A few years ago, the phrase ”from the back room to the boardroom” was a new concept when it came to the IT department’s influence on business operations. Now, IT leaders are seen as key business enablers, driving initiatives that have changed the way customers interact with their suppliers and the way employees get their work done. This is all while they are also “keeping on the lights”—ensuring network connectivity, keeping hardware functional, and making sure services are secure and available.
One of the areas of the IT portfolio that has undergone the most dramatic change is the data center. In years past, IT leaders had the Herculean task of transitioning on-premise, mainframe databases to the cloud, which represented a huge financial and operational shift in how businesses interacted with and managed their data and applications. Similarly, the move from static desktop computer setups to laptops and mobile devices required IT departments to make data available when and where employees needed it. Finally, IT departments have also facilitated new ways for customers and employees to interact with their enterprise data, establishing and managing dynamic portal websites in place of static ones.
Modern Business Disruptors
IT leaders have weathered the storms of various changes and disruptions while navigating their organizations to new waters full of opportunity. However, the only thing constant in IT is change itself. In the years ahead, new tools, technology, and other developments will challenge IT leaders and their data centers to do and handle more.
What could be waiting around the corner, ready to disrupt your data center operations? Here is a look at some modern disruptors followed by some steps you can begin to take to be up for the challenge.
Internet of Things
Before the Internet of Things (IoT), business data came in predictable sizes, formats, and frequencies. Now, with the rise of smart sensors in vehicles, manufacturing processes, devices, HVAC systems, infrastructure, and in the office or home, businesses are having to adjust to new levels and types of data flows. Researcher David Evans calculates that 127 new devices connect to the internet every second, and Gartner predicts that 20.4 billion IoT devices will be in use by 2020; it's no wonder IT leaders continue to invest heavily in data centers.
Although the cloud initially seemed to be a replacement for enterprise data centers, many operations today instead utilize them together. With data, applications, hardware, and support staff in multiple locations, IT leaders have to juggle workloads and resources to ensure performance, security, and availability levels meet business needs. The result is usually seamless for the end users, but this operating model has introduced new challenges to overcome.
With more devices collecting more data, businesses are constantly looking for ways to harness all of that information to make better decisions. Thanks to sophisticated analytics and modeling tools, businesses can parse, combine, and dive into data in new ways, all of which relies on data centers that can handle high workload requests and levels of availability to maintain optimal performance. Additionally, data can be pulled from multiple databases, even from across on-premise and cloud services. In short, IT needs to be able to deliver critical services at increasingly higher levels each year.
How to Prepare for the Future
These are just a few of the disrupters making waves within IT departments. However, with proper preparation, IT leaders can be ready for whatever is around the corner. The first step is to understand the drivers that influence data centers by simultaneously investing in upgrading enterprise software that supplies and leverages data and embracing automation, which can simplify business processes. Evaluating roles, policies, and scripts can help to improve efficiency, and upgrading legacy tools can ensure smooth data flows so IT staff can focus on more strategic efforts.
Next, continue to invest time in communicating the linkages between data center technologies and business operations. Though the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in 2018 and its focus on data privacy caught the attention of those in the corner office, the explosion of new technologies and systems is continuing to shift businesses from data-generating to data-powered. Making sure your business can understand how to use—and manage—the power of this data can set your organization apart in 2019.
Finally, it is critical to find the right partner to assist in fulfilling current needs while also preparing for future requirements. Having a trusted adviser such as FNTS can help to maximize your IT investments and increase operational efficiencies. A good partner can assist in managing data as it is being generated, help to ensure redundancy, and aid in maintaining compliance, while also getting to know your business and helping you stay ahead of trends.