A New IT Infrastructure Strategy To Face A New Tomorrow
Five recommendations for business leaders to get started on making changes needed for creating new IT infrastructures that would survive a new tomorrow
The challenge of maximising value from IT investments has become harder in the digital age. Today’s IT realm involves a myriad of platforms, systems, processes, applications and, of course, people. As the pace of change accelerates, the need to change the IT infrastructure will intensify, and it can overwhelm businesses that are under-prepared.
Based on a recent study of more than a thousand senior IT executives in 18 countries across all sectors, here are five recommendations for business leaders to get started on making changes needed for creating new IT infrastructures that would survive a new tomorrow.
MERGE YOUR BUSINESS, IT AND SECURITY STRATEGIES INTO ONE
Merge both digital and security strategies into one. In today’s interconnected age, business is technology, and technology is business. The time has come for a single transformation strategy that cuts across business, IT and security requirements for the digital enterprise. With this approach, the entire organisation will engage in a single mission — to grow a technology-led business. This doesn’t mean that business leaders should become data centre experts, but that it will help tremendously to develop a holistic view of how IT infrastructure changes will change their business.
Cyberattacks are more sophisticated now and it is essential for organisations to educate and create awareness about the impact of threats on businesses. Inject cybersecurity deep into the company’s culture because humans will
continue to be the weakest link to cybersecurity. In fact, social media (66%) and careless or unaware employees (64%) were cited as the top two threats increasing companies’ risk exposure. Cybersecurity is everyone’s responsibility, and the business’s employee performance metrics should reflect that. Sixty percent of respondents in the study1 said they are developing a corporate culture that makes everyone responsible for security. In fact, cybersecurity is expected to emerge as number one business priority for Indian organisations by 2020, highlighting the strong need for a cybersecurity reboot. BE FAST, BUT NOT FURIOUS While it’s true that companies need to match the speed of change in the marketplace, mimicking the infrastructure of digital unicorns is a sure recipe for disaster. The study1 revealed that 35% of companies are endeavouring to become “the Amazon of their space,” while 26% are unsure whether that’s a realistic goal or not. With their roots in the industrial era, and having very different end goals from digital natives, it is essential for traditional businesses to set their own pace for digital transformation1. FIX OLD- SCHOOL HR PRACTICES WITH ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE ( AI) It is believed that the entire recruitment process in any organisation in India takes in excess of 125 days. Companies need to replace traditional hiring approaches with smart hiring driven by AI. The rise of the new machine means that business transformation could occur more quickly than anticipated by organisations, often creating skill imbalances, and companies must be prepared. In fact, 50% of executives interviewed for the study named maintaining resources and skills as a top challenge in meeting the pace of the digital economy. AI should drive the new rules of engagement for finding the best talent, along with building and managing “future of work”-type communities (such as the open source code version control repository GitHub among others) for the modern enterprise. Take a clue from consumer goods giant Unilever, which has been hiring employees using neuroscience-based brain games and AI. The average time for a candidate to be hired went from four months to four weeks, with a cumulative savings of 50,000 hours of candidates’ time. Also, recruiters’ time spent on applications decreased by 75%2. DATA- DRIVEN DECISION- MAKING Capture the next tech wave of data-driven decision-making. Companies that use advanced analytics and machine learning are twice as likely to be top financial performers, according to Bain, and three times more likely to execute effective decisions3. However, only 32% of respondents in the study said their company changed the approach to strategic decision-making because of the sudden burst in data volumes. In the age of the new machine, business decisions can no longer be hierarchically oriented or based on intuition. IT needs to foster collaboration and maintain a data-first culture to develop relevant products and services. IT MATTERS MORE THAN EVER The days of the IT department being responsible for only infrastructure and operations, with a relentless focus on cost cutting, are gone. Enterprises that view IT as a costly overhead and not a competitive capability will struggle to succeed in the new machine age. Changing this mindset within IT, and then selling the idea to the rest of the company, will be both a challenge and an opportunity for CIOs. Just as tablets, smartphones and app stores led the consumerisation of IT, a right IT infrastructure strategy, complemented with an infusion of AI is the formula that will help businesses find their way into the future.
Business and technology leaders that seize this moment of change will have a front-row seat to the shift in IT values in the digital age we live in.