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How can CIOs drive digital transformation?

October 26, 2015

Genius Wong   

Genius Wong, Executive Vice President – Core and Next-Gen Connectivity Services, and Chief Technology Officer

By placing the use of technology at the heart of the business, the role of the CIO is transformed from that of a business enabler to a driver of digital transformation – helping the enterprise offer new, cutting-edge services to customers as well as refreshing and optimising existing business models.

Digital transformation, as far as many enterprises are concerned, is already underway. Enterprises are embracing the challenges and opportunities posed by the deployment of private, public and hybrid cloud, supporting a mobile workforce, and the use of social networks for internal and external communications. Consequently they are beginning to reap rewards in efficiency gains, employee satisfaction and business agility.

Cloud, the force increasingly at the heart of digital transformation, has emerged in a far from linear fashion, however. Whilst IT teams have been moving existing workloads to the cloud, teams across the business have been spinning up AWS or buying in SaaS applications with little or no input from the central IT function. Increasingly this means that CIOs are forced to handle a cloud that is contained in a series of opaque siloes – a complex and sometimes uncontrollable environment for CIOs to control.

There are, however, a number of ways in which CIOs can eliminate silos, take control and ensure cloud remains a driver of digital transformation not a drag on it:

  • Step one is to understand the nature of the beast – do you know the full extent of cloud usage across your business? A full, deep audit of the cloud connections across the business will uncover previously unidentified SaaS usage, outdated on-premise architectures and public cloud instances spun up and long forgotten. It’s only armed with this knowledge that you can begin to plan how you control and unify it
  • The attraction of private cloud is its simple instant on/instant off nature. The problem with that is that anyone across the business can spin up their own cloud with just their credit card and just as easily forget they did it, creating a constant resource drain serving no real purpose and another forgotten silo in your cloud architecture. Audit regularly and thoroughly to ensure rogue clouds don’t rob your new found awareness
  • Use the data. You can now see you entire cloud set up, so monitor the data it creates to understand your business’s usage patterns, wastage, and where you can deliver a better service to the business. Your cloud data can begin to propel your data transformation
  • Focus on the user. Combine your understanding of the business with the data you have to direct the construction of a cloud infrastructure that drives the business and enables transformation, not one that leaves the IT department playing catch up on issues surrounding security.

All of this may be tall ask when coupled with the day-to-day demands on a CIO’s time, but partners can make the task less daunting. Tata Communications, for instance, has released IZO Private Cloud, a platform that allows organisations to connect all of their clouds to a single dashboard, giving one simple overview of their organisation’s cloud estate through a single pane of glass. IZO Private Cloud eliminates the task of monitoring multiple clouds and gives you instant, actionable insight for your entire cloud estate, letting you get on with the business of transformation.

More about how cloud computing is transforming business. And, as ever, please leave your comments below.