What comes next? Preparing for the future of IT

How do you prepare for the future in a world where uncertainty is the new normal? Over the last nine months, this has become a serious question for all IT leaders. At the start of 2020, it seemed that IT transformation was the major priority. "In this hyperspeed, hyperscale, and hyperconnected phase of digital transformation, CIOs must rapidly transform their organisations to become the Future IT,” said Serge Findling, vice president of Research for IDC's IT Executive Programs (IEP). IDC’s annual 2020 predictions suggested that self-service IT for line-of-business, CIOs becoming more entrepreneurial and mainstream adoption of multi-cloud would be the big themes of the year.

Within months, the COVID-19 pandemic would overturn all these predictions. Instead, we’ve found IT rushing to support remote working, embrace new business models and maintain continuity through intensely challenging times. And now, with the pandemic far from over, CIOs are asking themselves ‘what next?’ Here the second episode of the new series of CIO podcasts, in association with Dell technologies, VMware and Intel delivers useful guidance.

Standing still is not an option. The ‘Disrupt or be disrupted’ mantra still applies, and businesses halting the transformation efforts do so at their own risk. “I think the easiest thing — but the worst thing — would be to freeze in this time of uncertainty and not move anything forward,” Equinix CIO Milind Wagle told CIO.com. “Stopping commitments would be the wrong thing for CIOs to do.” Forward-looking IT leaders see IT modernisation as a key component in their business’s recovery, helping the business not just to survive, but thrive.

But does the drive towards remote working push that modernisation in a new direction? Organisations that originally looked at supporting remote working in terms of simple business continuity are now looking to go further to empower their remote employees. This goes arm in arm with a ‘digital first’ mentality, that focuses in on both employee and customer experiences. Recent research from IDG for Dell Technologies, VMware and Intel shows that a growing number of CIOs have already changed their operations to bring new AI capabilities into their business, with 16% of the IT decision-makers surveyed having developed and/or launched a strategy for AI, Machine Learning and/or Deep Learning.

CIOs are also embracing hybrid working environments, using infrastructure based heavily on automation and virtualisation. IDGs research shows that 29% have increased automation to support scale out operations, facilitate recovery and accelerate cloud deployments, while the same percentage have implemented cloud-native initiatives. 27% have adopted a multi-cloud approach.

CIOs believe these hybrid approaches can blend technology investments with new processes and operational models. But how can they ensure that they have the right capabilities, consistent management and appropriate security? How do they deliver access to corporate applications across multiple devices in a way that protects corporate and customer data? How do they avoid the technological roadblocks that could hamper their initiatives? Could hybrid IT help organizations handle the physical and technical challenges of working through uncertain times?

In the podcast episode above, we look at the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on IT operations, and at the options facing CIOs and IT leaders. With a panel of leading technologists from Dell Technologies, VMware and Intel, we look at how the last few months have changed the role of IT and business, and at how to drive IT forwards, whatever the future holds.