What CIOs and IT leaders must do next to help their organizations recover from the economic impacts of COVID-19

 In Cloud, Data Center, SAM/IT Asset Management, Security

You reacted quickly. You got your staff equipped for remote working. You fast-tracked the adoption of collaboration platforms to replace in-person meetings. You looked for new ways to keep staff productive while away from their “normal” jobs.

But what’s next?

Where should CIOs and IT leaders focus their efforts for the second half of 2020 into 2021?  Where are the advantages to be gained or perhaps new risks to be addressed?

We asked a selection of practice leaders from across the data center, cloud, collaboration, security, and IT asset management (ITAM) functions at SHI to share the top piece of advice they’re giving customers right now.

Unsurprisingly, much of the advice centers on cost control and operational efficiency – top priorities for all business leaders as we deal with a dramatically different global economy. But of course, each area of expertise has its own view on what the “must do” initiatives for IT leaders are.

Here’s what each had to say.

Data Center & Cloud Infrastructure

Ryan Sheehan is Vice President of the Advanced Solutions Group at SHI and has a passion for all things data center. His advice is to lean into the transformation that COVID-19 necessitated:

“Transformation has accelerated in almost every industry. As a next step, you should embrace the transformation and plan for executable blocks that will help provide value to your organization and customers. Your data needs to be protected and should provide analytics and insights to help your organization. With the percentage of remote workers increasing and applications moving to the cloud, your network needs to be fast, reliable, and secure.”

Lee Ziliak is the Chief Cloud Officer at SHI, and his advice to IT leaders is to get in front of cloud adoption to help overcome budget constraints:

“The need for innovation is going to get stronger, and the cloud is the best way to minimize the up-front costs for the rapid development and deployment of new products and services. Specifically, I’d strongly suggest organizations look at a multi-cloud strategy that enables them to take the best of what the different cloud service providers have to offer. This will give you the greatest agility and breadth of capabilities.”

Security

David O’Leary runs the enterprise security practice at SHI and has nearly 30 years of information security experience. He believes organizations should look to identity and access management and software-defined networks to securely support digital business:

“The rapid shift to remote work is a reminder that enterprise data centers are no longer the center of connectivity requirements. Organizations need to shift their focus to the identity of users and devices, strengthening security awareness and securing remote access capabilities. Adopting a cloud-based edge network and security architecture can rapidly extend protection to remote workers and distributed network access points, helping secure data and orchestrate protective policies for all users and devices.”

Collaboration

Peter Bean, Collaboration Practice Manager at SHI, believes the next five years will totally and completely redefine how we work, collaborate, and communicate. This will be a challenge, but also a major opportunity for building technology stacks that are right for each individual organization:

“I would strongly suggest considering a hybrid approach to collaboration platforms; one size does not fit all users. Use this time of immense disruption to further your digital transformation strategy. End users are much more willing to do things differently than they ever have before. Don’t wait for things to “go back to normal” to make the important changes to modernize your workforce.”

Cost Optimization

Neil Frodsham is Global Director of IT Asset Management services at SHI. His top piece of advice for IT leaders around the world is to act quickly to get on top of the new technology usage:

“Most organizations had to respond to remote working needs extremely quickly, which meant usual ITAM processes were bypassed in the interest of speed. Now that this has been achieved, IT leaders need to go back and apply the right ITAM controls so that those investments do not become liabilities for the organization – whether that’s adopting inventory practices that can cope with assets that never connect directly to the on-site corporate network, getting visibility into SaaS applications that were purchased by individual business units, or making sure that there are no compliance issues caused by changes in how on-premises and data center applications are being used.”

When you need a helpful IT partner

With 31 years of operational history under our belt and long-tenured staff that most IT solutions providers could only dream of, SHI has helped many organizations adapt and thrive in times of economic challenges. And while no one can say for sure what the “new normal” will look like, there’s a comfort in dealing with an organization that understands the pressures customers are under and has a strong track record of being helpful when it matters most.

If you’re starting to look at what comes next for your organization, or you’re ready to take control of some of your hurried technology adoption from the first half of 2020, speak to one of our 5,000 solutions experts today.

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