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Selling the late-adopters on IT transformation

TracySiclair

Guest blog by Mark Samuels

Fast-moving disrupters are using innovation to move into new marketplaces, and an ITDM who is keen to help his or her business stay one step ahead of the competition must adopt automation and orchestration.

That transition will represent a paradigm shift for many technology workers. ITDMs typically enter the technology field because they enjoy getting their hands dirty with the latest and greatest. Their hands-on involvement might encompass development, programming, testing, implementing, or supporting. However, anything that helps automate those tasks may seem like a threat to the traditional role of the IT professional.

On a personal level, ITDMs might be unclear of the benefits of the increased use of automation and orchestration. Yet a significant reality is staring technology workers in the face: The role of the IT professional is changing, whether they like it or not. Instead of simply supporting technology systems, IT workers must help their businesses benefit from digital transformation.

The biggest reason to? Automation frees up IT professionals to focus on more creative, strategic projects that will benefit the enterprise at large, proving IT's value to the business.

Selling the late-adopters on IT transformation.jpg

Proactive IT management

While a shift towards automating tasks you've always done manually might seem unsettling, the automation of IT tasks can actually help the IT department boost system performance. Proof comes in the form of information security. Security policy orchestration sits at the core of a shift from static defense to agile and adaptive response, with ABI Research forecasting annual spending will hit $1 billion by 2020. Such investment means enterprises no longer react manually to cyber events after they happen. Instead, they will use systems to proactively plan and automatically respond. Orchestration provides a huge boost for security professionals looking to manage ever-evolving cyber threats.

Yet automation is more than just a tool for the security team. Proactivity should be the watchword across all areas of technology. Some forms of digital transformation has led to a decentralization of IT purchasing, where users across the organization source their own technical solutions to business challenges, often with or without the say-so of the CIO.

Decentralization represents a significant cultural shift for IT professionals who are used to the hands-on model. Technology leaders should help their colleagues make the most of the digital technology the rest of the business sources independently.

Orchestration and automation will help ease the transition from reactive to proactive IT management. Research from the Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) suggests many organizations already believe they can use incident response tools in areas far beyond security investigation. ESG research also suggests more than two-thirds (69 percent) of IT professionals believe many of the tasks they manage would be more effective with automation. Key areas for deployment include vulnerability scanning (61 percent), network access control (58 percent), and system provisioning (51 percent).

ITDM hesitance

In short, ITDMs are already aware of the potential power of automation. They have seen that the ongoing digital transformation is introducing IT features such as virtualization, convergence, and cloud computing that align well with the orchestration. CIOs are using these technologies to help bring together a range of disparate IT resources and to provision solutions quickly and effectively.

Automation and orchestration provide a further step in the right direction, helping the business ensure systems are used efficiently and effectively. Rather than getting bogged down in complex technical details, automation and orchestration help IT teams fulfill the crucial role of a broker of services. Of course, some IT professionals will remain reticent of the transition to automation. While the ESG research shows two-thirds of technology workers understand the power of orchestration, that still means one-third of employees are unconvinced automation can help boost IT management.

A culture shift must take place in the modern enterprise data center, where the risk of not adapting to automation means falling behind—and an almost certain lack of innovation. The modern business requires an outwardly focused technology team. The role of this IT department will be to help spin up great technology services that support new business models the rest of the organization identifies.

The reality is that the ongoing digital transformation has already sounded a death knell for the inward-facing IT department. By embracing automation and orchestration, technology professionals can assume a new, proactive role at the core of the modern business.

Learn more about what's next in the digital transformation journey.​

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About the Author

TracySiclair

Tracy Siclair has worked for HPE for 20 years in various positions, all geared towards providing a better customer experience. She has a passion for thinking out-of-the-box and finding innovative ways to get the job done. While not on a computer for work, she enjoys watching her kids play sports, photography, videography, and the occasional game of billiards. Tracy resides in beautiful Fort Collins, Colorado.

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