Andy Nallappan, VP & CIO, Global Information Technology, Avago Technologies
The industry is witnessing many trends, with the cloud being the most significant. Yet, these trends cannot be termed as entirely new, as they have been in existence for a while. The present scenario has a preference for pay-per-use models, as compared to software in traditional model. Other trends include Google Mails, Microsoft Bizspark, AWS and CRM. These trends, more than technology, are towards fixing a vital issue; the fixed cost. In circumstances, where changes in business conditions fail to alter the cost, there is no price-flexibility, this is a biggest challenge in the current IT sector. The inflexibility with respect to cost has forced known IT capabilities such as HR Applications, Infrastructure and Collaboration to get software out of the door. There is the prominent requirement for a flexible scenario with low costs and ability to quickly grow and shrink. There are few other notable trends like social computing, analytics, big data and mobile. The cloud stands out with increased applicability in different sectors. I would say that the most recent trend, more than cloud, is all about how quickly you upgrade to cloud and adapt the technology and how much risk you take. We have our e-mails and document management upgraded to cloud, and we will soon upgrade CRM as well.
The Cloud has to be Properly Integrated and Flexible
The one concern I find regarding several cloud vendors is the inability to provide true and flexible cloud. The industry calls for vendors, able to provide true pay-per-use models, instead of those who merely give assurance. In terms of flexibility, the duration of the tender is an issue. Today, many cloud vendors asks for three year tenure with the client. It is better than the traditional models, which demanded life-time collaboration. Presently, there are no life-time tenders, yet three years remain a pretty long duration, especially considering the preference for constant upgrade. From a moral perspective, to come up with a new and innovative way, vendors have to make us commit to the engagement but not to the numbers.
In terms of functionality, there should be better integration between cloud vendors. There are several tools available, yet, it is a time-consuming act to integrate them. In addition, there should be consortiums of sorts between vendors so that out-of-the-box integrations are possible that enable less maintenance costs.
The Challenges Encountered As a CIO
The foremost challenge is to establish a balance between customers and your superiors. CIOs are constantly asked to bring down the costs by their superiors whereas customers demand enhanced capacity, increased bandwidth, better resolutions and devices. It is a daunting affair to come up with methods to meet these requirements simultaneously. Another challenge is with respect to speedy execution of projects. Projects that took years are a thing of the past; the current demand is for shorter projects of six months, three months or even weeks. Patience is growing thin among the people involved in the industry; however, the industry as a whole is not yet ready to meet with this requirement. For instance, in case of network providers, it is a matter of few months to even enhance the bandwidth. Similarly, considering ERP Providers, it takes significant time to put ERPs into production. There is a lack of methodology that can effectively address these demands and match the high expectations. Therefore, it is another greatest challenge to come up such an innovative methodology.
Another critical concern is regarding security issues, with the cloud gaining importance and hackers getting increasingly sophisticated, security is a constant challenge. Nowadays, even remote parts of the world have access to computers. Therefore, one has to be always vigilant and prepared to address security concerns.
In this fast-paced world, it turns out to be another bigger challenge to keep pace with the ever-changing technological trends. Failure to do so would make you outdated, therefore, there should be people to continuously monitor, and adapt to latest technology.
Going deep into the cloud, there are many not willing to upgrade into cloud, citing several reasons. To add to it, the way many adapt to the cloud fails to be in sync with the expectations of several CEOs or CFOs and higher officials. Also, many times, lack of support comes in the way of CIOs intention to embrace the cloud. Often, lack of support is the main reason why many industries still lag behind in terms of the cloud.
Innovation is not Merely Building Solutions
Innovation in IT is of vital importance, as the exclusive way to meet with the requirements of your superiors and customers. Coming to the strategies, innovation within the same thing is not sustainable, you need to take the workforce out of their comfort zone, empower them and liberate them to focus on innovation. There are a lot of strategies out there; you need to search for it with the right approach and mindset.
The innovation I believe is not just building on any solutions, but to search for the right solutions, embrace it and adapt it. In other words, instead of merely building solutions, innovative approach should be focusing on enabling the right functions to utilize those innovations. Coming to training the work force, they decide when to receive the training and the type of training. So, innovation for me is all about making the workforce increasingly self-reliant, self-sufficient and better communicators. We address, through innovation, not only the technological aspects, but also the whole IT support area, adoption area and the cloud.