For decades, businesses have followed the charter of relentlessly cutting down their IT costs. As a result, IT leaders constantly find themselves on a never-ending mission to find savings in their legacy infrastructure. In an era when the competitive advantages of technology have never been greater, the relentless focus on lowering the costs of maintaining legacy systems is actually slowing IT down. Without jettisoning systems and processes that are no longer (or soon won’t be) fit for purpose, companies are undermining their ability to invest the budget, time, resources, and energy in the future. While the legacy IT industry of servers, databases, and cables is still important, it has essentially become a utility, taking a backseat to the need for an agile, flexible, and quickly scalable technological foundation to drive business.
Today, the core differentiator for a successful business rests on the readiness of its IT infrastructure and the knowledge that inflexible, sluggish, and inefficient infrastructure poses a bigger competitive threat than any disruptive market force today. The simple fact is that a lower cost, but completely irrelevant backbone will condemn you to failure in whatever market you operate in. Consider these 10 questions:
- What if cost-cutting disappeared as a top priority for businesses?
- What if IT prioritized cybersecurity, innovation, time-to-market, and customer experience over cost-cutting?
- What if IT’s performance was measured on sealing the customer relationship, discovering new business value, and enabling business agility and innovation?
- What if infrastructure and operations professionals became more application-oriented in the future?
- What if IT was the new champion in creating innovative products and services built purely on data?
- What if artificial intelligence (AI) fundamentally changed the infrastructure procurement and consumption model for IT?
- What if automation initiatives were focused on driving end-user experiences over massive cost savings?
- What if IT could divest self-owned assets to become an asset-light business model with the goal to reshape the core business?
- What if IT was more focused on creating new jobs while enhancing existing ones, instead of just automating them?
- What if there was a single transformation strategy that cut across business, IT, and security to become the digital enterprise in a true sense?
You can read our attempt to address the 10 questions above in our recent report, The Future of IT Infrastructure.
The time has come for IT to discard its traditional obsession with cost-cutting. Today’s IT realm involves a myriad of platforms, systems, processes, applications, and of course, people. As the pace of change accelerates, the need to change IT infrastructure will amplify and this could be overwhelming for businesses that are not well prepared. Enterprises that view IT as a costly overhead instead of as a competitive capability will struggle to succeed in the new machine age. Changing this mindset within IT, and then attempting to sell the idea to the rest of the company, will be both a challenge and an opportunity for CIOs. Business and technology leaders that seize this moment of change will have a front-row seat for the shift in IT-value that will continue far into the future.