By Rajesh Ramnani, Regional Director, VCE
In recent years, the CIO role has had to constantly evolve to keep up with the complex IT landscape. This has left modern IT leaders juggling ongoing IT operations, while attempting to fulfil the business’ technology needs.
The latest State of the CIO report found more business leaders are now expecting the CIO to lead corporate-wide innovation projects and to help develop new products and services. However, three quarters (74 per cent) of CIOs say it’s increasingly tough finding the right balance between driving innovation and keeping the lights on.
Despite expanding responsibilities and increasing demands on them as a result of business transformation initiatives, CIOs often inherit decisions made by those that came before. Many are constrained by legacy systems, processes and infrastructures making it challenging for their IT departments to deploy and implement new products and services fast enough to support the business.
Meanwhile, the complex working silos within traditional IT departments also cause considerable lag in producing or accessing new strategic solutions.
Silos are the enemy of productivity; they impede velocity and organisational dexterity. To improve productivity, CIOs must enforce the radical simplification of IT processes and infrastructure. While this will require a shift in the skills and approach of a traditional CIO, strategy can only go so far without the appropriate technology solution to support it.
Traditional technology infrastructures are poorly equipped to cope with modern business environments, however more IT leaders are now realizing that they can transform technology into a true enabler of business competitiveness by deploying everything they need in one neat and pre-tested package – otherwise known as converged infrastructure.
As an all-encompassing IT solution, converged infrastructure gives organisations the flexibility to use their compute, storage and networking resources in more efficient and cost-effective ways, while lowering IT management needs and increase the speed with which new software and services are deployed.
The role of the CIO can then evolve to being much more entrepreneurial. Organisations need a CIO with business acumen, who is more focused on solving problems and innovating.
Research from PwC also echoes this sentiment on the strategic CIO’s new role in innovation, with the research firm claiming that: “innovation is the next frontier for all CIOs, and now is the time for the CIO to prepare and take action”. The first step in achieving this is transforming IT infrastructure into an enabler.
Converged infrastructure strikes at the heart of the biggest infrastructure challenges by accelerating time to value, reducing management complexity and simplifying ongoing operations.
Suddenly CIOs can become far more agile and relevant to their business. The simplicity and standardization of working with an integrated platform rather than multiple technology stacks means all components can be managed through a single pane of glass.
This more holistic view is necessary for IT decision-makers to gain faster insights into where they’re needed most and act according to the demands of the digital enterprise. In fact, IDC research has found that with Vblock System, the average time spent implementing a new software solution can be reduced from 25 days to five, meaning CIOs can fuel new growth in the business faster, and more effectively.
Another IDC study delved into the business value of converged infrastructure in driving business agility. In the study, converged infrastructure was found to have yielded a 4.4x faster time-to-market for services/products, 96% less downtime, a 41% decrease in IT time spent keeping the lights on, while yielding a whopping 338% more IT time spent on business enablement.
Converged systems enable CIOs to enhance productivity, as IT departments can actually compete with external providers. Additionally we’re giving technical teams a better job, where they are working shoulder to shoulder with business analysts, application development teams and the line of business to focus on business outcomes, rather than trying to fault find or patch manage a very complex solution.
At the very heart of a successful organisation lies a well financed and influential IT department. Headed by a forward looking CIO that can attract budget and talent, they are able to shift the focus away from being just an internal IT function to an important go to market leveraging converged infrastructure as a catalyst for change.