I’m taking inspiration from what the Year of the Dog represents. According to the Chinese Zodiac, the key characteristic for the Year of the Dog in 2018 is “action.”
Easier said than done, of course. Almost always is. The reality is the disparate focus and views to budget allocations and spends.
The questions we ask as business leaders are: how do we move the needle? Underlying all of that is how we plan our next fiscal year and budgets to create more business value.
The forecast for 2018
Both Gartner, Inc. and IDC are forecasting an increase in IT spending this year.
According to Gartner, Inc., strong growth in communications services will drive the majority of spending, namely $176 billion (1.8% growth) on data centers, $980 billion (5.3%) on IT services, and $1.4 trillion (2.2%) on communications services.
John-David Lovelock, research vice president at Gartner, Inc., says: "Global IT spending is showing little overall growth, as are traditional markets. These top 10 markets will be the key to remaining relevant and achieving growth in the future."
On the other hand, IDC is breaking down enterprise spending in two broad areas, forecasting spend on digital transformation initiatives at $1.3 trillion (a growth of 16.8 percent over 2017), and an estimated $772 billion on IoT.
What action means to businesses
I have a tendency to repeat myself when I hear data points like this, but it’s very important to take a step back. New tech is great, because it allows us to achieve in leaps and bounds. However, the CIO’s challenge between IT and business priorities does not fundamentally change. He or she has to strike a balance between ensuring the IT backbone is stable and secure, while also investing in new digital initiatives and steering a team through a successful transformation.
What is your strategy for discovering this balance in the call for change to business innovation?
Louder than words
It’s easy to plan when you’re starting with a blank slate, but our reality is we are time poor as executives and have inherited a lot of legacy bloat. To focus, I like to paraphrase Lewis Carroll and “begin at the beginning,” the human experience.
According to PwC, "human experience" helps companies "…rethink how you define your digital initiatives, consider employee and customer interactions at every step of the way, invest in creating a culture of tech innovation and adoption, and much more."
This sentiment underscores the value you place in your approach toward defining how legacy equipment is maintained, how digital transformation initiatives are rolled out, and – most importantly – takes into consideration the experience for employees, partners, customers, and the entire ecosystem.
Some time back, we had a customer who was undergoing a data center relocation. When they had trouble rebooting a server that had reached end-of-life equipment status, they called up their manufacturer partner for help.
The manufacturer declined.
The customer was in a bind. Getting their servers up and running without interruption was critical to the business. This priority outweighed any upgrade path the manufacturer vendor wanted them to take. Their need was now. Their server issue was straightforward.
We stepped in, and got them up and running. We’ve not only grown our business, but we also maintained strong relationships with the organization as a trusted partner.
Machines may help us run our business, but the human experience we provided was the clincher that created a strong bond between our brand and our customer.
Ultimately, our guiding principle in approaching internal and external stakeholders is this: Take actions that not only center on balancing business and technology needs, but make sure the human experience is at the heart of everything you do.