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Why the C-Suite Should Look to IT to Stay Competitive By @FerventGeek | @CloudExpo #Cloud

The cloud offers tremendous opportunity to streamline business and reduce costs

With a Little Help from My Friends: Why the C-Suite Should Look to IT to Stay Competitive

While the Beatles may not have been too concerned about cloud uptime or network security when they wrote their famous ballad, they had the right idea about turning to friends for a helping hand. It's a lesson CIOs should take to heart.

After all, the IT department - including network, systems, applications and database administrators - is often the eyes, ears and hands of the CIO, providing front-line information and making recommendations on the latest technology and IT methods to ensure that business is running at optimum efficiency and achieving competitive advantage through technology.

However, it's up to the CIO to be actively engaged in seeking and accepting this input, and helping IT sell the need for new technology adoption to the rest of the C-suite. By so doing, the CIO will be better enabled to move the business forward at the speed of IT.

Such was the focus of the SolarWinds IT Trends Report 2015: Business at the Speed of IT. The study explored the ability of the IT department to successfully adopt and implement new technology that drives long-term business success through implementing significant new technologies, and the CIO's impact on that process.

Nearly all - 93 percent - of IT professionals included in the study indicated that adopting such technologies is at least somewhat important to their organizations' long-term success. Of those, 48 percent said it is important and another 20 percent said it is extremely important.

This shows that the new measures of IT performance are not just availability, reliability and uptime, but also business productivity, growth and profitability. However, barriers and challenges - including, for some, the CIO - continue to stall adoption and, therefore, business impact.

For example, the study found that budget limitations ranked as the top barrier to adopting new technologies, followed by the inability to convince other decision makers of the need and/or benefit and a shortage of IT personnel to implement and/or manage the technology, respectively. Furthermore, nearly a quarter said they perceive their CIOs as either barriers or altogether uninvolved.

The overwhelming importance of successfully adopting new technologies also highlights the vital role IT and technology now play in today's businesses. Businesses can only progress and perform as quickly as IT enables them to - again, it's business at the speed of IT. Empowering IT to successfully adopt and implement new technologies quickly should be a top priority for every CIO.

This will only become more important as we move further into the hybrid cloud era. The cloud offers tremendous opportunity to streamline business and reduce costs, yet, as the study also found, 3 out of 5 organizations have migrated less than 25 percent of their infrastructure and 1 in 10 have not migrated anything. IT must be given the resources they need from the CIO to make this transition; otherwise, business will suffer.

In fact, nearly 50 percent of survey-takers said more resources, such as budget, personnel and time, ranked as their number one need from the CIO. More or better training and development (32 percent), greater IT department autonomy (29 percent), stronger CIO support when liaising with other business leaders (26 percent) and more or better strategic counsel and guidance from the CIO (24 percent) rounded out the list of IT's top 5 needs from the CIO ranked number one survey respondents.

However, for their part, IT must prove their ability to drive ROI within expected timeframes, something that has been a struggle thus far. For example, three-quarters said it took longer or much longer than anticipated for the last new technology their organization adopted to start impacting business and/or end-user efficiency. In addition, only half of the survey-takers said their organizations' last adoption of a significant new technology achieved expected return on investment within the projected timeframe.

Of course, this raises the chicken-versus-egg question: Is the struggle to achieve ROI within expected timeframes the reason for CIOs and the rest of the C-suite holding back, or a consequence of it?

In reality, it's probably a more complex combination of both rather than a clear-cut one or the other. With that being the case, it's evident that the symbiotic nature of the relationship between the IT department and the CIO needs to be fostered. Only by so doing can business reach the full potential of moving forward on the back of new technology adoption. After all, there's no better way to get by, than with a little help from friends.

More Stories By Patrick Hubbard

Patrick Hubbard is a head geek and senior technical product marketing manager at SolarWinds, with 20 years of technical expertise and IT customer perspective. His networking management experience includes work with campus, data center, high availability and disaster recovery, and storage networks, and with VoIP, telepresence and VDI in both Fortune 500 companies and startups in the high tech, transportation, financial services and telecom industries.

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