and functionality becoming available on a regular basis.”
In addition, hyperconvergence may play a pivotal role in a CIO’s ability to drive next-generation IT transformation.
Hyperconvergence involves the development of an IT framework that combines storage, computing and networking into a single system. Thus, hyperconvergence simultaneously reduces data center complexity and increases scalability, making it exceedingly valuable to CIOs at companies across all industries.
“The first step in moving toward the next generation [of IT] is to re-platform,” Johnson indicated. “If you put a hyperconvergence server in place, it should allow you to plug things in like Legos and easily grow the environment [as needed].”
CIOs should constantly search for digitalization tools and technologies that drive business improvements. By embracing an ongoing commitment to improvement through digitalization, CIOs can reap the benefits of true enterprise clouds.
“You want to make sure you’re deploying a true enterprise cloud that provides all the tools necessary to facilitate digitalization,” Johnson stated. “You won’t need to add any complexity, but you’ll be able to access all the tools necessary to innovate and digitalize your environment.”