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In recent years, ‘IT readiness’ has rocketed to the top of the board's agenda. In a world where almost every organisation is digital, IT teams and systems are under immense pressure to deliver the resiliency and continuity required to succeed in today’s digital landscape.
“Do we have the right IT infrastructure and team? Are we prepared for anything that comes our way? What will be the impact on our business if we aren’t ready?” These are all questions around IT readiness that are not only keeping the CIO awake at night, but are increasingly creeping into the concerns and responsibilities of the rest of the C-suite.
What it means to be ‘IT ready’ for the modern organisation has changed in tandem with evolving tech and innovation, along with fresh market challenges. IT readiness is the ability to have a comprehensive understanding of the digital landscape, continue operations despite disruptions and deliver consistent innovation to further business goals. IT teams therefore must juggle preparing for and addressing business disruptions, while remaining innovative and reliable, which is no easy feat.
Boards and CEOs are cognizant that IT experience connotes customer experience, which is one of the fundamental drivers of success within a business. To meet the IT readiness imperative, the C-suite must undertake an assessment to evaluate their organisation’s level of preparedness and the potential implications for their business, so that a clear strategy can be devised accordingly.
Leveraging the untapped pipeline of talent
The technology skills gap continues to impact organisations in countries across the globe and the UK is no exception. According to recent research from Equinix, 67% of IT decision-makers in the UK view a shortage of personnel with IT skills as one of the main threats to their overall business, compared with 62% globally. 61% of UK IT leaders also agreed that the digital skills shortage has been exacerbated by the speed at which the tech industry is transforming.
Organisations are now finding themselves locked in a battle for talented workers, with many looking to entice prospective employees through offering remote work and increased salaries. Recruiting, onboarding and training new employees – while often valuable in the long run and to some extent unavoidable – is a significant drain on time and resources. With the rapidly changing digital landscape and rising demand, many organisations are not in a position to wait several months to secure and train the right talent.
Instead, consider your existing workforce as an untapped pipeline of talent. Prioritise your employees and listen to them. Create an environment where they feel inspired to work and see growth potential within the business. Employees will be eager to upskill to align with not only business strategy, but for their personal career goals.
Adopting technologies such as AI can automate mundane jobs that often leave employees feeling stagnant, and will go a long way in improving their experience. Investing in your current employees will enable them to focus on meaningful work and upskilling.
Cybersecurity strategy cannot fall off the agenda
Cybersecurity threats continue to be one of the major challenges facing IT and security teams, with malicious actors becoming increasingly cunning and tactical in their approach. The C-suite has a responsibility to ensure the right structure and technology is in place to improve efficiency and issue-spotting in the business. Investing into technologies such as Artificial Intelligence for IT Operations (AIOps) and utilising machine learning (ML) that automate tasks can support IT and security teams by alleviating workload stress and allowing them to focus on preventing and addressing potential threats.
Today’s hybrid infrastructures typically hold resources in a blend of cloud and on-premises data centres.
The problem is that most products used to deliver security & availability through observability will typically only specialise in monitoring one or the other, creating silos and gaps across organisations that can lead to a lag and delay in responding to alerts. This is where AIOps come in. It provides teams with full oversight of IT operations and allows them to see what’s coming before it happens.
One step ahead
Organisations are now dealing with an enormous amount of data that they could be leveraging real time insights from to be on the front foot. Unified observability is a hugely beneficial tool for any IT readiness strategy. Disparate monitoring tools can be financially and time inefficient. To ensure you’re getting the most out of your systems, it’s important to be able to view and evaluate the health of the IT infrastructure through a single pane of glass. This proactive approach is essential in today’s digital climate and to becoming IT ready.
Across all industries, organisations have had to pivot to remote platforms and with that has brought complexities around data management. The healthcare industry is increasingly using platforms such as e-health and telehealth and obtaining patient records can be a fragmented and complicated process. Growing compliance challenges and costs around the transfer, storage and management of sensitive patient information is also having significant financial ramifications.
Healthcare organisations like Bupa are taking proactive steps by seeking out new technology, new systems and solutions to address these problems. Tool consolidation is hugely beneficial for any IT readiness strategy and we’re seeing the market wake up to this. Streamlining operations, automating time-consuming processes and improving IT efficiency, reduces the need for IT professionals to switch between tools to gain insight into issues that will be critical to optimising services.
Driving sustainable IT resilience is a team effort and requires support and buy-in from all levels of the business. To be IT ready, you must be aware of challenges disrupting the delivery of business outcomes. Fully understanding your organisation’s technology stack and IT is critical in order to be able to lead and contribute to open conversations and challenge assumptions. Only then, can business leaders put the necessary plans in place to achieve IT readiness.