The cloud-enabled enterprise of the future will look very different from the network architectures of today. For starters, there will be isolated clouds of data across parts of the world for regional compliance. Employees will have distinct provider-focused technical skills, such as AWS, Tencent, Alibaba Cloud or Microsoft Azure certification. They will be on the move with flexible and remote work overcoming borders as barriers much more rapidly led on by the 2020— shift.
Framing enablement of CIOs and management teams
What are the key questions to ask about this rapidly changing environment? How can CIOs help their diverse teams to leverage technology to take advantage of this opportunity?
To be sure, the technical challenges are well known. Big-data analytics is an accelerating challenge and will continue to create barriers for real-time action.
Retailers with social media presence are now adapting to live video streaming platforms — pulling streams and analyzing sentiment, engagement heuristics, to make better decisions.
Cloud enterprise architectures, for instance, will need to evolve to take advantage of the diverse pool data that will be available. Organizations will need to evolve infrastructure investment to take advantage of high bandwidth connectivity enabled with 5G and the management of Internet of Things (IoT) devices generating data.
But the opportunities are also significant in terms of managerial focus.
As the enterprise moves to an ever-larger array of software and increasingly remote collaboration tools, the need for a “smart” orchestration is more and more acute.
Technology has a central role in enabling this new operating model and is where a range of cloud-based DevOps practices can make the difference between the leaders and the laggards. We’ve seen CIOs who focus on enterprise-wide strategies with top-down commitment, for instance, get the most out of their organizations.
Conversely, in the public sector, managers have developed their own methods for departmental technology needs selection while conforming to PMO (project management office), primarily budgetary requirements. This extends to public-private partnerships and inter-dependencies among agencies.
Flexible approaches have a considerate benefit to CIOs in developing an holistic perspective of the impact of various technologies.
Creating a unified operating model
In our research, private-sector IT organizations (a centralized role) often face the same challenge as noted above of adapting to a more flexible operating model. IT functions have traditionally operated “vertically”—using specialized talent and expertise to manage downstream technology adoption.
The proposed operating model requires CIOs to develop a clear and coherent strategy while balancing localized needs of a globally distributed and remote workforce. They will have to adopt a wide range of practices across the organization with commonalities in compliance controls.
To ensure success, a top-down commitment to reshaping and influencing the organization’s culture with the technology environment a powerful platform for business growth is necessary. Leaders will need to demonstrate in multiple ways, including setting the right priorities for business objectives and technology use, creating the right operating model, and recruiting and developing the talent required to manage the organization’s technology and operations.
Priorities for business and technology leaders
Private-sector IT organizations are facing a number of significant challenges to support their businesses and strategic objectives.
To overcome barriers, they must think about the broad set of risks in five foundational categories.
Understanding the business context and the skills set of the technology organization.
CIOs, business-unit leaders, and corporate-wide leaders need to understand the specific executional objectives and the technology capabilities they need to meet those goals. For example, consider the following key questions:
- Is it a priority to reduce costs by moving all critical work to a remote enabled workforce?
- Is the organizations’ goal to improve customer success value by integrating product and sales teams?
- Is there a mandate to increase productivity by moving all critical work to a new location or by adopting new mechanisms of flex time, AI-infused communication tools, or redefining roles?
Engineering and Cloud Architecture
CIOs need to build a strong engineering culture and cloud architecture practice. This is also necessary for innovation, because a strong commitment to engineering can help to attract top-quality talent and to reduce orchestration complexity.
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While a centralized PMO should have ready access to all the software-development and technical know-how, it will still need to disseminate and develop localized technical talent.
To attract this talent, the middle managers need to offer incentive compensation plans, clear career goal setting, provide advancement paths, and training in advanced technical skills.
Cloud providers such as Microsoft offer self-paced learning platforms, free of cost, to empower everyone with the right technical mindset and skills.
Business Case Success
CIOs must make sure that the business case is clear and that there is a viable return on investment. Compliance and budgets should be an enabler of technology adoption, which can be achieved through centralized automation and orchestration tools for effective risk management.
The complexity and scale of challenges in managing cloud-enabled enterprise will continue to evolve. We’ve highlighted the key questions and factors every CIO needs to know to embrace fragmentation.
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