How Infrastructure and Operations Can Enable Digital Change

Infrastructure and operations leaders can lead the way in digital transformation by restructuring their organization and outputs to align with CIO priorities.

Infrastructure and operations (I&O) organizations in the digital era are on the cusp of dramatic change. From the death of the data center to the artificial intelligence (AI) revolution, every new wave of digital has a profound impact on the way I&O operates. And as I&O rapidly evolves from a support function to a strategic one, IT teams are no longer seen as service providers, but instead as enablers of business transformation. 

I&O leaders must refocus their priorities to meet the changing expectations of IT leadership to avoid losing resources and relevance within the organization

“To stay relevant in today’s enterprise, I&O needs to become more agile and customer-centric,” says Chirag Dekate, Senior Director Analyst, Gartner. “As digital adoption grows, top-performing I&O organizations are rethinking their structures, metrics and skill sets to align more closely with business stakeholders.”

To improve efficiency, increase productivity and enable digital business transformation, I&O leaders must adapt their organizations around changing CIO priorities. Dekate outlines three ways to do so.

Embrace new technologies and promote agility

In the Gartner 2019 CIO Survey, IT leaders reported digital initiatives, revenue growth and operational excellence among their top priorities. Traditional I&O areas of concern, such as modernization of legacy systems and ERP, weighed in much lower on the list. 

I&O leaders must refocus their priorities to meet the changing expectations of IT leadership to avoid losing resources and relevance within the organization. Adopting new technologies and processes that nurture digital business can demonstrate I&O’s commitment to transformation efforts. This includes technologies such as cloud, AI and automation, Internet of Things (IoT) and edge computing.

I&O leaders can also ensure that their teams are prepared to deliver on digital initiatives by accelerating agility. Simplify processes and embrace intelligent automation for low-value, repetitive tasks to free up time for more strategic efforts.

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Speed up to the pace of business

CIOs report that IT is a core enabler of change in 94% of organizations that are revising their business models. In today’s era of digital transformation, this means that IT teams have the opportunity to directly impact their organization’s bottom line. However, change happens quickly, and I&O needs to speed up operations to be effective in supporting digital transformation. 

I&O leaders must reshape their organizations to deliver solutions at the rate and frequency that business requires them, rather than when I&O can deliver them. Often, this will mean a more product-centric operating model. Think beyond traditional silos like storage, networking or cloud, and instead deploy resources based on specific use cases. Restructure your I&O team to prioritize tasks that have a noticeable business impact and support CIO initiatives. 

Transform people for digital productivity

Delivering successful digital initiatives requires new skills. As I&O organizations embrace digital transformation, reskilling teams becomes necessary. Whether hiring new talent or retraining and restructuring existing teams, focusing on people will enable I&O to cultivate digital productivity.

New key performance indicators (KPIs) that focus on customer and enterprise value will also help I&O support digital initiatives. KPIs that encourage outcome-oriented execution will help ensure that activities align with the expectations of the CIO and other business stakeholders.

Gartner clients who are IT leaders can read more in the report The Business Implications of the 2019 CIO Survey for I&O Leaders by Chirag Dekate and Sanjit Ganguli.

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