Make those minutes count

What an IT Manager Can Do to Bridge the Gap Between IT and the C-Suite

The C-suite often misunderstands the priorities of the IT manager, but there are steps IT can take to bridge the gap.How an IT manager views the enterprise is often different from the view of the executives in the boardroom. It makes perfect sense, because executives are viewing the scope of the business with a wide lens, and the IT manager’s perspective is colored by the specific needs and role of technology in business operations.

The impact of this disconnect is that IT may not receive the support it needs to keep the enterprise moving forward at the pace necessary to gain a competitive edge. Executives may have a limited understanding of how decisions made in the IT division may help or hinder them in a variety of ways.

A recent survey highlighted this challenge with results including the responses of C-suite employees and IT managers from large enterprises. It found that conversations between IT and executives need to go beyond simply discussing budgets for hardware and infrastructure to support network needs.

The key findings of the survey included:

  • Most companies continue to use on-premises security solutions and plan to spend more on them in the future, despite the ready availability of cloud options.
  • Most of the respondents plan to continue to rely on Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) for handling increasing bandwidth requirements.
  • The majority of both C-suite executives and IT managers agree that changes need to be made to handle network requirements, but may disagree on how this should happen.
  • Among IT executives, 80 percent were not confident that data exchanged over mobile connections is secure, but only 56 percent of C-suite executives share that view.

Securing mobile data transfer is a critical topic as the remote workforce continues to grow. The difference in perspective means that executives may not have a clear picture of what’s necessary for managing network security when it comes to mobile use. Boardroom executives are woefully misinformed about the level of security needed to protect mobile data and the increased pressure on bandwidth needs because of mobile devices.

The scope of the survey included topics broader than just mobile security plans, but this area highlights the challenges an IT manager faces in communicating the needs of their department to get adequate support.

For instance, despite the major increase in bandwidth demand due to mobile device use and the advance of the Internet of Things, most of the companies surveyed said that they would increase their investment in VPN, rather than choosing a cloud gateway option. Some enterprises are relying on a mix of cloud and on-premises gateway solutions.

IT managers struggling to get the support needed for bandwidth requirements and security must change the way they communicate with board members. Avoid words like “latency” or acronyms like VPN or MPLS. Instead, speak in terms that highlight the perspective of the executive, such as performance issues and how they impact the customer or other end user.

In addition, simply talking in terms of cost savings when it comes to cloud solutions often makes a big difference in the conversation between executives and IT. Both groups are motivated by reducing costs, so this can be a good starting place.

T2 is the bandwidth-boosting partner who can ensure that enterprises have access to the connectivity provider that best meets location, pricing, and service level requirements. Contact us today for an initial appointment.

How Learning Sales Can Help IT Teams

t2-jan-blog-2Disruption of emerging trends constantly keeps the IT industry alert — or at least it should in certain cases. Some of the buzz terms that define new developments in technology include Internet of Everything, digital transformation, and microservices.

Meanwhile, the cloud, containers, and the Internet of Things (IoT) appear to be established norms that aren’t going away. Furthermore, many companies aspire to integrate downloadable applications with their services. Here are reasons computer consultants need to balance focus on these developments with sales.

Innovations vs. Distractions

One of the biggest challenges of the tech support industry is to sort between meaningful innovations and marketing distractions. Is it necessary to devote time to every trend, such as the consumerization of IT? It actually depends on the goals, resources, and clientele of each provider, since there are multiple ways to resolve any specific problem.

Making the field more complicated is the niche branding of “as a Service” concepts that have been inspired by the SaaS boom. The question becomes: how much time should firms that market themselves as tech experts spend on learning trends that may have little effect on their markets?

The answer needs to stay close to the organization’s budget and the needs of existing clients. If a technology provider invests too much in new technology, this can drain the budget or lock in clients it cannot efficiently serve. Too much focus on how to manage multiple data streams can lead to diminishing returns, which is why it helps to specialize in certain areas while still offering broad packages.

Many times new technology is redundant and merely introduces new semantics to the industry. AWS EC2 instances, for example, essentially equate to VMware vSphere virtual machines (VMs). Even for the most experienced tech talent, this proliferation of variations can create confusion while draining resources on learning subtle differences in these services. One of the best ways for tech professionals to filter through this cutter is to learn sales.


What Tech Pros Should Know About Sales

Although IT and sales are often considered separate professions, learning sales helps tech experts adopt valuable skills that can enhance their careers by influencing colleagues and technology within the companies they work for. Understanding the sales process gives tech professionals an edge in problem solving when they deal directly with customer needs. It helps them communicate and see through marketing hype better instead of thinking in terms of technical jargon.

Here are basic sales steps that can help tech pros advance their careers by making better decisions for customers:

  1. Set the stage for expectations and resource needs by focusing on solving a problem instead of promoting features.
  2. Master solutions by knowing the differences in when and where to apply them.
  3. Improve consistency and control by applying the solution to a process.
  4. Deliver persuasive presentations that point toward clear and logical decisions.
  5. Move the pitch forward by focusing on the end result.
  6. Emphasize value while weighing costs attributed to time and labor.
  7. Be conscious of time and attitude factors that influence mindset.

Even though there’s an industry stereotype that tech support and sales don’t mix, it’s advantageous for tech support teams to develop sales skills, which can contribute to customer satisfaction as well as enhance their careers. The more skills they can bring to their organizations, the better career opportunities they will have.

Delivering Business Solutions through Hybrid Cloud and Workload Automation

shutterstock_280634069Businesses today demand IT functionality that ensures continuity and offers adaptable data capacities in a cost-effective format. For many companies, cloud technologies that employ as-a-service solutions meet that need.

However, security concerns and data sovereignty regulations have held many organizations back from embracing public cloud solutions. Instead, they have preferred to retain data applications in on-premise servers, which they view as more secure.

Ultimately, though, on-premise solutions are not a cost-effective choice for most organizations. There’s just too much data. These businesses should look to hybrid cloud solutions for the answer to their needs.

The Hybrid Answer

As data amounts expand, businesses need actionable methods for collecting, storing, processing, and analyzing that data. They need retrieval methods that conform to the industry and to the operational standards they’ve developed.

Hybrid cloud solutions, which combine public and private cloud, that operate from a centralized system offer the agility and cost-savings that businesses need in today’s competitive global marketplace. When companies begin the process of hybrid cloud adoption, however, creating numerous workloads in separate silos makes it nearly impossible–without advanced automation–to control the thousands of applications and services that are running. Advanced automation can ease these pain points.

Processing Evolution

Technology trends such as mobile, cloud, big data, and social collaboration tools drive the expansion of transactions. Businesses need high-performing integration between systems of engagement and record. Shifting from batch processing, which was largely time-based, to automated processing, which is largely event-based, allows businesses to perform these tasks more efficiently.

Data center automation that encompasses server, database, network, and workload automation essentially provides the solution. This single, centralized system replaces multiple schedulers and is deployed within a hybrid cloud solution. Companies can utilize it to control all of their applications from a policy-driven perspective.

The Hybrid Cloud Solution

With a hybrid cloud solution, companies can achieve workload automation. The centralized system streamlines activities like big data analysis and the automation of ad-hoc processes, whether they originate from calendars, events, or self-service triggers. The controlled system allows for companies to deliver accurate information to the business’s many stakeholders: clients, suppliers, customers, employees, etc.

Hybrid cloud solutions enable automation processes like these:

  1. The ability to forecast job processing time.
  2. The ability to control the actual processing.
  3. The ability to implement provisions that allow alternate processing platforms to meet capacity needs.

Benefits of Workload Automation

Hybrid cloud solutions facilitate these requirements by allowing companies to run specialized modules of software solutions that control processing requirements according to application types under the control of workload management. Traditional job-scheduling cannot accomplish these tasks.

Workload automation increases business flexibility in the following ways:

  • It breaks down silos so that companies can access and analyze the right data– when and where it’s needed.
  • It integrates systems of record and engagement.
  • It enables new features to be quickly added, such as location-based mobile applications.

In addition, workload automation ensures that companies conform to data protection and other government and industry compliance regulations within the hybrid cloud environment.

With a stable internal workload automation process and hybrid cloud solutions, businesses can develop scalable, end-to-end systems automation approaches that provide true cost reductions.