As technology becomes a competitive advantage or disadvantage for companies trying to grow more successful, grow more efficient, and attract the best talent, CEOs are seeing tech more and more as a differentiator, and therefor seeing tech as more and more valuable. This has put pressure on CIOs and CTOs to make sure that the technology their companies install are up to par and working correctly.
The Enterprisers Project conducted a lengthy interview with Mobiquity CTO Ty Rollin recently that culminated in a two-part article outlining some of the key complexities and pressures that CIOs and CTOs are facing today. Rollin spoke at length about trends that technology decision makers need to be paying attention to. Some of the key takeaways from the interview include:
Rollin asserts that the consumerization of tools and apps had led to a workforce that often has a better experience working at home than at work. Technology decision makers should ask themselves why employees should come to work, whether home internet is better or causes less problems, whether the company has sufficient tools for employee needs, whether employees can work where they want, and so on. The new workforce is one of empowered employees, and it is up to the tech decision maker to address these questions in order to succeed. He suggests providing tech tips on company tools, apps that work anyplace at anytime, and integrate with consumer productivity apps. Finally, a single sign-on for users will mitigate friction in using company apps. While security and data are important, he urges flexibility.
Technological change is accelerating as rapidly as security breaches, Rollin says, due in large part to the “API economy, where standards and services have leveled the playing field of incumbents and new entrants.” He suggests taking a new approach to vendor relationships. Switching to a one year or month-to-month, utility-based contract will offer more flexibility to change services if needed. Data retention in services is a must, as it enables data replay capabilities for future services. In addition, keep possible future services on hand by integrating alternative vendors in tandem with the principal vendor. Assume that any service is replaceable, and stream all user interaction and analytics raw data to your own repository to leverage tools to map this data to new services in the event of a switch. Finally, build technical debt into your budget now to avoid debt from maintenance and integration.
Moving into 2015, Rollin says that there are a new set of questions surrounding big data:
Not all of the answers are clear but they must be kept in mind. Rollin says that visibility into real-time data is a must, as well as de-duping.
Change Management, according to Rollin, is preventing the adoption of faster, better business processes, because the speed of technological change is beyond the control of IT departments or tech leaders. Not changing or actively testing your own systems will lead to getting hacked. Technological complexity is becoming so great that most IT employees can’t get around the problems, even as complexity continues to increase. Rollin says that IT’s approach to change management must evolve by embracing a culture of change, adding continuous delivery, and evaluating standard operating procedures.
Automation has freed every piece of infrastructure according to Rollin. Software innovation has a lower barrier to testing, adjusting, and iteration than hardware. As networking gear ages, vectors for attacks increase, while data center management teams have to cover the too much ground. These factors should force enterprises to look at automated infrastructure. Many data center tools make this easier with new networking approaches such as software defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV). By getting infrastructure into automated scripts it can be deployed anywhere. Train staff in automation tooling and start eliminating data centers and other physical systems, because new software means less need for physical hardware in the enterprise.