The results are in from a recent, Datalink-commissioned IDG Research survey
of IT leaders. Stakes Rise for IT: The IT Transformation Journey asked participants about their experiences of IT optimization and transformation. The survey also inquired about near-term plans.
So, what are IT leaders prioritizing in the coming year? What are the challenges they’re facing? And, how might they tackle them?
Big Goals, Bigger Risks
Gone are the days when getting more out of your legacy equipment was enough to earn kudos from executives in the business. While everyone still values prudent use of existing IT resources, the bar has been set exceedingly high when it comes to what IT leaders hope to accomplish in the year ahead.
IT’s top four business goals are (survey respondents could select three):
- Increase operational efficiency (60 percent)
- Improve customer experience (58 percent)
- Increase agility to support changing business demands (47 percent)
- Transform to a digital business model (47 percent)
IT leaders surveyed plan to achieve stated goals by improving the speed of IT service delivery and improving their flexibility to respond to business change. They also intend to leverage new technology platforms, such as incorporating various iterations of cloud or hyperconverged infrastructures. However, while big goals can mean big payoffs, they also come with plenty of challenges.
Navigating the Challenges
While pursuing ambitious goals is the dominant offensive strategy of IT leaders today, the defensive strategy can be expressed in one word: caution.
For instance, IT leaders report being more cautious than in the past when deciding which platforms to use for which application workloads. According to the survey results, many are finding this process extremely challenging, especially when it comes to evaluating cloud options.
When deciding whether or not to deploy applications on a public cloud platform, security and compliance concerns are paramount. IT leaders also consider reliability and performance capabilities. Additionally, many survey participants experienced a lack of control over resources or data when using public cloud.
IT leaders’ discretion appears to be well-founded. More than half of respondents (56 percent) reported having pulled applications and workloads back from a public cloud environment to an on-premise deployment. The same, top four concerns (control of resources, compliance, reliability/performance, and security) constituted the top reasons for undergoing repatriation.
Datalink believes that this is a time for due diligence. While there are a number of reasons why organizations have removed workloads from the public cloud, it is clear that some rushed to public cloud prior to performing sufficient, upfront planning and assessment. This forms the basis of Datalink’s services associated with Workload and Platform Alignment.
In the coming year, IT leaders will continue to leverage third-party experts. Specifically, they’ll look for help in defining data storage, growth and scalability requirements for their workloads. IT leaders surveyed will also seek support in determining compliance requirements for key workloads and best-fit platforms.
The survey shows that others hope to use third-party expertise to foster cultural changes needed for IT transformation. Preliminarily, many IT leaders also retain outside help to initially map current and future application environments, including performing application inventories and interdependency analyses.
Aid is perhaps most critical when contemplating emerging options for cloud and converged architectures, as evaluating new technologies has become too burdensome for already overworked IT organizations.
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