The 'Change Information Officer'
The CIO is up against it. Cloud, hyper-converged, as-a-service, private this and public that... gone are the days of weighing up two big vendors and squeezing the best deal for next few years. IT, and the CIO along with it, have transitioned from cost center to business enabler, and with that comes a raft of responsibilities and concerns as covered by this article "Top 10 CIO Concerns for 2016" by Forbes.
The list below summarizes the top 10 in order:
1. Technology Alignment with the Business
2. Security & Privacy
3. Speed of IT Delivery and Time to Market
5. Business Value & Efficiency
6. IT Value Proposition to the Business
7. Agility & Flexibility
8. IT Cost Reductions & Controls
9. Business Agility & Flexibility
10. Business Cost Reductions & Controls
As the Forbes article contributor is quick to point out “there’s nothing new here”, and I agree, there’s nothing earth shattering in this list because its good old fashioned IT business common sense. Who doesn’t want alignment, innovation, efficiency, etc. and have it all at price that works. But perhaps the most important question of all is how do you get all the above without sacrificing one for the other? Business agility at the cost of IT value, cost reduction that sacrifices innovation, flexibility that opens up security!
Why is the remote office the place to start?
With company remote office / branch office (ROBO) sites housing over 50% of a company’s staff, working with 50% of the business data, and receiving 50% of the IT budget annually, there’s a pretty big target to aim for to deliver results, which in reality, has never been a CIO’s priority. A ROBO that flags up a couple of times a year with WAN connectivity issues and a lost toner replacement order doesn’t get the same focus as a shift to the cloud or replacing the server vendor, but it should. Again, 50% of users work there, 50% of the data is located there, and 50% of the budget is spent there.
If you take all the above and put all those ROBO sites together and start to do the math on;
- How much site refreshes cost to plan and deploy in logistics and man hours
- How disjointed sites are because the local IT guru is using store bought kit
- The scattered security practices and the dangers that poses
- Time and effort needed to plan each site when a service or app changes
- Justifying additional resources where cost doesn’t equal perceived benefit
Not only is it surface monetary costs, it’s the lost time and effort that IT could be spending bringing about real change and innovation to the business. The ROBO is long due an overhaul into the 21st Century and Riverbed has the solution.
Answering the CIO with SteelFusion
So how does SteelFusion resolve the CIO’s top 10 concerns at the ROBO? It really comes down to four distinct areas: alignment, agility, security, and cost. If you can find and deliver a single technology that aligns with the business requirements, delivers the agility to respond to the business demands, secures data against all types of loss, and increases ROI and TCO at the same time, you’re well on the way to lowering that 50% across the board.
Business alignment and agility
Lines of business want IT that responds to their needs, to adapt and change to market forces. Be it a new technology, a blast from the past or an update to existing models, IT needs to be aligned to these requests and demands, and maybe most importantly, respond efficiently to them.
SteelFusion offers a stateless branch infrastructure which can be molded to deliver applications quickly and easily from a centralized point. By having every ROBO report into the data center (DC) and one pane of glass to manage them all through, new updates, new applications, and changes to the those sites can happen from one desk on one infrastructure. Requests from the business are now a clearly defined process on a standardized flexible infrastructure.
Theft and disaster. The two biggest headaches every CIO hopes to never have in their tenure, because data is quite literally the corner stone of the business. Without customer records, purchase orders, inventory lists, email addresses etc. the business grinds to a halt, and if you lose that data and can never restore it, it never gets started again.
With built in encryption for over the wire data transfer and TOP SECRET level encryption with the data at rest on site, SteelFusion gives full end-to-end data security natively in the box. A one-time configuration of the security settings and every block and bit regardless of application or use is secured at all times.
And if disaster strikes at the ROBO, the autonomous data replication technology used by SteelFusion means the source is secure in the DC ready to be used in minutes. Add to that high availability hardware in the ROBO, high availability in the DC, and high availability across primary and secondary DC’s, all natively synced with SteelFusion, and you’d struggle to lose data!
Always a tricky one to define as it means different things to different people; upfront, long term, return on investment, capital expenditure… so let’s draw focus on what it costs to do nothing. If the ROBO sites are left alone and the same old, same old calls, problems, and headaches keep on coming in almost like clockwork, what’s the cost in terms of resources, time, effort, expense, and process? Do they get any easier? No, they get worse. As the business demands grow, the need for change increases, and the time, effort, and cost required to apply that change grows as well, its’ a vicious circle.
SteelFusion breaks that cycle by totally changing the landscape of ROBO IT. By removing the silos of storage, compute, and backup and moving them back to the data center where they belong, IT administrators can plan and respond where the business decisions are being made, not fire fighting remote hardware and failed backups or finding out which support contract they need this time. Time, effort and cost are driven down by lower hardware footprints, centralized processes, and ease of management across the entire IT stack.
The “Change Information Officer”
Using the same methods, technology, and process in a slightly faster and bigger version of hardware changes nothing. Silos of storage are still difficult to plan and cost for, a new batch of servers still have the same scalable issues, and the less said about backups the better.
With 50% of a business’s staff, data, and IT budget out at the ROBO sites, a change here is just as big as at the DC but its distributed nature makes it more daunting. SteelFusion delivers the necessary change that so many remote offices are in need of and not just in terms of technology, but user experience and productivity.
Agile, secure, and an ROI that sees saving year on year, SteelFusion and Zero Branch IT really are the future of business IT.