CIOs Face High-Risk Challenges

 

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By Servaas Venter

With one third of CIOs deciding that the current skills and expertise in their business are insufficient to facilitate their plans for IT transformation, this is an exciting but risky time to be a CIO.

It seems that CIOs are addressing this challenge by building new teams to address business disruption and opportunity head on. As times change, customers’ expectations have increased which means almost every new application is being written for mobile devices, smart phones and tablets. Simply being able to interact on a website just doesn’t cut it today.

“The explosion of data continues persistently and it’s created a tipping point where enterprise ready has needed to make way for consumer ready. From making strong, agile systems that would address the needs of thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of users, a modern mobile application has to conquer the demands of millions. This alone is simply game changing.” said Venter.

In this time, CIOs need a strategy to enable their apps for mobile devices. EMC is building a mobile environment that is safe, secure and available for its 60,000 employees globally, especially its road warriors in the field. They are looking at ways to reduce travel expenses related to internal meetings, freeing up resources that can be invested in a more mobile-enabled workforce.

CIOs also need to consider whether they have the software development skills for agile application development and rapid deployment. While yesterday’s agenda was about building data warehouses, these feel static and limited today. Now, leading-edge enterprises are building data lakes which can pool a lot more information about the business, in various data formats, that can be analysed in real time, usually based on Hadoop or HDFS technology.

“Data lakes yield better predictive insights than the rear-view mirror perspective of a data warehouse,” he says. He then explains that at EMC, “we’re using our own big data tools to analyse failure rates in real time, to predict and address potential problems before they occur. Predictive analyticsis one area of IT today that really interests a CIO’s ultimate boss, the CEO.”

Although most enterprises still need to run client/server platform applications, this needs to be done in a way that enables consumption-based ITaaS in the cloud/mobile world. The term ‘cloud’ can mean all sorts of things to all sorts of people, so planning for a cloud-enabled IT raises fundamental questions to answer: Which of these applications will live in your data centre’s private cloud? Which ones will live in a public cloud, off-premise?

Building a hybrid cloud at enterprise scale is an IT organisation’s next project. But few organisations can afford to wait two years for implementation. That’s why EMC introduced our Enterprise Hybrid Cloud solution that can help customers get their hybrid cloud up and running in 28 days or less.

Finally, yesterday’s approach to IT security was all about perimeter defence, putting heavy locks on doors to keep the bad guys out. In a cloud/mobile world, the perimeter is more porous, so the bad guys are sneaking in undetected, however, the forward-looking CIOs and CISOs are deploying advanced security techniques: security analytics that monitor network traffic for anomalies in the flow of information, enabling an enterprise to catch bad guys in the act.

 

“For CIOs who lead large organisations and have to manage the expectations of a business and its executive team, the change management challenge may be the greatest challenge of them all. There is no question that today’s IT platform is changing dramatically. The question for CIOs is, are you?”

EMC Southern Africa is a sponsor of the IDC South Africa CIO Summit 2015, which is taking place on 24 and 25 March at Maslow Hotel in Sandton.

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