What CIOs and IT leads need to stay on top of their game

CIO

According to IDC, Information and Communications Technology (ICT) spending in APAC is projected to “grow by over 4.9 per cent to reach US$924 billion in 2021 and is expected to reach US$1 trillion by 2024“.

As examined by Daniel Kum, Director, Data Center Infrastructure (DCI) and Product Management (PM), Lenovo, Asia Pacific, “Increased spending in ICT is a sign of Asia Pacific’s growing reliance and confidence in technology to be the decisive ingredient in an organisation’s success now and in the future.”

Aptly explained by Kum, “as companies become data-centred in their approach to business, smarter devices and infrastructure solutions that can meet tomorrow’s needs have to take centre stage.”

With all this in mind, staying ahead of the game involves constructing an infrastructure with a core competency in technology. This means three fundamental things: (1) leveraging and staying abreast of technology trends (e.g. 5G), (2) considering energy-efficient solutions and (3) investing in security.

Before delving into the specifics of the aforementioned points, it would be pertinent to establish an understanding of two front-of-mind challenges CIOs and IT leaders today.

Challenges Faced by CIOs and IT Leaders:

Enabling an agile, effective and protected remote workplace

While remote working is relatively commonplace across various enterprises today, this was not the case at the beginning of 2020. Early last year, CIOs faced a mammoth challenge as they had to lead an unprecedented organisation-wide shift to remote working.

This placed enormous pressure on CIOs and IT leaders around the region to initiate digital transformation in an accelerated time frame to enable a remote, agile workplace, effective and secure.

Also Read: Why steward leadership matters when startups dress to impress

According to Deloitte, “up to 47.8 million people in the ASEAN-6 nations (Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam) could shift to working remotely over a multi-year time horizon,” therefore building a successful and sustainable hybrid workplace is an ongoing challenge that CIOs and IT leaders across the region will face.

The increasingly tech-driven business landscape

The shift to remote working is only one of the many challenges CIOs and IT leaders were faced since the outbreak. The global pandemic completely transformed today’s business landscape into one that is highly tech-driven.

As analogised by Kum, “Data is the new currency, and IT decision-makers are the new bankers.”

He continues to explain that “as contactless operations, and remote work grows, every organisation regardless of the industry today is a tech-first company.

Creating smarter device and infrastructure solutions is the key to unlocking smarter technology for all.”

Peter Chambers, Managing Director, Sales, AMD Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ), supports the above, as “customers today are becoming increasingly reliant on digital platforms to carry out day-to-day activities, which is especially relevant in the APJ region which is developing exponentially.”

Chambers further points out that “creating a smarter infrastructure involves optimising current capabilities; investing in the right technology which would allow organisations to do more with what is available. For instance, with the high core-density of AMD’s 3rd Gen CPU based servers, e-commerce infrastructure can service more customers with the same number of servers.”

Technology, innovation and trends to leverage

CEOs and business leaders believe that technology and innovation are essential to compete in an increasingly tech-driven business landscape effectively. This mindset is relevant on a global scale.

According to a Deloitte Insights article published in April 2020, CEOs are looking for CIOs to step up as strategic business partners who will shepherd the organisation through ongoing cycles of accelerating transformation and disruption, indicating evidence of awareness amongst CEOs that technology and innovation is the way forward.

Also Read: 6 leadership lessons I learned after we raised our seed round

As discussed, CIOs and IT leaders are in a uniquely challenging position today in the face of a highly volatile business environment. However, the imperative remains: adapt and respond to evolving needs and trends through innovation.

To do this, it is vital to stay abreast of relevant technology trends to leverage these strategically. On that note, 5G, although relatively nascent, is another resource CIOs can consider leveraging.

5G’s significant revenue opportunities

In a report by STL Partners, supported by Huawei, the unique benefits of 5G could unlock benefits worth US$1.4 trillion in value across key industries in 2030, not just in the consumer market but in various other verticals as well.

With 5G, telcos would be able to provide and manage custom networks in a cloud-like way. With the ability to scale up and down, define parameters (e.g. latency), and add additional functionality (e.g. security features), 5G is expected to have a high penetration rate across multiple industries by 2030.

With the 5G capabilities stated above, leveraging 5G can potentially unlock significant new revenue opportunities in the enterprise space, enabling innovative use cases that are currently impossible to scale commercially with existing technologies.

For instance, in the retail space, 5G can include AR/VR experiences for customers and massive IoT for asset tracking and management.

Energy efficiency considerations

Energy efficiency is not a destination; it is a journey.

As data is being committed to the cloud exponentially, demand for power efficiency across devices and servers in data centres is expected to increase.

Data centres in leading enterprises are already beginning to see the need to reduce their footprint by seeking innovative solutions that would allow them to enjoy the greater performance while consuming less power for two key reasons.

From a processor standpoint, an energy-efficient processor can help reduce energy and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across a broad range of workloads and may require fewer servers.

Proactivity in this area will have significant long-term benefits. In addition to environmental benefits, when incorporated effectively, organisations would see a marked improvement on the organisation’s bottom line with a lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).

Protection is key

Data centres hold a large amount of sensitive, personal, and proprietary data and information. Infrastructure insecurity can leave businesses vulnerable to malicious cyber activity- this not only affects the company’s productivity levels in the short term but could also have significant long-term implications as customers may lose trust in the business.

Also Read: Emotional leadership in a post-COVID-19 business world

For these reasons, protection in data centres is critical and should be treated with due significance.

Unfortunately, most businesses fall victim to legacy systems. Defined as an IT infrastructure/system based on outdated technologies, this is one of the most significant challenges faced by IT leaders in today’s digital age.

Businesses should understand that protecting applications and data hosted in a data centre or the cloud depends on the server, storage, and networking infrastructure. Whilst I have stressed repeatedly that protection is crucial, there are differing levels of protection needs, which depends on the business’s activities.

To make suitable infrastructure investments, leaders should conduct a holistic assessment of their business activities and how much data is being stored, processed, and analysed within a given period.

While innovation, pioneering energy-efficient solutions and security feature upgrades are some of the key considerations for CIOs aiming to lead their businesses to success, all of these require significant investment.

Larger enterprises often have the funds to pivot their business model and activities in a timely manner, more so than smaller businesses with a tighter cash flow.

Businesses are allocating a considerable amount of funds towards “keeping the lights on” as they attempt to manoeuvre today’s extremely volatile and unpredictable business environment, leaving little resources left for innovation.

While this is understandable and may even be considered necessary in several cases, CIOs and IT leaders should continue to study and stay on top of technology trends to incorporate the relevant ones when feasible.

Editor’s note: e27 aims to foster thought leadership by publishing views from the community. Share your opinion by submitting an article, video, podcast, or infographic.

Join our e27 Telegram group, FB community, or like the e27 Facebook page

Image credit: jkstock

The post What CIOs and IT leads need to stay on top of their game appeared first on e27.

,
CIO

According to IDC, Information and Communications Technology (ICT) spending in APAC is projected to “grow by over 4.9 per cent to reach US$924 billion in 2021 and is expected to reach US$1 trillion by 2024“.

As examined by Daniel Kum, Director, Data Center Infrastructure (DCI) and Product Management (PM), Lenovo, Asia Pacific, “Increased spending in ICT is a sign of Asia Pacific’s growing reliance and confidence in technology to be the decisive ingredient in an organisation’s success now and in the future.”

Aptly explained by Kum, “as companies become data-centred in their approach to business, smarter devices and infrastructure solutions that can meet tomorrow’s needs have to take centre stage.”

With all this in mind, staying ahead of the game involves constructing an infrastructure with a core competency in technology. This means three fundamental things: (1) leveraging and staying abreast of technology trends (e.g. 5G), (2) considering energy-efficient solutions and (3) investing in security.

Before delving into the specifics of the aforementioned points, it would be pertinent to establish an understanding of two front-of-mind challenges CIOs and IT leaders today.

Challenges Faced by CIOs and IT Leaders:

Enabling an agile, effective and protected remote workplace

While remote working is relatively commonplace across various enterprises today, this was not the case at the beginning of 2020. Early last year, CIOs faced a mammoth challenge as they had to lead an unprecedented organisation-wide shift to remote working.

This placed enormous pressure on CIOs and IT leaders around the region to initiate digital transformation in an accelerated time frame to enable a remote, agile workplace, effective and secure.

Also Read: Why steward leadership matters when startups dress to impress

According to Deloitte, “up to 47.8 million people in the ASEAN-6 nations (Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam) could shift to working remotely over a multi-year time horizon,” therefore building a successful and sustainable hybrid workplace is an ongoing challenge that CIOs and IT leaders across the region will face.

The increasingly tech-driven business landscape

The shift to remote working is only one of the many challenges CIOs and IT leaders were faced since the outbreak. The global pandemic completely transformed today’s business landscape into one that is highly tech-driven.

As analogised by Kum, “Data is the new currency, and IT decision-makers are the new bankers.”

He continues to explain that “as contactless operations, and remote work grows, every organisation regardless of the industry today is a tech-first company.

Creating smarter device and infrastructure solutions is the key to unlocking smarter technology for all.”

Peter Chambers, Managing Director, Sales, AMD Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ), supports the above, as “customers today are becoming increasingly reliant on digital platforms to carry out day-to-day activities, which is especially relevant in the APJ region which is developing exponentially.”

Chambers further points out that “creating a smarter infrastructure involves optimising current capabilities; investing in the right technology which would allow organisations to do more with what is available. For instance, with the high core-density of AMD’s 3rd Gen CPU based servers, e-commerce infrastructure can service more customers with the same number of servers.”

Technology, innovation and trends to leverage

CEOs and business leaders believe that technology and innovation are essential to compete in an increasingly tech-driven business landscape effectively. This mindset is relevant on a global scale.

According to a Deloitte Insights article published in April 2020, CEOs are looking for CIOs to step up as strategic business partners who will shepherd the organisation through ongoing cycles of accelerating transformation and disruption, indicating evidence of awareness amongst CEOs that technology and innovation is the way forward.

Also Read: 6 leadership lessons I learned after we raised our seed round

As discussed, CIOs and IT leaders are in a uniquely challenging position today in the face of a highly volatile business environment. However, the imperative remains: adapt and respond to evolving needs and trends through innovation.

To do this, it is vital to stay abreast of relevant technology trends to leverage these strategically. On that note, 5G, although relatively nascent, is another resource CIOs can consider leveraging.

5G’s significant revenue opportunities

In a report by STL Partners, supported by Huawei, the unique benefits of 5G could unlock benefits worth US$1.4 trillion in value across key industries in 2030, not just in the consumer market but in various other verticals as well.

With 5G, telcos would be able to provide and manage custom networks in a cloud-like way. With the ability to scale up and down, define parameters (e.g. latency), and add additional functionality (e.g. security features), 5G is expected to have a high penetration rate across multiple industries by 2030.

With the 5G capabilities stated above, leveraging 5G can potentially unlock significant new revenue opportunities in the enterprise space, enabling innovative use cases that are currently impossible to scale commercially with existing technologies.

For instance, in the retail space, 5G can include AR/VR experiences for customers and massive IoT for asset tracking and management.

Energy efficiency considerations

Energy efficiency is not a destination; it is a journey.

As data is being committed to the cloud exponentially, demand for power efficiency across devices and servers in data centres is expected to increase.

Data centres in leading enterprises are already beginning to see the need to reduce their footprint by seeking innovative solutions that would allow them to enjoy the greater performance while consuming less power for two key reasons.

From a processor standpoint, an energy-efficient processor can help reduce energy and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across a broad range of workloads and may require fewer servers.

Proactivity in this area will have significant long-term benefits. In addition to environmental benefits, when incorporated effectively, organisations would see a marked improvement on the organisation’s bottom line with a lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).

Protection is key

Data centres hold a large amount of sensitive, personal, and proprietary data and information. Infrastructure insecurity can leave businesses vulnerable to malicious cyber activity- this not only affects the company’s productivity levels in the short term but could also have significant long-term implications as customers may lose trust in the business.

Also Read: Emotional leadership in a post-COVID-19 business world

For these reasons, protection in data centres is critical and should be treated with due significance.

Unfortunately, most businesses fall victim to legacy systems. Defined as an IT infrastructure/system based on outdated technologies, this is one of the most significant challenges faced by IT leaders in today’s digital age.

Businesses should understand that protecting applications and data hosted in a data centre or the cloud depends on the server, storage, and networking infrastructure. Whilst I have stressed repeatedly that protection is crucial, there are differing levels of protection needs, which depends on the business’s activities.

To make suitable infrastructure investments, leaders should conduct a holistic assessment of their business activities and how much data is being stored, processed, and analysed within a given period.

While innovation, pioneering energy-efficient solutions and security feature upgrades are some of the key considerations for CIOs aiming to lead their businesses to success, all of these require significant investment.

Larger enterprises often have the funds to pivot their business model and activities in a timely manner, more so than smaller businesses with a tighter cash flow.

Businesses are allocating a considerable amount of funds towards “keeping the lights on” as they attempt to manoeuvre today’s extremely volatile and unpredictable business environment, leaving little resources left for innovation.

While this is understandable and may even be considered necessary in several cases, CIOs and IT leaders should continue to study and stay on top of technology trends to incorporate the relevant ones when feasible.

Editor’s note: e27 aims to foster thought leadership by publishing views from the community. Share your opinion by submitting an article, video, podcast, or infographic.

Join our e27 Telegram group, FB community, or like the e27 Facebook page

Image credit: jkstock

The post What CIOs and IT leads need to stay on top of their game appeared first on e27.

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