Five strategic enterprise IT business drivers CXOs are now contemplating

These considerations could guide enterprise IT spend for the next 18 months.
24 April 2020

Enterprise tech priorities are shifting. Source: Shutterstock

The French poet and aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry wrote, “The time for action is now. It’s never too late to do something.” 

Today, that simple message is being bantered around executive leadership calls with urgency across all enterprises. CXOs are contemplating the best approach to lead their companies into the new normal: life and business after COVID-19.

In speaking and listening to CXO leaders, and taking into consideration experience learned from past challenges, five strategic enterprise IT business drivers have emerged that every CXO should contemplate in guiding their companies over the next 18 months. 

Ultimately, the business driver chosen will be based on the sustained economic impact anticipated to your organization. 

Change IT cost model

Companies challenged to get by with fewer resources will explore movement from a CapEx (capital expenditure) model to an OpEx (operational expenditure) model. 

From an enterprise IT perspective, this ranges from accelerating the movement of applications to the cloud, divesting completely from a hosted data center model, optimizing current cloud spend or migrating management of cloud-based applications to an outsourced provider. 

Often, the CapEx-to-OpEx change cannot be implemented with internal resources alone. A fresh perspective is needed to independently assess current processes and make the hard decisions that impact how enterprise IT operates.  

Increase agility

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” – Winston S. Churchill. 

Business leaders should explore ways to take advantage of the market opportunities that are present, even in this new normal. Explore answers to questions like:

  •     Can I bring products to market faster? 
  •     How do I become more digitally aware?
  •     Is my business reacting to change?
  •     My customers have changed. Has my company?

Making strategic decisions now that align your business to the new normal, the new purchasing model, or just positioning yourself for the growth that will follow, provides a strategic advantage that your competitors might not be ready to undertake. 

To achieve this, accelerate your digital awareness, evolve your development methodology, and be ready to secure the right partnerships. 

Embrace new technologies

The business landscape is littered with companies that did not embrace new technologies. Blockbuster, Minolta, Palm, and Sun Microsystems are examples of big-name companies that couldn’t, or chose not to, embrace new technologies. 

Embracing vs. maintaining status quo might be the difference between business growth and being included in the list of failed companies. 

The path to success is centered on your company’s ability to become “digitally aware.” Here are three technologies that should be at the top of your list:

Internet of Things: Conversations (or concerns) around IoT include scalability, interoperability, and security. The only real challenge to your organization is not embracing. The benefits now, and in the future of IoT, when coupled with artificial intelligence and predictive analytics, far outweigh a course of inaction.

Artificial Intelligence: It’s been stated that data is the new oil, and AI is the new electricity. Your company’s future is in the data you most likely already have. It’s up to you to unlock it.

Application Development Technologies: Application development has changed dramatically over the past few years with the advent of containerization, microservices, and serverless architectures. It’s no longer waterfall vs agile. It’s about application portability, divesting the application from the underlying architecture. 

These technologies will require tighter management and integration of your data, a challenge that will require strategic insight and planning. 

Reduce risk

To take creative liberty from Socrates, “I don’t know what I don’t know, but it scares me.” You have now moved from a centralized workforce to a distributed workforce, and this is highlighting previously unknown or unaccounted for risk. Considerations when exploring how to reduce risk include: 

  •     Examining your security and compliance posture 
  •     Ensuring your business continuity in the event of a disaster
  •     Exploring the potential talent gap or moving talent to more strategic roles

Your technical staff priorities have shifted. Working in a distributed model that brings cloud more into focus has shifted priorities. New challenges that aren’t focused on the strategic part of your business impede your IT staff or, potentially, are not a part of their current skill set. 

Partnering with companies that have expertise and specific competencies can enable your staff to return to focusing on strategic initiatives.

Improve customer experience

The unintended consequence of this new normal is an acceleration of the changing buying behavior. This demands that businesses differentiate around customer experience.

Adapting and improving the customer experience to attract, engage, and delight differentiates you from your competitor. Building your company’s sales and marketing flywheel drives business growth and delights customers. Improving the customer experience is the priority.

Become digitally aware. Exploring new technologies that exist within cloud providers, taking advantage of AI, and thinking like a customer are the keys. Done properly, you’ll differentiate your company and strategically position yourself for future growth.  

This article was contributed by Michael Elliott, senior director of product marketing at 2nd Watch.