How Technology Can Unlock Business Change and Drive Strategic Priorities

CIO event blog

 

After a period of rapid change, 2022 is proving to be a challenging year. Richard Beeston, our Strategy and Solutions Director, explains why.

“Saviour” solutions implemented quickly and without the usual due diligence are adding to the need for digital transformation that organisations were facing pre-pandemic, and some new priorities have been catapulted to the top of the boardroom agenda as a result of significant workplace change. To what extent can technology help to deliver these new priorities, solve current problems and be a business enabler?

Hot on the heels of our annual market survey, in this blog I will discuss:

  • Technology and market trends – state of the nation (including sustainability, employee experience, digital transformation)
  • What are the key obstacles in implementing and updating new technologies in UK organisations and how to overcome them?

2022 has become another year where cyber-attacks are increasing to new levels. The war in Ukraine is not only being fought in the physical world but also the virtual world. At a recent Microsoft event they discussed how Microsoft has helped the Ukrainian government move to the cloud in an unprecedented time frame and how they have detected and responded to cyber-attacks that often preceded a physical attack on a city or region. While at a different level, companies and public sector organisations are experiencing an increase in their threat risk and number of attacks.

At a macro level, government bodies such as The National Cyber Security Centre are publishing useful information on the risks out there and what organisations can do to mitigate these. Within businesses and other organisations, technology teams are implementing new processes, procedures and technologies to combat the ongoing threats. However, it is clear that not all organisations can support this sort of technical workload in-house, and managed security services from technology providers are becoming ever more essential for the protection of data, reputation and ultimately revenue.

Managed service providers often have the skills and talent needed to address the requirements of a 24/7 security service as well as fill other skills gaps. Indeed, the technology industry has experienced a wholesale change in skills and people over the last two years. With rising costs of living, a buoyant job market and myriad of available roles, organisations have struggled to retain and engage talent. Companies must and are looking at different ways to work and I, like many others believe that hybrid working is now here to stay and must be embraced by modern employers. As such, organisations must address employee wellbeing and the need to ensure their staff can work seamlessly and securely from multiple locations, and while this has been done during the pandemic it’s not always been done in the best way and this is what organisations now need to address.

There are some central questions that need definitive answers: what is the best way to enable hybrid working? What is the strategy to support this? What are the outcomes for the organisation?  How does the organisation work with colleagues to ensure they have the right tools to work, wherever they need to work? Obviously, the hybrid working model is more than an IT problem, hence why the strategy is so important. Clear guidelines on when and where people can work need to be defined for risk management, data security, health and safety and to comply with business and industry regulations. The bigger picture, is to ensure the business can thrive and grow while employees work in these new ways.

Purely on the technical side there are several things happening that affect the majority or organisations…

The first of these is the switch-off of analogue telephony services. Our recent market survey indicated that many decision makers still don’t fully understand the repercussions of this to their business and are unaware what may and may not stop working. It is imperative to understand these changes and work with communication providers like Daisy to ensure services are not disrupted. The switch-off affects more than just phone systems!

Secondly, organisations have embraced the hybrid cloud model and are now really starting to look at how they realize the benefits of hybrid. Many organisations are working with their technology providers to define a hybrid strategy, assess where workloads are today and consult on the best location for these in the future. The important factor being engagement at the right level of the business – cloud is not an IT infrastructure decision, it needs to be a business decision, implemented to deliver against strategic objectives. This will determine the plan to work against that is supported by the realisation of business outcomes such as reduction in hardware on site, reduction in capital expenditure, reduction in maintenance contracts and support cases, increase in productivity, increase in scalability and ability to demonstrate compliant and secure IT systems.

Moving to a hybrid model for workloads, communications and deploying more ‘as a service’ technology can have a real impact on an organisation’s consumption of resources. For example, Daisy has recently helped a customer halve the electricity consumption in their data centre by moving to a hybrid model supported by HPE GreenLake.

Over the last few iterations of our customer survey the data shows us that boardrooms are much more aware of environmental and social governance and what they need to be thinking about. Some of the topics include the way their supply chains work, where they source goods from and of course their impact on carbon emissions and the consumption of electricity. From a technology standpoint, moving to ‘as a service’ models where businesses are able to lower the amount of technology they need in their data centres is proving to be a very attractive means of reducing their electricity consumption and while still early days, this topic is fast becoming a key consideration in how technology leaders are thinking about their forward planning and refresh cycles.

I have already mentioned access to the right skills as an issue CIO’s are facing. Another major pain point within the tech sector is the global supply chain. While international shipping ports are reopening, many tech manufacturers are still experiencing production issues as their suppliers have changed their business focus and increased shipping charges as they are still bolstering supply with air freight rather than sea or land. These factors contribute to increases in both cost and waiting time for kit which in turn jeopardises the success and timely delivery of the transformation projects businesses are planning to execute. As a service provider it is our job to best advise customers on alternate technology, models and ways of working. This may include the introduction of different manufacturers into a customer’s environment, a move away from on premises equipment and an increase in SaaS, cloud and managed service product sets that can be delivered in the right timeline for the customer.

Another area we have seen customers ask for help with is in articulating the value of IT projects back to other business decision makers. As we have seen, these projects are moving out of the realm of the IT department and into lines of business. This has resulted in a new requirement for providers to align CIO objectives with technology solutions via the creation of effective and meaningful business cases that present the value and return on investment of transformational projects.

The pace of technological change means that internal teams involved in new projects are inexperienced in creating complex business cases and need technology partners to help them pull these together in order to justify resources and to assist with forward planning, achieving compliance and the measurement of KPIs against business metrics. Daisy has helped a number of our customers create these and subsequently track the success and assess the value to the business, once implemented.

About Richard Beeston

Richard BeestonRichard has worked at Daisy for more than eight years and is now responsible for setting Daisy’s technical direction across our diverse portfolio, having held various leadership positions prior to that. Richard is passionate about technology and has spent his career working across most areas of the technology spectrum, applying his knowledge and skills to solve problems for organisations across all vertical sectors. As an engineer in the past, Richard relished using technology to overcome operational and strategic customer challenges and he still enjoys doing this today

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