Many CIOs are still in a fog when it comes to cloud computing, yet the digital enterprise is the future and the direction most are going. Gartner estimates that less than one-third of enterprises have a cloud strategy set in place, but as Gigabit LTE and 5G approach – and wireless takes the networking reigns – most enterprises may need to cut the cord for specific applications. CIOs simply can’t take full advantage of the cloud with old-fashioned networking technology.
Cloud technologies offer benefits from unlimited storage potential to overall cost savings. For example, Software-defined WANs (SD-WANs) allow enterprises to mix and match MPLS with Internet broadband, all from a single pane of glass, restructuring the way the routers work through a means of rules and policies by application type, rather than being hardware based. The benefits are so extreme and the need for it is here – so why are so many enterprises dragging their feet?
Much of the fear surrounding cloud computing is how to integrate it into an already set in place, legacy style network. There are precautions that businesses should take when beginning the journey to the digital side.
A New Business Model
One important move is to layout a framework or business model before moving to an optimized cloud style of computing, including application design, management, and governance. This framework should be based on a “big picture” model, designed by both the IT team and the strategic side of the organization, focusing on the new technology needed to support a digital business. Building a new business model will be the foundation to begin seizing new cloud opportunities, build bench strength, find and put in place the right digital IT team, and anticipate and adjust for new technology additions.
CIOs’ New Role
As business models shift toward digital, the role of the CIO is expected to change as well. CIOs may face new tasks, such as discovering and advancing on technology trends, adjusting the expectations of the business, and laying out new organization objectives – with growth of the business at the forefront. Today’s CIOs are finding themselves with responsibilities outside of the IT office walls and venturing into innovation and the transformation of the business, which also changes CIO success criteria.
The Impact of New Technologies
CIOs will be required to not just lead IT, but integrate new services and technology. New technologies, such as the Internet of Things (IoT), are problematic to implement because of security fears and the new skills required to exploit them. Gartner explains that in 2017, 25 percent of IT departments were required to bring in new skill sets within the team when implementing IoT.
A study conducted by Cradlepoint, found in the State of IoT 2018 Report, examines the future plans of IT teams when specifically implementing IoT technologies, and best practices to help improve the success rate of IoT adoption. The report highlighted that the two largest factors to consider when adopting new technologies are ROI and security. The report also established that it is crucial for IT leaders to have discussions with stakeholders and IT staff to set in place strategies and expectations.
Here are just a few ROI and security questions for CIOs to consider when making the decision to switch to a digital model:
- What is the business case for implementing this IoT initiative?
- Exactly what metrics and benchmarks must the system deliver in order to be considered a success?
- Can the network support the increased level of traffic and computing that will occur at the Network’s Edge when this IoT system is implemented?
- To what degree will IoT increase the network’s potential attack surface? How will the organization scale security efforts to match this growth?
- Which users, devices, applications, and data centers need a connection to the IoT system? How will that access be granted and managed?
- Does the IT team, with its projected resources, really have the ability to own tasks like micro-segmentation and policy orchestration in-house?
Getting it Right
IoT is only one element of a huge movement toward digital transformation, and businesses will need to strategically plan for change. Technology will develop – it always does – and it’s up to everyone around it to adjust. Methods used in the past will not be sufficient to keep up with and address the challenges of the future. As enterprises move toward digital, networking will move away from a “build your own” approach (IT leaders trying to build and manage a digital network themselves) toward a Network-as-a-Service approach.
More thought leadership about the potential of software-defined and cloud-based applications can be read in The Elastic Edge and the Network of the Future article.
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