IT Transformation: CIO’s Priorities and Successes

IT transformation initiatives have been going on for over 10 years now and during that time, Dell and VMware have executed hundreds of IT Transformation Workshops for organizations across the globe.  During these workshops, our consultants work with CIOs and their direct reports to evaluate their current state against their desired future state and to create prioritized activities that will help them close gaps in their IT transformation initiatives.  We take a look at all aspects of their transformation program – building infrastructure platforms, optimizing the application portfolio for the right infrastructure and cloud platform, and changing the IT operating model so that the IT organization works more closely with the business and with software developers.

These workshops analyze 30 areas of transformation and IDG recently performed an illuminating analysis of that data.  Note that these are not polled survey participants, but organizations who have asked Dell Consulting and VMware to help them create and execute transformation programs.  The analysis reveals the answers to some key questions about the current state of IT transformation among real participants in transformation programs.  What progress has been made by top performers?  What are the top priorities?  Where are technological and operational challenges?  What does “good look like”?

What Progress Has Been Made by Top Performers?

One of the most important things that we tell our customers is that transformation is a tops-down agenda.  So it’s no surprise that top performers (those who have achieved the highest current state in the top 20% of all workshop participants) have enlisted full executive and line-of-business support for their IT transformation initiatives, and created a documented strategy and roadmap for that transformation.

Top performers also have made progress on implementing automation that’s required for IT as a service. They have nearly 100% of their infrastructure virtualized and can provision infrastructure in as little as 1 day.

What are the Top Priorities?

Year after year, building a self-service catalog and portal consistently ranks as the top priority over all others.  It is after all, the most visible way that the business experiences the effects of the automation and infrastructure efforts that IT organizations are executing.

But there are some interesting developments that organizations have started to undertake more recently.  Over the last three years, more companies (moving from 65% to 84%) want to use a hybrid cloud architecture to support multiple production apps across their environment.  Yet less than 10% have evaluated their application portfolio for hybrid cloud suitability.

DevOps and continuous deployment – a new topic recently added to the workshops – sprung to the top of the application priorities list.  67% want DevOps to be pervasive within their enterprise within the next 12-18 months, yet most take more than 6 months to get a new release deployed.  Clearly organizations are focusing their energies here as they work to meet these goals.

Network virtualization is another area that has increased in importance.  It is now where the most CIOs perceive they have the biggest gap in their infrastructure.  They want to be 40%, or more, virtualized within the next 12-18 months.

Where are Key Technological and Operational Challenges?

Through years of working with IT organizations, we’ve observed that changing the operating model is most often the hardest part of IT transformation.  Transforming service delivery, changing how infrastructure is deployed and managed, and reworking how the IT organization is structured are not simple tasks.  Not unexpectedly, the analysis shows these areas of the workshop are where CIOs consistently have the highest aspirations for target state.

We’ve seen dramatic interest in customers wanting to implement infrastructure as code (IaC) methodologies and processes to automatically managed and configure infrastructure.  So it’s no surprise that automated change and configuration management is ranked as a top priority by nearly 90% of the workshop participants, while only 5% said that they had achieved it.

Other areas where 85% or more of organizations want to improve the way they operate are being able to proactively address capacity and performance issues through alerting and automated responses, to have an automated transparent metering system in place, and to have an automated analytics engine in place which provides heuristics and trending information on all IT services.

Want to Hear More?

If you are having trouble with getting and sustaining momentum for a transformation initiative, you’ll want to check out this 3-part blog series on multi-cloud strategy.  The first one is Moving to Multi-Cloud: How to Get Stakeholders Aligned. Or try 4 Steps for a Successful Transition to a Multi-cloud Model.

Comment below with any comments or questions!

About the Author: Denise Partlow

Denise is a Director of Product Marketing for Dell Technologies Consulting Services. She currently leads a team of professionals responsible for formulating and executing marketing strategy for Dell Technologies consulting services portfolio.