Jim Steinlage, President & CEO of Choice Solutions,
Updating disaster recovery plans, implementing much-needed automation, and protecting data have been at the top of the list for IT teams for some time, but for some organizations it never made the priority at all. Recruiting and retaining talent has been added to the list by HR for IT to help assist in delivering employee experience demands expected now and in the future. Today, with most organizations having significant remote workforces, it is more urgent than ever to focus on infrastructural elements. During the pandemic, business continuity has become a new focus of the employee experience.
While everyone is understandably preoccupied on the unprecedented public health crisis, there’s also an economic crisis as a byproduct. In conversations with IT leadership, both crises are having a huge impact on their businesses operations.
IT professionals are:
- Facing increased cybersecurity risk with the new mode of working.
- Looking at business continuity not only for customers but also their employees.
- Dealing with supply chain challenges from years of just-in-time manufacturing.
- Trying to supply a remote workforce with the tools they need to do their jobs efficiently.
- Needing to respond quickly to market conditions and demands.
- Facing HR demands to deliver a consumer-like experience for recruiting and retaining talent.
It seems like “Houdini”-type work is needed, all while IT budgets are shrinking during these uncertain times. Do more with less, and “Time to Value” will become very familiar words used in future decision making.
The State of IT Infrastructure
Just as COVID-19 has affected public health and healthcare, the concurrent economic uncertainty is exposing many organizations’ financial vulnerability. To survive and remain competitive, companies must aggressively keep moving forward. IT has the capability to play a vital role in responding quickly to market conditions and at same time mitigating risks.
Here’s what we can expect as the new normal of the future for IT infrastructure:
The pandemic has forced enterprises to accelerate their digital transformations which may have been dragging behind in many organizations. The need to accelerate these transformations has been fueled by the new way of working and different marketing approaches are implemented due to the pandemic. Unfortunately, this comes at a time when most businesses are also being asked to cut IT spending. Instead, look to flexibility, simplification, automation and consolidation opportunities with short “Time to Value” solutions.
Cash & Flexibility
If there’s one thing this health crisis has taught us, it’s that businesses can be upended in an instant. Infrastructure was traditionally a three to five year plan. Economic insecurity has enterprises postponing spending on non-immediate needs, and though it’s typically less costly for IT to purchase infrastructure on a CapEx basis, flexible OpEx purchases have become more attractive to meet rapidly changing needs.
The new technologies and processes organizations adopt must have the ability to reduce pitfalls like vendor lock-in and avoid hazards while improving organizations’ adaptability and flexibility to quickly changing market conditions. Look for technologies focused on using artificial intelligence, machine learning and self-healing to go beyond just automation. This must be done while still supporting money constraints when needed. Again, “Time to Value” will be part of the conversation.
Five Strategies for Future IT Infrastructures
There are five potential strategies IT leaders can take:
- Status Quo. This approach could leave your organization unable to support new initiatives or meet existing needs with a reduced IT team.
- Band-Aid. Invest in short-term infrastructure acquisitions. This can be like adding on to an old house because your family is growing where you still have the old frame/plumbing/electrical, and small rooms. It is much harder to automate and create efficiencies in these isolated silos.
- Rethink the role of the private cloud. This is a proven approach that can reduce costs and provide more flexibility and control. By being selective with your acquisitions of infrastructure hardware and software solutions you can still have the simplicity, flexibility, and speed of deployment of other cloud options. Although many times these type organizations don’t view themselves as cloud users they probably still use mail, possibly UCaaS and SaaS solutions from the cloud.
- Hybrid Cloud gives you cost containment, agility, elasticity, control, flexibility, and speed to deliver.
- All-in Cloud on the public cloud. This approach allows for flexibility scaling down when required, but it comes with an hefty and often unknown price tag. While it does give you flexibility and elasticity for growth, it also commits your data to public cloud scrutiny and creates less desirable future data movement and flexibility.
Each of the five strategies has an impact on IT budgets, liquidity, and overall risk. It should come as no surprise: the “Status Quo” comes with the negative consequences, with slower time-to-market and no flexibility to adapt to changing business needs.
Redefining the role of the hybrid cloud is the optimal choice. It improves competitive advantage, agility, and flexibility. While also reducing risk, giving you more control, flexibility and is the most cost-effective with limited CapEx expenditures.
Looking ahead, the future of digital infrastructure and cloud solutions in a post-COVID-19 world will rely enormously on digitally connected components. Infrastructure, Clouds and Networks that enable organizations to navigate and compete in changing market conditions while minimizing risk will be part of the winning formula. Managed cloud services offers you options that can support growth while helping you better respond to and overcome whatever crisis comes your way. Remember look for “Time to Value” results.