As more organizations start planning for 2013 IT initiatives, a new ambiguous focus has started to emerge from the executive offices. IDC recently surveyed 135 North American CIOs and IT leaders, and found that while there was a huge interest in investing in mobile/wireless, SaaS, Cloud, social media and collaboration, the key driver for these investments was innovation.
Why has innovation suddenly become so important that it increased by a margin of 11% over last year’s results? Additionally, why has the focus on datacenter innovation increased from 52% to 61% from 2011-2012? The main reason is that with cloud, the datacenter has suddenly become the “foundational core” of an innovation strategy, comparing it to the “mainframe of yore but with easier access from a wider variety of devices.” Quite simply, executives see the datacenter and cloud as a way to redesign key systems while spurring new ways of doing business.
Most large organizations, especially those who have existed for over 20 years are burdened with legacy systems and inefficient workflows. These are the key reason why many of these organizations cannot make relatively quick decisions or design and launch new products and services in short timeframes. They are tied to large back-office systems that require maintenance simply to continue working, or require a significant investment to replace.
Executives have seen some of the changes that come with adopting new technology, especially through datacenter investments, and believe that by making investments in providing new technology platforms such as SaaS, they can ignite innovation in their organizations to help provide new streams of revenue through service and product innovation, while reducing back-end operating costs.
The problem is that outside these groups, the rest of the organization is not aligned. They do not see how these new investments will help other departments such as operations or marketing innovate. Additionally, many organizations provide an environment that shuns innovation because traditionally it was too cumbersome to listen to new ideas that required change to business workflows. This is a universal problem, not just limited to a specific sector, geographic region or organization size.
By allowing for more open platforms through cloud and virtualization, and leveraging mobile/wireless and business intelligence, organizations can not only empower employees to create new innovative ways to drive more business, but can also help reduce internal operating costs, promote collaboration and innovation, and adapt to market changes faster than through legacy business operation models.