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Breaking down the technology language barrier

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As CIOs fully awaken to the benefits of the Hybrid IT model, the big task is now proving its worth to the rest of the business.

A survey by CIO.com found than three-quarters of CIOs acknowledge the importance of being able to manage data seamlessly across multiple cloud environments. However, just 40 per cent rated their organisation’s chances of this actually being delivered as ‘excellent’ or ‘very good’.

So where is this disconnect coming from?

A huge part of this is because many CIOs still use ‘tech-speak’ with their boardroom peers. The words and phrases that are everyday terms for many of us in the IT world still haven’t permeated to the highest corporate levels. (Talking about a scalable cloud solution won’t cut much ice with a CFO, for instance.)

So if CIOs are to become more influential around the boardroom table, and drive strategically valuable change across their organisations, they have to change tack and speak in a language the rest of the business can understand.

There is also the propensity for some CIOs to focus on the numbers that relate to the day-to-day – things like server down time, device roll-outs, inbound calls, and complaints. There is actually an opportunity here to make a step change, with a shift towards communicating overall business impacts such as top-line revenue or churn rates.

The good news is that the Hybrid IT model can be explained very simply in the terms that matter to the business the most.

So what should we be talking about?

Why now? What’s the outlay? How will this impact our bottom-line? These are all questions a CIO could face in the boardroom when trying to move to a Hybrid model.

According to a study by Technology Business Research, 40% of the global market will be hybridising more than half their environments in the next three years. So it’s clear the tidal forces in the market are there.

And the benefits of hybrid model resonate strongly with the business objectives many companies prioritise.

For example, a Hybrid model can easily flex as a company grows, accommodating other geographical locations and helping to bring them closer to the business for better performance while ensuring reliable disaster recovery.

For rapidly growing businesses, hybrid can also enable scalability– letting the organisation respond directly and immediately to market conditions. New products and services can be launched faster, and serve customers more quickly.

And as organisations become increasingly dependent upon data to operate, the ability to access it as quickly as possible is becoming more important than ever before, for instance with updating and personalising marketing campaigns in real time, or processing payments remotely. That’s  where the greater flexibility of the hybrid model becomes so vital.

Looking at business areas through a Hybrid lens

A Hybrid IT model can also boost employee efficiency. Traditionally a CIO might have argued that the ability to access data from any time at any location, from a mixture of public and private clouds, reduces latency. But what their colleagues are really interesting in hearing about are the business benefits of improved productivity from allowing flexible working patterns.

Look at it from an HR perspective, for example:

‘In a Hybrid IT model, our staff can work more flexibly. This improves productivity and wellbeing, as well as reducing sick leave and absenteeism. This creates a direct cost saving for the wider business, and can improve staff retention.’

Eyes should be lighting up around the boardroom table when you start talking about these sorts of benefits.

The bottom line: the time to embrace change is now

Technology is disrupting every corner of our lives right now, and it’s not going to let up. If anything, the pace of change is only going to get faster as computing power increases exponentially.

Progressive CIOs have the opportunity to lead this change for their businesses, as long as they embrace disruptive technology and see it as a chance to develop IT models that do much more than just  ‘keeping the lights on’.

Increasingly, CIOs should grab the opportunity to develop effective IT strategies that facilitate their organisation’s growth trajectories.

They should also be much more proactive in identifying upcoming infrastructure needs and recommending the right approaches for the business. With things changing so quickly, it’s pretty much impossible for anyone else around the boardroom table to keep up.

But by explaining the bottom-line benefit of a Hybrid IT model to the rest of the business in language that resonates with their priorities, CIOs are in the perfect position to thrive.

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