By Brendan McAravey, Country General Manager, Citrix South Africa
The future has never looked more complex. IT leaders are asked not only to deliver IT services, but also to improve business outcomes. According to the 2018 IPSOS research study commissioned by Citrix, currently 51% of South African businesses have moved to the cloud, enabling an environment where employees’ demands of working anytime and from anywhere has become a reality.
That said, organisations must remember that, in order to truly drive innovation and agility, careful orchestration of hybrid and multi-cloud environments is essential. And at the same time, companies also need proper cyber security protocols in place to ensure that cyber-attacks can be avoided. You must protect your apps, content, users, and networks.
These five strategies will help CIOs meet these challenges and simplify infrastructures while providing centralised control.
1. Focus resources on accelerating business outcomes: If you’re feeling mounting pressure to accelerate business outcomes, you’re not alone. According to a Global Gartner survey of more than 3,000 tech executives from 98 countries, at least 84 percent of top CIOs surveyed have responsibility for areas of the business outside traditional IT. The most common are innovation and transformation. Simplifying an ever-increasing complex IT infrastructure will free up resources and help the IT organisation drive better business outcomes. Even though you may have extensive investments in legacy infrastructure, that doesn’t mean you can’t also adopt the latest technologies and innovations. With a secure digital workspace, it’s possible to unite the old with the new to create a unique cloud strategy that helps you not only modernise your infrastructure but maximise existing investments.
2. Enable users to work from anywhere: If there is anything certain about the future, it’s mobility. According to the IPSOS and Citrix study, workspace mobility will increase to 67% in the next five years. This clearly highlights that the need to work anywhere, at any time, on any device, whether it’s personal or company owned, is increasing. Employees expect to have access to whatever device or app they need, whether they’re at the office or on the go. They also expect the same seamless experience, regardless of where they’re working. And it’s no longer enough to just support personal devices; employees are looking for new capabilities, such as machine learning, that will adapt to their patterns and expectations.
3. Design and deliver a simplified cloud strategy: In the shift to cloud computing, enterprises often end up with a mix of providers and services. In some cases, employees outside the IT department are using their own cloud services, creating a separate shadow IT environment. Naturally, this drives up costs and increases security risks. Your strategy should shift apps and data to the cloud to accelerate innovation and agility, while ensuring flexibility and control.
4. Get serious about security: The future of security is contextual. When your employees work from anywhere from a multitude of devices, the old ways of securing data with firewalls and perimeters is not enough. Security must be smarter and centre on the user. Access is based on who the users are, where they are, and what devices they are using. To easily manage this smarter type of security, you need new solutions that think about security differently, such as a digital workspace with a secure digital perimeter.
5. Be global: Year by year, the world becomes a smaller and smaller place to do business. With easy access to IT resources and staff around the globe, companies are tapping into the huge growth potential of emerging markets and the cost efficiencies of outsourcing. Managing a dispersed workforce only adds to IT infrastructure complexity. A single unified platform that centrally manages users, devices, data, workloads, and networks can optimally leverage global resources and comply with data governance restrictions. With cloud data centres available in numerous locations worldwide — 54 regions worldwide in the case of Microsoft Azure, for example — IT can store workloads near the people who use them to minimise WAN latency. This geographic flexibility also allows IT to keep data inside national borders as required, simplifying regulatory compliance.
This unified platform simplifies the IT department’s increasing complexity, giving you the freedom, creativity, and resources to focus on better business outcomes, stronger security, improved employee mobility, and the other critical strategies that will future-proof your IT operation.