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Tuesday, 19 January 2016 12:55

Innovate or die

Posted By  Bob Plumridge

IT departments need to become ever more relevant to business needs in 2016. If they don’t they face either being overlooked for third-part developers or worse bringing down the business says Bob Plumridge, EMEA CTO, Hitachi Data Systems.

Last year, organisations increasingly started to embrace new technologies and looked at data-driven projects in a bid to get ahead and drive business innovation. With technology decisions becoming ever more closely linked to the success of the wider business, IT departments are under pressure to deliver more with the same or lower budgets.

In the coming year, we’ll see the continued integration of business and technology priorities in the enterprise, and IT departments and business leaders need to come together to forge the best path.

Sink or swim: IT needs to become ever more relevant to the business

Demonstrating value for technology investments across the board will be key next year; everything from low-level hardware to consolidation projects to analytics will come under intense security. IT teams need to learn to speak the language of the business and vice versa. There are two types of CIO – one that will ultimately survive and one that won’t – the successful CIO of 2016 will be ‘business-savvy’ and able to show an organisation how technology can support business growth through improving loyalty, maintaining a customer base and developing market share, whilst at the same time balancing and justifying costs. This new breed of CIO will likely come from a business background with a strong understanding of the pressures involved in running a business, as opposed to focusing on providing tech services.

Innovate to thrive

In a recent study commissioned by HDS, we found that 46% of UK organisations let other businesses try things before they do. These business and IT leaders are unsure where to place their technology investments and are letting their natural sense of caution cause them to lose out on first mover advantage. Now is the time to take advantage of the improving UK economic environment, however unless business leadership and IT teams work together more closely to identify the technologies most essential to their future success, UK businesses will be left behind as competitors move ahead. To become visionary leaders in 2016, UK business and IT leaders need a defined strategy to help give them the confidence they need to invest in the technologies to help transition their business into the digital economy.

Taking a proactive stance to security & privacy

Although compliance and regulation have always been key concerns for businesses, next year we’ll see them come even more to the fore. Businesses will need to be able to demonstrate that they are taking a proactive stance to protecting customers’ data and personal privacy. Organisations trailing behind will start to lose business to those who can show commitment and knowledge on these issues - those who get there early will ultimately win out.

About the author 

Bob Plumridge is the Chief Technology Officer for Hitachi Data Systems in Europe Middle East & Africa. In this role Bob is responsible for aligning technology vision with business strategy and evangelising this vision to the press, analysts and existing and potential customers.

With over 30 years’ experience in storage, Bob’s expertise is both wide and deep having worked in many roles in the industry including ICL, Memorex Telex and EMC prior to joining HDS in 1988. Bob is currently the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) for EMEA.

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