Your IT clients wage an important battle every day. They are expected to be at the forefront of innovation, just like AV integrators — influencing and compelling an organization to move forward technologically while also keeping the lights on. But innovation and growth responsibilities are inherently competitive with run operations and, unfortunately, run seems to win every time.
What percentage of your IT clients’ department time is spent innovating versus completing chore tasks? Many organizations spend as much as 90 percent or more of their time on run tasks. Even the best struggle to bring their run below 65 percent. We continue to lose ground as we increase our effort around supporting the run of IT systems.
Though your IT clients’ departments may be bottled down by the slog of day-to-day tasks, the reality is that IT departments need to be at the center of innovation. In fact, according to the Society for Information Management (SIM)’s 2017 report, which surveyed CIOs, other than the CEO, the CIO has the most complex, broad, and diverse set of responsibilities.
In many ways, your IT clients are on a never-ending journey… searching for validation, seeking respect, and longing to be relevant within organizations. They are on the path I like to refer to as “The Road to IT Relevance,” only maintaining relevance if they can stay abreast of and drive market trends.
Let’s examine five core factors complicating the job of your IT clients:
1. Technology Consumerization
The modern IT world is incredibly different than it was 20 years ago, or even five years ago! Today, the power of technology is in the hand of the consumer, thanks to the rise of smartphones, Wi-Fi access almost anywhere, mobile applications, and cloud-based solutions. The consumerization of IT has made the end-user more tech savvy and, consequently, they have greater demands of the technology they use and the expectations of their IT departments.
For instance, they may think building an enterprise ERP system is as simple as flipping the switch and moving to the cloud. Or they may hear IT say a rollout could take a year and wonder why it can’t be done in two months. These contradicting beliefs and expectations can erode IT’s value to the organization over time.
2. Digitization of the Enterprise
Companies like Amazon, Uber and Airbnb have demonstrated firsthand the power of transformation. They are innovating on a dime, keeping the customer front and center, and driving towards evolution daily. The new digital era has disrupted entire industries, almost overnight, and its creating awareness that things don’t need to be done as they always have been. Pressure is on today’s IT leaders to harness technology and talent to advance the organization’s digital ambitions. But the availability of talent to understand and manage technology is reducing, making it harder to find and retain the people needed to drive digital innovation in the enterprise.
3. Managing Modern IT
When I first started out in IT, businesses solely invested in on-premise equipment that would be stored securely in the data center. Over the years, however, we saw a natural shift to collocation and then hybrid environments and now the cloud. This complicated environment has created the modern IT world, one in which data, tools, software and hardware are distributed anywhere in the world.
One of the chief complications caused by this is that there is not a great way to manage this environment with a single pane of glass—or a single set of tools. Instead, each environment comes with its own need for management. Today’s IT employees grapple with how to manage this distributed IT environment that is no longer under lock and key, or under the four walls of the building.
4. Cost of Running IT is Rising
We all know that running IT is more complex than ever before, but it’s also more expensive. In addition, the expense of these comprehensive tools—coupled with the cost of implementation, integration and maintenance—will break the bank. The cost of building and supporting an “AlwaysOn” environment is increasing. In the past, an organization may have had a few mission critical applications requiring AlwaysOn support. Today, it seems like all applications and systems require 24/7/365 support. IT operations are no longer confined to a 9-to-5, M-F workweek, meaning the amount of manpower required to run IT is increasing.
5. Talent Deficit
It’s well understood that the talent deficit is alive and well — if anybody knows that, AV integrators do. In fact, the crisis is so prevalent that we are witnessing a dramatic increase in salaries (even having to pay premium salaries for mediocre talent), an extended talent search process, and greater challenge in retaining talent. And when we find top talent instead of enabling them to spend time setting the strategic vision, they become glorified firefighters—extinguishing fires all day. Your IT clients are drowning in a sea of alerts, alarms, events, complaints and requests for help, all of which drowns out the important tasks.