Given the abundant benefits of a move to converged infrastructure, Brett Anderson, Director Cloud and Data Centre Solutions, asks why so many CIOs are still struggling to persuade boardrooms to commit to this important step in their IT strategy.
Our research and experience shows that opposition to a converged strategy is more often political than technical. That is, most organisations are divided into silos by specialty; for example, there might be a server group, a storage group, an applications group, and so on. Suggesting that these independent teams work together ignites a fear of impending irrelevancy, as teams think that they will be made redundant.
The key to overcoming this fear is to show that converged infrastructure actually makes each group’s knowledge more critical to overall success – the challenge is as much technical as cultural.
A move to converged infrastructure clearly does impact on day-to-day roles and responsibilities – so engaging with the business, to help everyone understand that a converged strategy is more opportunity than threat, is a vital first move.
In particular, it is worth considering three specific steps which could prove to be critical precursors to making converged infrastructure a reality in your organisation:
1. Collaborate on a new culture: A converged infrastructure reflects a shared-use model where resources are available on demand – and this collaborative approach represents quite a departure from the way most companies are structured today. The solution is to get server and storage staff collaborating with networking staff. Virtualisation may abstract the physical hardware and software in separate layers, but the people who know how each layer interacts with the one above it are still an integral part of the equation. Therefore, a culture of collaboration is part and parcel with a successful transition.
2. Get IT’s buy-in: Typically, the decision to implement a converged infrastructure and advance toward cloud computing comes from the top down. The CEO wants increased performance, the CFO wants the efficiencies of shared resources, and the CIO wants the kind of dynamic, self-regulating IT environment that will be required in the future. While the decision to commit to a converged infrastructure may come from the top, it needs the buy-in of the people who are going to implement and support it. In this step, CIOs need to include technologists in strategy meetings and really engage them in discussions about how to re-organise in a way that reflects the convergence of the underlying technologies. Most will appreciate being given the opportunity to drive change as opposed to being run over by it.
3. Build relationships: As advanced as technology has become today, IT solutions are still run by people, and the success of IT depends on the success of the IT team. Fortunately, the process of realising a converged infrastructure strategy as a precursor to cloud computing can be an ideal exercise in building collaborative relationships among previously siloed teams. And it can create a new way for these talented IT professionals to work together by going outside of IT to partner with the business and application owners to realize practical benefits to converged infrastructures: improved flexibility and speed to market. Now you are using technology to give your company a competitive edge
You can learn more about convergence best practice by reading Six Tips for Creating a Converged Infrastructure