9. Charting a New Course
Whether it’s a new customer experience, a platform to support nascent revenue models, or a system to streamline existing operations, digital transformation is driving the outcomes that define modern-day business.
This transformation won’t be successful, however, unless CIOs are willing and able to chart a new course for enterprise IT – characterized by flexibility, speed, agility, innovation and a laser focus on enabling the business.
“You want to be able to adopt technology or ways of working that make your business more efficient and give you competitive advantage,” says Jeff Wike, CTO at DreamWorks Animation. “In order to accomplish those goals, we need the flexibility to meet the demands of our changing environment with a high amount of efficiency and utilization.”
Wike and other savvy technology innovators are embracing Hybrid IT as the foundation for digital transformation. The ability to seamlessly stitch together traditional IT, managed services, and private and public cloud into a Hybrid IT fabric provides the flexibility to mix, match, and deploy the right combination of services quickly, regardless of their location.
“Not all applications are cloud-ready,” says Jeff Baken, Director of Infrastructure at AmeriPride. “If we identify that something in an off-prem cloud doesn’t meet our needs, we can keep it [on-premises] until that changes. That’s the sweet spot we’re at: We can move workloads fairly easily. By establishing a flexible and dynamic environment, we are ready to react to whatever business need is out there.”
– Simon Iddon
Group CIO, The Restuarant Group PLC
It’s a win-win scenario in which business users are empowered with access to the apps and information they need, when and where they need them. IT gains credibility as a strategic partner, able to move faster and drive innovation without the protracted deployment cycles and pushback that too often characterize traditional IT engagements.
“We’re fundamentally changing how we interact with our clients and other partners,” says Anil Cheriyan, CIO of SunTrust Banks. “We need to be present in the digital ecosystem. Our ability to do that is based on our ability to have an open, API-driven platform. We’re driving toward a new agility that’s across the board both from a business and technology standpoint.”
How Do Business Leaders View the CIO?
Proactively identifies business needs/opportunities and makes recommendations regarding technology or provider selections
Evaluates and advises on business needs, technology choices, or providers upon request
Evaluates and advises on technology choices or providers primarily through a risk management, security, or governance lens
Raises enough flags and other obstacles to new technologies so that projects are difficult to complete
Tends to do their own thing in technology procurement for new initiatives, creating challenges of transparency and visibility
The new agility involves a blend of people, process, technology, and economics. Beyond the core technology pillars of Hybrid IT – public and private cloud, hyperconverged platforms, composable architectures, software-defined infrastructure, and automation and orchestration capabilities – CIOs must forge deeper levels of IT-business alignment. This new type of internal partnership transcends simple guidance on technology choices and, instead, fuels collaborative efforts to improve business outcomes and achieve operational efficiency goals.
“I have a whole portfolio of people we are investing in to help them work closer with the business,” says Randall Gaboriault, CIO and Senior Vice President of Innovation and Strategic Development at Christiana Care Health System. “We’re investing to help them shape the technology strategy that enables our business and clinical goals.”
5 Ways to Improve Business Agility with Hybrid IT
Put your data to work, wherever it resides, to unlock insights for real-time action
Get – and pay for – the resources you need, when you need them
Enable teams to move apps and their components among service layers across a single, shared infrastructure that combines traditional IT with private and public cloud
Accelerate the delivery of new services at scale
Bridge the Dev/Ops divide and brokers IT services for LOBs with uninterrupted service levels
With Hybrid IT as the enabler, CIOs are firmly establishing enterprise IT as a critical service broker to unleash new ideas and revenue opportunities. Embracing DevOps practices, prioritizing skill sets around agile methodologies and tools, and putting processes in place to nurture greater IT and business collaboration are essential to accelerate service delivery and create an environment that can be scaled up or dialed back to match ongoing business fluctuations.
“We are changing our IT culture to be a service enabler,” says John DiCamillo, Americas CTO at Arup. “How do we measure how we’re becoming an enabler, not just a provider? By working with the business on a new way of doing a certain task or a new development effort. Listen to their pain points, understand the problem, and address the problem. That’s the kind of cultural change we’re trying to implement.”
A Hybrid IT model also requires a more sophisticated approach to cybersecurity and risk. Instead of a separate layer addressed at the end of a project, security in this new environment is fused into all aspects of IT systems, applications, and services to reduce risk and create a more resilient infrastructure. “It’s an arms race,” notes Renee Zaugg, Vice President of IT Infrastructure and Development Services at Aetna. “We have a fairly sophisticated security program, but we have to continue to develop and mature.”
Given the complexity, partnerships are critical in the new world of Hybrid IT, in terms of both leveraging the right technology and having access to ongoing coaching and expertise. While the road to Hybrid IT is full of twists and turns, forward-thinking technology leaders don’t let obstacles and uncertainty deter them.
“We launched into this not knowing how to solve some of the problems and without having some of the skills on board,” says William Mayo, CIO at Broad Institute. “We’ve been able to sort it out with hard work, ingenuity, a bit of luck, and great partnerships with our providers. We just keep solving every problem as it comes at us, because not solving them is not an option.”
It’s Game Time
Now that you understand the fundamentals of Hybrid IT, use that knowledge to accelerate your digital transformation.
8. Unlock the Potential
IT leaders are expecting big things from big data.