Strategy & Operating Model

Strategy & Operating Model
How will IT evolve in the post-pandemic era?

Top Answer : The pandemic sparked an interesting problem: it removed most of the ad hoc, hallway decision-making. The lesson businesses have had to learn from that is that you probably don't need it, but you don't have a way to easily supplant it either. It provided a benefit that you don't have anymore, and now you have to drive things a different way. I think our attention span is too short for it to have a long term impact. My prediction is that for all of the people who have moved out of state during the pandemic, at some point it will be clear that you need to be at headquarters to get promoted. That's a real possibility down the road. Based on what I've seen over my 22 year career, IT will be more and more embedded in the business in the future. There’s talk about assets becoming a part of facilities, or something like asset issuance and asset management, but it doesn't make sense. It has more to do with purchase orders (POs) than it does with technology. It's something that somebody else can do. But there are a lot more business discussions in IT about processes and how they are implemented in systems and technology, and a lot less about the infrastructure and what is operated. That's going to change the structure in terms of how we interface with lines of business. It's going to become a lot more connected.

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Can sustainability initiatives be financially beneficial?

Top Answer : There is an ecology and economic aspect to sustainability initiatives. What you're doing to optimize from a spend standpoint does have positive effects on your carbon footprint because you're going to consume less. And you're using technology like machine learning to optimize as well. For example, there's robotic process automation, etc., from an HR standpoint, to help with onboarding and even legal—all those contracts that AI will find a lot more in than people will. But the punch line in all of that is that sustainability is not just about carbon reduction. It is about sustainable business. You can make a decision that isn't a choice between economics and ecology, but balances both sides of that. And if it's not economically viable to do an ecology-based investment, you need to figure out why.

Are there internal cultural blockers within your organization when it comes to implementing sustainability initiatives?

Top Answer : The problem is internal IT shops are already bogged down with keeping the business running, etc. They get hives when you say, "I need a carbon-aware scheduler." They're like, "Before you go carbon aware, do you want your application up first or not?" That's where the companies are looking at external consultants to come do proof of concepts (PoCs) to convince their IT department infrastructure groups that this could be a possibility, and then eventually transfer that knowledge.

What are the next steps towards sustainability for the tech industry?

Top Answer : Companies like ITRenew drive sustainability in a really interesting approach. They basically take a waste stream and turn it into a supply chain. They're an IT asset disposition vendor that takes all of those retired racks—including the open compute version two racks—and either parts them out or refurbishes them. I looked at the costs and if you can get the same thing, you save an incredible amount. So I see that being an interesting trend that's going to roll up, because now it's just another supply chain. Because of the pandemic, any chips, memory, storage, or flash you can get out of those machines are hot commodities. People are paying leased prices for those devices because they can't get them from Intel and Samsung, etc. That's going to dry up at some point, but all this waste is definitely another supply chain.

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How can companies best cope with accelerated growth in terms of IT operations?

Top Answer : My company’s experiencing accelerated growth for sure and that creates all kinds of broken glass. My hypothesis was that any amount of velocity creates broken glass and at this rate, it must be really tremendous. And it's true, there's a lot of broken glass. The problem that we're solving is one that every company has, which is trying to stitch a lot of different technologies together. We're providing all the stitching operations for our customers, but I think this space is still maturing, in general. To me, it's a bit of a science project even now.

Are there systemic issues within businesses at large working against cybersecurity efforts?

Top Answer : Part of the problem, especially when companies are small, is that it's hard to find and also hard to hire good IT people who can take care of all the infrastructure stuff, who starts out with all the boring foundational things like patch management, but also understands systems. As those companies get bigger, they end up biasing towards one side or the other. They end up with completely screwed up infrastructure because they didn't hire someone who knows how to deal with that, or they have completely screwed up their applications stack because they hired somebody who's more focused on the infrastructure. I don't know the answer. It's amazing to me that the stories have not changed dramatically in 20 years, which seems like it should be a business opportunity for somebody.

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Why is IT often seen as the bottleneck of an organization?

Top Answer : I don't think IT is a bottleneck at all. IT is so much more than infrastructure technologies. We're enabling the business and driving so much revenue. I call our organization Corporate Engineering rather than IT because of the connotation it has. Half of our cost center actually goes into the cost of sales versus the entire thing being considered a general and administrative (G&A) function. We don't report to the CFO. We report to a COO or a president who has CRO and CMO under him.  And we're constantly thinking of how to make money: We're establishing the Customer Zero program, which helps us talk to customers directly about how we use our products, how we can sell more, and create the blueprint for our customers. We're also in the process of doing E-commerce so that we can sell more of our products like low-value, high-volume businesses on an E-commerce platform. And I'm pushing to get ourselves on an indirect sales channel or partner channel because we can only grow so much through direct sales. We have to get to the partner side of the business.

According to ITIL 4, why is the four dimensions of service management focused on products and services and not on the service value system (SVS). Should these components and factors be considered at the system level? What do you think about it?

Top Answer : The ITIL 4 four dimensions are the 4 different views  of service management (and are reliant upon to produce service and products) and the new ITIL 4 Service Value System (SVS) contains four capabilities which you want to build and continually improve upon to increase value.

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