I was recently asked about the top five IT obstacles that stifle business growth, and I want to help clear a path too often lined with fear, uncertainty and doubt. In the not-so-distant past, IT was all about the tools. Solutions were more straightforward, teams were less globally connected, and the ever-present data deluge was not changing our business landscape by the millisecond.
With this in mind, I have created a list of the five most common IT obstacles and will pinpoint the single tool you can implement to help alleviate these pain points.
IT Staff Lack Time to Learn New Technologies
This is not to slam our tech teams or leaders; this is just the byproduct of condensed customer schedules, tight purse strings and managing the MOOSE (maintenance and operations of the organization, systems and equipment). The demand on IT teams is high, and we don’t always have the opportunity or the resources to restructure operations for a new tool, as upgrading requires learning new APIs, UI/UX and deployment architectures.
Difficulty Supporting New Technologies Quickly
It is hard to keep pace with IT complexity and manage it properly. New services, applications and infrastructures are constantly being added and there are plenty of vendors out there that will get you locked into solving a single issue versus addressing your macro problems. While the benefits of upgrading are there, the difficulty lies in understanding the complexity of these systems and how to leverage them most effectively.
Lack of Support for Hybrid IT
Hybrid by definition adds complexity, and multi-cloud, on-prem and private/public clouds are only a few ways to make your hybrid dream a nightmare. No matter the combination, understanding different architectures and their components is a must. Additionally, we need to understand how we manage our own data as well as how our vendors are managing it.
We need to know our machines and architectures well enough to focus limited resources on what impacts the business most. IT will always be complex—there’s always something new, and the amount of information to process is insurmountable and exhausting. Adding context to IT data can help you identify the root cause of overly complex systems. The most difficult task will be to understand the technology well enough to know what to do next.
Inability to Understand Business Impact in Order to Prioritize Tasks
Prioritization is by far the most important aspect of IT. There is a lot of noise, lack of visibility, lack of context, and—the squeakiest wheels of them all—legacy tools. Prioritizing means routing the right people to the right problem to get it solved quickly and elevating IT service visibility, health and risk into the business function.
Let’s Get Digital
IT pros can start to tackle these challenges through prioritization and then automation, or AIOps—the principal of AIOps being to add context to data, using machine processes to enrich the data and bring it to a business level. Understand what is important to the organization and think about the outcomes important to IT. To do this, you can create a realization plan to tackle the low-hanging fruit and create achievable milestones and outcomes. For example, look for opportunities and create a crawl-walk-run phased approach driven by business priorities. Each organization has different needs and different timelines—and this process can be applied to customers, too.
Next, take into account how your team does work and focus on automation as a principle within how you do work. One of the biggest impediments to digital transformation is culture. Remove manual processes, capture tribal knowledge and figure out how to repeat this approach in a consistent way. Additionally, absorb feedback and learn from it. This will drive acceleration when done right, and we all know that better digital experiences boost enterprise value.
Finally, automation is useless if your data is flawed, and accuracy is a key fault for legacy configuration management database systems. Data must be accurate for effective machine-enabled automation. Leverage the tech you have to build an interconnected ecosystem that is fully integrated and automated—and that avoids tool sprawl. Have an open mind to consider new approaches and be brave enough to shed the legacy mindset. Additionally, take into consideration your partners and vendors, and how that team collaborates, to determine your strategy.
The Light at the End of the Tunnel
The path for today’s CIO can be unclear. But you can take bite- (or “byte-”) sized steps to put machines to work and leverage processes that deliver on AIOps. By understanding business outcomes, prioritizing automation as a principle and leveraging trustworthy internal and external relationships, you will have more time in the day for more important tasks. I measure outcomes based on customer experiences, and I ensure great customer experiences by running a great system. While your mileage may vary, moving forward is the most important part.