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How IT Solves the Business Agility Formula

Servers, Storage and Networking | Posted on April 24, 2018 by Angela Cope

It’s 2018 – it’s time to retire the job title ‘IT Manager’.

When we think of an ‘IT Manager’, a traditional IT department comes to mind. The individuals who “keep the lights on” at an organization. IT Managers/teams are not those people anymore. They are driving organizations towards continued growth and success in today’s digital, cloud-everywhere, mobile-first world. That’s why we feel that the job title today should be “Orchestrator of Digital Innovation”.

With a job title change, there is a shift in responsibilities and new learning curves. IT departments are now critical members and contributors to organizational change. IT’s job is no longer to just build and fix things that help the business run.

IT must assemble the jigsaw puzzle of in-house and cloud-delivered services and infrastructure. From picking the right cloud solution to augmenting service delivery with third parties and manual repetitive tasks, IT is in the middle. IT ensures each decision is optimized for the business, well governed and secure. And to top it all off, all of this needs to happen quickly.

Speed in today’s business world correlates directly with business agility. Yet, many companies continue to struggle with agility.

What Does Business Agility Actually Mean?

There are multiple resources online that attempt to answer this question. One includes a basic formula: BUSINESS AGILITY = (VISIBILITY + MOTIVATION) x TRAINING.

But if we keep it simple and remove the word ‘business’, agility simply means to move quickly and easily. For an IT team to respond to business demands quickly and easily, they need to have the right tools and people in place.

The digital projects that IT teams are working on today involve using new platforms and technology. In order to get a project completed quickly and easily, modern IT leaders are leveraging more effective strategies. This includes outsourcing, identifying ways to deliver mentorship to existing teams, and investing in the right tools.

Therefore, our formula for orchestrators of digital innovation to achieve is this: IT AGILITY = TECHNOLOGY RESOURCES + NEW SKILL SETS.

This formula is not groundbreaking. In fact, many of our clients have been taking the right steps to put the technology and skill sets in place to meet business demands easily and quickly. We see the numbers speak to this in the recent Softchoice Cloud Readiness Study. 67% of respondents indicated that an increase in business agility is the reason their organization is migrating to the cloud. These companies are moving away from the traditional three-tier server, storage, and networking infrastructure.

The Three-Tier Problem

If your organization is operating with a traditional three-tier architecture, don’t even bother solving the business agility equation. The three-tier architecture was designed during a different time, prior to the explosion of web and mobile apps. Application requirements have changed drastically since the 1990s, and three-tier is woefully inadequate to meet them because of its rigid and linear design.

“There are many businesses out there that have outpaced what IT can deliver,” says Oleg Kuperman, EMC Technical Architect at Softchoice. “IT used to lead the business, but the iPhone changed that. Applications on my iPhone or smartphone allow me to access and carry business data anywhere and everywhere.”

The three-tier architecture simply can’t keep up. Servers, storage, and networks have to be managed by different individuals or groups of people due to skill set requirements. It’s all about patching servers and fixing connectivity breakages.

If IT AGILITY = TECHNOLOGY RESOURCES + NEW SKILL SETS, the three-tier architecture doesn’t have a role to play in today’s business demands.

How To Solve the IT Agility Equation

As an orchestrator of digital innovation, you can start improving the speed at which projects get completed by getting the right technology resources in place. This includes moving to a cloud-based solution.

Many of us know and understand the benefits and importance of running applications in the cloud, but no business is 100% operating out of the cloud. There are still a number of physical pieces of equipment required. That’s why IT teams are investing in hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) solutions like Dell VXRail.

“Cloud and HCI enable IT departments to modernize their data center,” says Kuperman. “A modernized data center breaks down the silos. It makes it  easier for the IT department to be responsive in giving back to the business.”

An HCI solution is taking your server and storage requirements and compressing those two components into one box. Instead of spending the time fixing, or upgrading, or adding to a physical server and storage solution from a three-tier approach, an HCI set-up allows you to make changes to your infrastructure through software.

It’s the HCI software solution that you need to look for when investing in HCI. This software enables IT departments to move away from that traditional role of spending time fixing physical boxes. When you free up IT’s time, you can work on obtaining new skill sets to support digital transformation.

“It’s about changing your perspective from ‘build’, to a service delivery mentality. To be agile, your IT department’s time is worth more than just trying to focus on building out infrastructure” notes Kuperman. “When you invest and buy the right technology such as an HCI solution – essentially a data center in a box – you’re providing your organization with the right resources.”

Bring in the Mathmagicians

Let’s face it, sometimes we all need help solving new problems in the workplace. If you’re excited to embrace your new role of the orchestrator of digital innovation, our teams and resources can easily become members of your digital orchestra.

Benchmarking IT Agility: How does your organization stack up? Take our latest survey and discover how your IT team compares to others when it comes to agility.  

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