Avi Raichel is CIO of Zerto.
“Move fast and break things” was the de facto motto for many of the breakthrough Internet companies of the 1990s and 2000s and officially the mantra of Facebook developers up until 2014. At this point, CEO Mark Zuckerberg opted for the much less catchy saying: 'Move fast with stable infra.'
This change highlights one of the biggest on-going tensions in modern businesses: balancing the positives of being disruptive within your chosen industry, and the negatives of business disruption. On the one hand, embracing new approaches, technologies and platforms could offer a competitive advantage. On the other, the speed of the move opens many organizations up to challenges – security vulnerabilities, incompatible siloes in an organization, even having to plan to intentionally take your own company offline to upgrade systems and services due to difficulties migrating to, from and between different environments.
Balancing Between 'Disrupted' and 'Disruptive'
The exceptionally fine line between being ‘disruptive’ and ‘disrupted’ can be seen with 84 percent of respondents in a recent IDC study reporting some level of business disruption in the last two years due to technology, new business models, customer demands, competitors and more. All of these have caused businesses to aspire to be more innovative, and consider new ways of working to respond to these pressures – which can be a hugely positive thing.
At the same time, almost all (93 percent) of the respondents admitted they had suffered a tech-related "disruption" in the same two-year period. Indeed, one in ten (10 percent) of respondents admitted to suffering 10 or more such interruptions to their business. Unlike embracing change and being the industry disruptor, these disruptions had real, negative consequences for the organizations they affected, including employee overtime, loss of employee productivity, damage to company reputation and permanent loss of customers.
Embracing Data and Working With a New Cyber Security Landscape
A significant factor in many disruptions that companies experience are challenges around data, its management and security. It’s a fact of modern business that data just keeps growing over time, and no secret that it is becoming more voluminous, more valuable, and more complex than ever before. In the era of big data, and the modern cyber security threat landscape, both positive and negative disruptions are matters of “when” not “if”. The challenge now is finding the way to move fast, and break nothing – and it isn’t just about stable infrastructure. It’s about finding a new resilient path to navigate the transformation of 21st century data-driven business.
Exemplifying this, half of all organizations (49 percent) expect their demand of and for data to increase in the future compared to historical norms. At the same time, many organizations are exploring new platforms for using, storing and analyzing data, both in the cloud and on-premises. This presents both more opportunities to be disruptive, as well as more risk of being disrupted should something go wrong.
The good news is that almost all (94%) of organizations plan to spend more on updating infrastructure – specifically on technology which supports the move to new platforms, and prevents against business disruption. In terms of organization’s budget priorities, cloud based data protection was the most selected out of any budget priority, chosen by 52 percent of respondents. Cloud-first IT strategy (43 percent), data protection modernization (43 percent) and disaster recovery modernization (36 percent) all then placed above IT transformation (36 percent) and digital transformation (31 percent). All of these indicate that there is a known need for technology that provides mobility and protection while enabling change.
Planning for a Resilient Future
However, while recognition of the investment needed is a positive start, the challenge will be in making sure the investment is made in the right long-term solutions – including the right technology, processes and training to make the resilience strategy effective. Organizations have ambitious plans to deploy more emerging technology, from a quarter planning to deploy cloud-native apps (25 percent), to just slightly less investigating machine learning (24 percent) and AI (23 percent). Every new initiative will be powered by data, and will need to be made resilient to run 24/7 and prevent disruptions to the business.
Moving fast and breaking things may have been an adequate strategy in the '90s and early '00s, however, this is not the case in the competitive, fast moving world of 21st century business. As organizations constantly look to innovate against ambitious digital transformation roadmaps and cloud adoption is at a record high and growing, even planned disruptions to roll out an update or change the software need to be minimized, or eradicated, as much as possible.
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