What Should You Do to Transform Your IT?

A strong IT strategy is a must for any enterprise, regardless of its level of involvement in the cloud. The very foundation of a business depends on its ability to operate smoothly, swiftly, and efficiently while limiting security risks.

Our partners at VMware and EMC developed a white paper entitled “The State of IT Transformation” that discusses the crucial elements a business should have to support their modern and digital needs. The report is based on feedback gathered from CIOs and IT leaders workshops held by the two companies with participation from over 660 organizations. It’s comforting to see that progress has been made, though there are still some areas of improvement. What are some of the areas where CIOs would still like to improve?

Defining a Strategic Platform

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that CIOs are constantly thinking of ways to be cost-effective. Also not a shocker: companies want to reach between 80 and 100 percent in compute, storage, and application virtualization. Only the top companies are hitting above the 80 percent mark in those categories, so overall, there’s still a ways to go, particularly in the storage and application areas.

Similarly, while most companies want a well-engineered hybrid cloud architecture, very few are where they hope to be. Over 90 percent of respondents are only in the evaluation or proof of concept stage of a hybrid cloud environment. Perhaps even more alarming, a similar percentage of organizations have no organized, consistent way to evaluate workloads for hybrid cloud. This leads to trouble down the line, as evaluations are done few and far between, take up a lot of time, and are difficult to repeat. It’s also a reason why the adoption of hybrid cloud across the enterprise is still not a uniform decision. A managed service provider can help ease some of the workload, particularly in monitoring an environment, and while there’s no one best answer for migrating to the cloud, it’s worth it for a business to take the time and see what the best option is for them.

Transforming Operations

The majority of CIOs expressed a desire to run their IT like a customer-focused business. 80 percent said they hoped to increase automation to improve IT service delivery and come up with a standard set of services to efficiently manage user and customer requests through a service catalog and self-service portal. Most respondents have either no self-service portal or service catalog, or have an underdeveloped one. Even the most mature companies only have a partial catalog.

As always, having a road map of the moves and changes your business makes in its strategy is a good idea, and 90 percent of CIOs agree, saying they believe a documented IT transformation strategy, complete with executive and line-of-business support, is a crucial step. But saying and doing are two different things: more than half of those CIOs admitted to having absolutely nothing documented.

To get started on a successful business strategy, it’s a good idea to look at your DevOps practice as a whole. That involves getting back to the basics—these three steps are a good place to begin.

Empowering and Accelerating Application Development

According to more than two-thirds of all respondents, the development of a new application takes at least six months, and in many cases, more than a year. The biggest reason for this delay? Fewer than 20 percent of companies have a scalable, infrastructure-independent application framework. Without that, it’s difficult to build mobile, cloud-native apps quickly or even consistently. Especially as the industry continues to shift, having a framework that’s both scalable and able to stand independently will ensure a business can adapt and take advantage of newer infrastructure capabilities down the line. 

Making Progress

It’s very good to see that companies have made significant progress in their IT initiatives over the past few years. A great example of this is looking at the percentage of areas that participants rated themselves as being at the lowest level of maturity. These areas include Healthcare, Government, Telecommunication Services, Retail, and Financial Services. Just a couple of years ago, the overall average of “lowest level” in these areas was 69 percent; today, they’re at 58 percent.

The reports results, featured on VMware’s CIO Vantage and on EMC’s State of IT Transformation, provides leadership strategies and insights on priorities for IT transformation initiatives. Granted, there’s still plenty of work to be done, but CIOs are headed down the right path in prioritizing the areas – like the hybrid cloud – that will provide them and their businesses the greatest benefits in the long run.

David Lucky is a Product Marketing leader at Rackspace for the Managed Public Cloud services group, a global business unit focused on delivering end-to-end digital transformation services on AWS, Azure, GCP and Alibaba. David came to Rackspace from Datapipe where as Director of Product Management for six years he led product development in building services to help enterprise clients leverage managed IT services to solve complex business challenges. David has unique insight into the latest product developments for private, public and hybrid cloud platforms and a keen understanding of industry trends and their impact on business development. He holds an engineering degree from Lehigh University and is based out of Jersey City, NJ. You can follow David on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/davidlucky and Twitter @Luckys_Blog.