Strategy: Innovation

Architecture for change

Chris Moyer, EMEA chief technologist with HP Enterprise Services, outlines ways of ensuring that today’s innovation doesn’t become tomorrow’s legacy.

 

Managing an information technology budget is often like managing a professional sports team. In the sports world, team owners look to managers to acquire the brightest talent and maintain a winning team while keeping a watchful eye on the bottom line. In the technology world it’s the same concept: chief executive officers (CEOs) look to chief information officers (CIOs) to acquire and maintain the latest technology to drive innovation with a set budget.

Whether on the football field or in the data centre, it can be challenging to do more with less. One winning solution for CIOs is to architect for change, enabling functionality to be quickly and easily added as the business requires it. A services-minded technology strategy, from cloud computing to outsourcing, will help the business stay one step ahead of the competition. In developing a technology playbook, ensuring that today’s innovation does not become tomorrow’s legacy is critical to a successful outcome.

Step one: Redirect investment dollars from operations to innovation
A global survey of more than 500 business and technology executives commissioned by HP and conducted by Coleman Parkes Research in April 2010 reveals that one out of every two business executives feel their companies suffer from innovation gridlock. Innovation gridlock is a situation where IT organisations are blocked from driving new business innovation because the majority of their funding is consumed by operating the current environment. More than 50 per cent of business and technology executives feel this gridlock prevents their organisations from keeping up with the competition.

By adopting technologies like cloud computing, CIOs are able to lower costs and redirect funds to fuel innovation and help drive business growth. New utility-like services can speed time to market for new offerings, improve efficiency and free up resources while lowering the risks associated with the adoption and management of cloud computing initiatives. These types of offerings help technology departments get certain applications in hours or days, compared to the weeks or months it takes for current manual processes to deploy applications.  

Other solutions take into account the full lifecycle of services by helping CIOs plan and design, automate and manage, and most importantly, assure that cloud services will meet the performance as well as cost objectives required to drive business outcomes. In cases, these projects can be ‘self-funding’, meaning that CIOs are not asking CEOs for more money—rather, working with what is already in place.

Step two: Obtain essential knowledge and know-how to make the most of technology solutions
Excellence in business is dependent upon excellence across an organisation’s technology environment. That, in turn, demands expert staff and an efficient technology infrastructure that is highly available, consistently reliable, readily scalable and totally secure. Enterprise infrastructures are inherently complex and rely heavily upon skilled staff. However, many technology departments do not have all the in-house expertise to prevent and rapidly resolve issues associated with these complexities.

Outsourcing services can help CIOs simplify and streamline their organisation’s infrastructure environment to achieve business goals while reducing costs, as well as maintaining a competitive edge. Outsourcing services should work to support businesses, helping clients drive measurable value from technology investments. This can dramatically reduce the time, cost, complexity, disruption and risks associated with creating and managing dynamic data centres as well as updating existing applications.

Step three: Transform the approach to facilities and IT resourcing to reduce ongoing energy and operations outlays  
Organisations need ever increasing computing capabilities to stay competitive, yet many data centres are reaching their capacity limits. As the workload requirements for data centres increase, so the need for power and cooling increases, too. At the same time, technology executives are tasked with reducing overall energy costs as well as lowering carbon footprint.

Engaging in a services approach can help overcome these challenges. Services organisations are able to devise and implement a sustainable energy efficiency strategy to:

  • Eliminate over-provisioning of power and cooling resources
  • Improve power usage effectiveness
  • Analyse the impact of prospective changes in layout, equipment or cooling capacity
  • Identify the return on investment of moving to industry benchmark best practices
  • Place workloads into optimised environments, inside or outside the organisation.

Whether it’s a sports team seeking out the next great sports star, or an enterprise business developing a data centre that is architected for change, the best move is often to utilise partners and experts that can ensure success. A services-minded strategy, along with the right funding options, can provide a winning outcome for even the most challenged CIO.

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