Top 4 Challenges Facing IT Infrastructure Leaders

April 19, 2018

Contributor: Susan Moore

Infrastructure challenges could significantly impact your business and career if not addressed.

Change has always been a constant in IT, but has become more so with the rise of digital business. As an IT infrastructure leader, you face a fundamental choice: Remain a builder and manager of data center functions or become a trusted partner in the journey to digital business.

The former puts you at risk of obsolescence as the business learns to progress without the IT team; the latter leads to a collaborative and mutually beneficial existence based on shared goals, according to Mike Chuba, research vice president at Gartner.

“ IT infrastructure leaders often feel that they’re constantly in catch-up mode because it is difficult to quantify IT contributions”

“To prepare for this new reality and the challenges that come with it, you must act quickly to create enterprise infrastructure that's ultra-agile, scalable and responsive to change,” says Chuba.

In a poll of attendees at Gartner global IT infrastructure and operations events in 2017, four key challenges emerged.

Develop a private/public/hybrid cloud strategy

Strike the right balance in using cloud to help the business transform, differentiate and gain a competitive advantage. At the same time, care for critical legacy workloads. You need to do both, which is a difficult task.

“A cloud strategy that doesn’t continually evolve with these new service types will quickly become a legacy strategy,” Chuba says.

“ Legacy modernization decisions must be made now”

Build a proactive hybrid cloud strategy by creating a set of cloud decision frameworks and processes to evaluate opportunities based on business and workload needs. Advance your strategy by investing in skills, providing knowledge across the business, and managing and developing governance expertise.

Read more: 5 Questions to Answer When Building a Cloud Strategy

Find and retain IT talent

Finding and keeping good people is harder than ever, because the workforce has become more diverse, global, fragmented and remote. The nature of data center work is now more collaborative, cross-functional and digital. And the pace of change has accelerated, shortening the time horizon that you have to adjust and respond to business requirements.

Develop and retain staff by:

  • Offering rewarding work experiences
  • Fostering a continuous learning culture
  • Empowering employees to own their careers and become more versatile
  • Providing well defined career paths that offer a variety of challenging assignments

Read more: 5 Places You Didn’t Think to Look for Digital Talent

Modernize or retire legacy applications

Valuable (but aging) application portfolios and computing platforms, skills shortages and the ongoing retirement of baby boomers are a constant challenge —but it’s time for decisive action. Legacy modernization decisions must be made now.

“Weigh your modernization options based on the challenges of employee retention, business value of affected workloads, and the cost and effort of migration,” says Chuba.

Align IT infrastructure to business outcomes

IT infrastructure leaders often feel that they’re constantly in catch-up mode because it is difficult to quantify IT contributions with the efficiency and competitiveness of the business. And budgets typically don’t grow in line with business demands.

Link your data center successes to business successes by identifying the systems, services or applications that have the most direct impact on the company's mission and/or revenue. Become a better service provider by correctly understanding how business partners want and need your help.

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