Ability, agility and readiness to change are attributes that have never been as important as they are today for data center professionals, and making decisions as a team about issues critical to the future of business is crucial.
Conversely, C-Suite executives also have a responsibility to data center professionals to understand how business decisions impact IT. Staying on the same page requires a give-and-take relationship that fosters respect, communication, common goals and strategies, and proper execution.
The bottom line is that entire organizations need to work together to meet cost-cutting goals and support profit-making measures by reducing energy usage, carbon emissions, and making the data center space more efficient.
Derek Odegard, president and founder of CentricsIT and 18-year veteran of the IT industry, is part of a panel that will address “Aligning Business & Technology Strategies to Deliver Value and ROI” at the upcoming Orlando Data Center World conference.
Data Center Knowledge asked him about the most importance element of achieving this alignment goal.
“The biggest factor here is interdepartmental communication. Obviously technology affects every area of the business. You have the accounting team using software and resources to maintain the books; marketing teams using technology platforms to reach consumers, sales teams using CRMs and other tools to manage appointments and meetings—so it’s important that all of their technology needs are communicated to IT. IT should then vet these needs to ensure they align with the overarching technology strategy currently being deployed,” Odegard explained.
There are several scenarios that play out each and every day in companies around the world that can sabotage alignment. According to the Data Center World speaker, some of them include:
- Businesses making technology decisions without considering who is going to support it.
- Businesses making technology decisions without considering the security requirements.
- Unnecessarily upgrading hardware before it makes sense, or retiring equipment that can be used in other areas of the business.
- Spending money on maintenance for machines that are not even in use.
- Throwing away or storing old machines that have value on the secondary market.
Odegard believes the biggest disconnect surrounds ongoing support and security. Misalignment occurs when there is a lack of communication between non-IT departments and IT. IT leaders need to have an understanding of the way each team is utilizing technology to ensure they align with the IT goals of the organization.
On the flip side, business leaders have a responsibility to IT, and Odegard suggested any business leader ask the following five questions:
- How do individual teams use technology; and do they have the technical resources they need?
- How is the technology budget allocated among all teams within the organization?
- What are the security requirements and considerations for the different technology needs?
- How will IT provide ongoing support for new technology initiatives?
- Finally, what does my data center require to meet the long-term needs of each team?
Ultimately, any strategy should result in providing as much value as possible. It’s important to distinguish value from cost savings as value means something different to every organization, said Odegard. For some it’s cost, for others it’s security; yet others link value exclusively to revenue. Once your organization defines value, you must take the proper steps to provide as much as possible—something he will expand upon during the two-hour panel.
One area that CEOs and data center professionals are often at odds about is disaster recovery; spending money in the event of a disaster and weighing the unknown potential financial and data losses is not always a popular or easy choice.
“With the amount of business-critical data that resides on your infrastructure in this age, not having a disaster recovery plan is inconceivable,” he stressed. “Modern virtualization and cloud backup technologies make it much simpler and cost-effective to implement virtual redundancy plans, so securing your information is easier than ever. Any CEO who doesn’t see the value in this investment isn’t seeing the big picture.”
Want to explore this topic more? Attend the panel on “Aligning Business & Technology Strategies to Deliver Value and ROI” or dive into any of the other 12 leadership development sessions at Data Center World. Check out the details and register at the Orlando Data Center World conference page.