Gartner’s annual IT Infrastructure, Operations & Cloud Strategies Conference is underway this week in Las Vegas and several trends and key takeaways emerged from all the keynotes and breakout sessions. Here is a day by day recap of the top trends. Some will surprise you, and some will be quite interesting in helping you define your future cloud and IT infrastructure strategies.
Day 1 - Top 3 Trends
Trend #1: Everyone is still looking for a cloud strategy. Despite the various surveys out there in the market that say enterprises have already "adopted the cloud” there was one general session on developing cloud strategies, and you could not get past the stampede of attendees desperate to get into that session!
Gartner identified 10 mistakes in building a cloud strategy and what topped that list? Thinking that it’s an IT only strategy, not involving the business! Underscoring the fact that you cannot go it alone - IT and the business must work together on this. In fact, this relates to trend #2...
Trend #2: IT and the business go hand in hand - they are not silos! This seems to be a hidden reality that’s becoming more and more exposed as the sessions and hallway conversations went on today. IT isn’t about running the data center or connecting the business to the cloud, it’s about working with the business to chart your comapny’s tech-driven, digital-based future revenue. And CIOs that transform their organization and their infrastructure to follow this reasoning will be the ones that succeed in digital future.
In fact, in the keynote Gartner said your 5 year strategy should involve building an intelligence layer in your infrastructure, especially the network! This, of course, tracks directly with what Infovista has been providing in our SDWAN solution - Application Intelligence that lets you control your user experience across your network infrastructure. We’re happy to see Gartner agrees with us!
Trend #3: And perhaps the most important: the IT world is going from "data centers" to "centers of data." Where the center is the consumer/user of data wherever and on whatever device they may be. In fact the user may be a device and not a human! This also ties into the rise of edge computing which isn’t a prediction - it’s something that is here today. Chick-Fil-A was cited as an edge computing example where they deployed kubernetes on an Intel NUK system at every restaurant and said the “edge” is the kitchen fryer - how very Internet of Things of them, isn’t it?
The bottom line - this means that user experience for all applications on the network is absolutely critical and is something every enterprise must have in their network. Something early SDWAN solutions couldn’t do, and even still, very few, like Infovista, have the ability to provide this down to the user-session level. This came up during multiple sessions today and the message is clear - you need user experience control - period.
Finally, In the “fun fact” column - a comment came up during one of the keynotes today that enterprises are finding that the cloud is NOT cheaper than their data center. Gartner says many clients are moving application workloads back to the data center for cost saving reasons. Who knew? In fact, a Gartner analyst made the comment, “Worst place for you to be is working for someone who believes that ‘cloud' saves you money”.
Day 2 - Top Trends and Highlights
In the opening keynote on Day 1, Gartner defined 3 critical factors for everyone to consider during the conference:
- Reimagine the future of I&O
- Revitalize infrastructure
- Reenergize people
This leads to the first trend for Day 2 - Culture
Trend #1: Culture
44% of CIOs say culture is their biggest barrier.
So the theme became hacking corporate culture and subsequently hacking customer centricity. Two things every IT organization needs to do today. In fact, an important suggestion was that every IT I&O project should define what the business benefit will be and should focus on delivering that vs the technical benefit. Another approach highlighted, also known to be a Jeff Bezos/Amazon favorite - at your next meeting keep an empty chair at the head of the table to represent the customer, and ask throughout the meeting, "What would your customer say about that? How would they react to the project?" That’s what every I&O organization needs to keep in mind.
Trend #2: Edge Computing will drive digital business
Gartner has a term, Continuous Next, that applies here. There’s always another change about to happen. You must be prepared for it. Edge Computing is one of those changes. In the Day 1 recap, I mentioned that edge computing examples were given in a few sessions and is already happening. In today’s sessions, there was more focus - as a new deployment model for infrastructure.
Thomas Bittman presented a session where he outlined the 12 frontiers of edge computing with 4 factors for driving use cases:
- Lowering latency
- data at the edge is different and requiring local compute
- Running when your connection isn’t
- Protecting data for privacy
Bottom line - your network needs to be ready! That means more than just SDWAN, you need to be able to control app performance down to a session level to make these new edge use cases come to life!
Day 3 - Top Trends and Final Thoughts on the Conference
#1 - The future of infrastructure is everywhere
Application workloads are shifting – on-prem is moving to new cloud enabled workloads - Software, Platform, and Infrastructure as a Service. And these changes are now customer impact driven vs operational efficiency driven in the past. Why? Because It costs 4X more to get a customer back if they leave you than it costs to keep them.
#2 - NetOps meet your new best friend - SecOps
Yes, today Network Operations and Security Operations are like two siblings that hate each other half the time. But Gartner predicts that by 2022, 30% of network ops and security ops organizations will have aligned security and performance goals and incentives. Up from 1% in 2019. Their common goal: provide resilient digital capabilities to end users and devices...with an optimized experience.
#3- new research unveiled - Gartner’s ContinousNext model to help I&O organizations align for digital business success.
3 key elements to the model:
Portfolio value - identifying business value for every project by thinking of them as products
Stakeholder intimacy - understanding what people need. Identify the ‘why’ of what I&O teams do that benefits the business.
I&O motility - reducing tech debt, maturity, and governance to promote innovation
Ok, after 3 days, what do I believe are the top takeaways?
- #1: break down IT silos - NetOps, SecOps, DevOps - everyone works together to support digital business as one team in partnership WITH THE BUSINESS!
- #2: Infrastructure convergence & infrastructure everywhere - Secure Access Services Edge (SASE) is converging everything about your WAN edge and infrastructure AND it’s not just the data
center and the cloud, it’s everywhere your users and devices are located, including mobile. That’s the future of I&O.
And that brings my Gartner I&O Conference recap to a close. For more information on how Infovista can help you achieve many of the goals the Gartner I&O conference has spelled out, contact us today!