A recent Gartner survey suggested that half of large enterprises are pursuing digital first initiatives. Companies have to transform into fully sustainable digital enterprises before the day when their current practices becomes unsustainable. This puts the CIO in the role of prime business change catalyst and the person responsible for aligning IT and organisational strategies. A very different role of a decade ago, when the typical CIO was concerned mostly with IT infrastructure.
The CIO has now become a digital business leader and as such has primary responsibility for the translation of board requirements into solutions. In doing so, the CIO faces a number of challenges, namely:
- Creating a platform for the digital workplace;
- Security of the digital business and protection of the enterprise;
- Protection of data and managing the risk of transactions and storage;
- Delivering either technology led or technology facilitated business innovation;
- The rate of change in today’s world is accelerating and the requirement for hybrid IT environments is ever more pressing.
Evolving workplace technologies present both opportunity and disruption for all enterprises. The pace of change is accelerating, and it’s critical to understand which technologies are right for the business and when and how to implement them. In addition, balancing the sometimes conflicting needs of employees with corporate IT mandates is a constant challenge. Employees push for increased mobility, personalisation and flexibility in the workplace, whilst corporate governance will seek to control access, standardise processes and ensure compliance.
The key enabler for empowering business transformation, for the digital workplace and for growth, is through IT infrastructure and its ability to respond to change. It must be flexible and agile. Consequently, there is an accelerating movement to bring responsibility of the real estate portfolio, including data centres, to the CIO.
When considering the challenges faced above, this makes perfect business sense, especially from a technical real estate point of view. IT refresh cycles are reducing, the rate of change increasing and traditional property strategies face growing underutilisation through changing working practices and evolving IT solutions (utilisation of the Cloud being a leading example).
Traditionally, the IT strategy has evolved independently and the real estate function is then asked to provide a solution for the technical space required. As IT is predominantly time driven and real estate outcomes measured in cost, the solution is very often to backfill or shoe horn a solution into existing space.
Whilst this may well solve a short-term target in utilisation, it won’t necessarily suit the medium to long-term business need. By exploring IT strategies and real estate options as one business challenge, the outcome will offer a far more flexible solution to suit the fundamental business need rather than short term departmental targets. The CIO accountability line will ensure that this particular challenge will be faced holistically to deliver the best possible results.
In essence, the technical real estate should be considered as an IT asset because the nature of IT and its environment are becoming more intertwined. Therefore, CIO’s require deployment models that recognise this by integrating IT strategies with technical real estate solutions.
This rapid evolution of the CIO’s role and its importance to organisational success, alongside the rate of technology change, has made it difficult for some businesses to move as quickly as they require. Our business is based on helping CIO’s with their data centre and IT strategy. We understand your business challenges and have first-hand experience of the assets you own and operate. We partner with you and bring unique insights to support you in getting better results, with more assurance and certainty.
Business Critical Solutions is part of The Keysource Group. We are the only consultancy that has the track record to offer the full range of the required design, build and operational expertise in both IT infrastructure and technical real estate outcomes in house.