Looking forward or backward?

January 22, 2013 Nlyte Software

I read alot. I mean I am constantly reading to stay abreast of what is happening in the world. In fact I have a system that I have practiced for years; Log into the web first thing in the morning and then spend about 15 minutes clicking through stories that ARE UNRELATED to my business, and do so with an open mind, fresh and ready to absorb whatever I read. After that, and when my mind is a bit more structured, I spend another 15 minutes reading about things that ARE part of my business world. You’d be amazed by how much content you’ll consume, how much context you’ll understand, and surprisingly you’ll find that the lines between these two are not as black and white as you might think.

Well, the other morning during my online reading I ran across a piece over at Forbes.com that I have to share here. Bob Evans from Oracle wrote a piece formatted as a “Letter to the CIO“.  I have to say that this is one of the most down to earth and well constructed IT-centric articles I have read in a very long time. The summary of Bob’s story is that in 2013 CIOs need to decide if they are going to look forward or backward. Bob does a great job of identifying the balancing act between keeping the old infrastructures going using dated technology, or taking an aggressive forward looking approach that values innovation: new technology, new ideas, and new processes. Bob correctly states that practicing the former approach will likely prevent the ability to implement customer-facing growth opportunities.  Bingo!!!

In reality, we all know running IT is a process of priorities which firstly supports today’s business, but should do so with an eye on the future. Remember, the data center IT structure may be $100 Million dollar or more line item. The key point is successful CIOs understand that there is a strategic MIX “Magic Number” that is required to keep things running today, and yet position their world for greatness in the future.  Bob cites a reference to another “Top Ten Priorities” piece he wrote back in September identifying some of the most urgent priorities that CIOs should be raising for strategic planning purposes, and which he then cites again in the “Letter to the CIO” piece. In the first item on that list, he talks about the MIX itself. What portion of running the business versus innovation? Bob suggests that the old 80% / 20% rule is used by most CIOs today and THAT IS most likely crimpling their ability to innovate! He makes a suggestion to reward CIOs who can move the bar by 5% or more towards innovation. Like it or not, incentive and recognition drives behaviour. Big changes in behaviour rarely ‘just happens’, but instead positive reinforcements need to be used to result in the adoption of new tools, new processes, and new ways of thinking about the future (and all of the investments required to get there).

In another item on his list, Bob suggests that the IT structure is already becoming a hybrid (of inhouse data centers, co-los, modular and cloud). The days of just building bigger ‘status quo’ data centers are long gone and should NOT be rewarded nor tolerated. Replicating inefficiencies is just compounding the problem. CIOs need to dust off their business hats. The ability to optimized resources, really optimize ALL resources, top to bottom (application to physical)  is the key to innovative growth across it all. Nlyte has been enabling this type of forward-looking innovation for years! We invented the modern DCIM  category of products. We know it’s not just a matter of making what you have today work, but instead it’s about making it work better with a plan for your future that is defendable and supportable. Squeezing every drop of resources out of your investments, and getting past the react-mode which consumes so much of your organization’s time and money. We are enabling our customers to move the spend MIX toward innovation rather than the care and feeding of older approaches.

Think Forward. Think Strategic. Think Innovation. Think Optimization. Think Business. Think Nlyte.


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