In my last article, Five strategic enterprise IT business drivers CXOs are now contemplating, I explored the considerations CXO’s need to take right now. Your CXO isn’t responsible for implementation, though, that comes down to you.

In a recent IDG survey, “How are IT leaders Responding to the Pandemic,” we clearly see a shift in priorities by CIOs to address the new normal with more focus on cost control (45%), improving IT operations (38%), and redesigning business process (37%). How is that going to impact you? Let’s explore 7 steps IT can take to satisfy these shifting priorities and enable their corporate business strategy.

Migrate applications to the cloud

If it’s not broke, don’t fix it. That’s the normal response we hear when there’s resistance around moving to the cloud. The reality, though, is that it is broken. The cost, time, and energy expended by your staff to maintain servers, OS, patching, and databases may feel like a sunk cost, but in reality is a drain on both your intellectual and financial capital. A focused plan to migrate applications to the cloud gets you out of the maintenance business and provides the opportunity to deploy human assets to critical and strategic tasks.

Close datacenters

A recent 451 report by William Fellows and Melanie Posey highlighted that, “the C-suite points to cloud as a weapon it will bring to the fight against variables such as uncertainty and rapidly changing market conditions.” They go on further to state, “we expect COVID-19 will likely expedite the evacuation of datacenters and large-scale capex (equipment, real estate) takeout as long-term business disruptions and changes to working practices become permanent ‘new normal’ conditions.” Closing datacenters doesn’t have to be a painful process with significant ramifications to your human capital. Strategically, it can help to ensure business viability, and with a little investment in employee development, your previous workforce won’t have to take a hit.

Reduce cloud spend

Optimized cloud spend is not only achievable but could reduce your total cloud spend by over 20%. Initial savings are found by discovering unused, unattached or idle resources. From there, explore rightsizing your compute resource. Typically, cloud administrators over provision compute instances and never go back to right-size.

Reserved instances and spot instances are another source for cloud spend optimization. They require a higher degree of knowledge and management skills but can significantly reduce the cost of your compute instances.

Reduce risk

Sure ways to divert money away from your strategic programs is to have your applications compromised, your client data offered on the dark web, or your entire production encrypted by ransomware. The upside is you’ll learn more than you ever need to know about bitcoin.

Reduce your risk profile by identifying your critical applications, getting a security audit, and ensuring those applications are recoverable in the event of a disaster. It’s not enough to believe you have it covered, you need to actually test and prove you are protected. Create your own Chaos engineering working team to continuously test the security and recoverability of your critical applications and data.

Enable your remote workforce

In 2017, IBM’s chief marketing officer forced employees to relocate to one of six “strategic” marketing office locations or leave the company. One wonders if the CMO holds the same belief that work can’t be done effectively via a remote workforce. In truth, the world was already changing at that time. The following generation of workers, the ecommerce generation, doesn’t subscribe to the traditional onsite approach. For this group and for many other employees, creativity, productivity, and collaboration occur remotely. Giving them the right tools allows not only your remote workforce to thrive but enables your company to succeed as well.

Employee recruitment / retention

Continuing down the ecommerce employee path, the best and brightest don’t want to be in server management, database administration, or datacenter operations. The new breed of IT is seeking opportunities in developing code for containerized applications, serverless computing, AI development, IoT and cloud – the type of skills that increase the development speed, bring products to market faster, and innovate the corporation technically.

Increase application development speed

From an investment perspective, success is measured by Return On Investment (ROI). In development speak, success is measured in Time to Value (TtV). To achieve TtV in application development, consider implementing a DevOps methodology (or DevSecOps). Implemented correctly, a DevOps methodology is proven to accelerate applications into production faster with less failure.

Final thoughts

Ultimately, IT is only successful when focused on being the catalyst for business success. Whether focused on cost control, improving IT operations, or redesigning business processes, IT is the enabler of the business. If you need help creating a strategy to address your shifting priorities, contact us.

-Michael Elliott, Sr Director, Product Marketing