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By David Angradi, Director, Software-Defined Solutions, Logicalis US

You’re either a disrupter, or you’re being disrupted.  That’s one of the most thought-provoking statements that I’ve heard lately, and it is oh-so-true.  If you think about what’s happening in retail, for example, many traditional brick-and-mortar retailers have been caught completely off guard by the rise of significant online retailers, and by the time they realized what the problem was, it was too late to turn the ship around.

Why? One simple fact: Their IT systems weren’t ready.  When there’s a new disruptive force in any industry, the difference between success and failure is usually the speed at which competing organizations can adapt.  The larger the organization, the more difficult it is to turn on a dime, particularly so when the company’s computing systems are siloed and unable to interact with one another.  As a result, the whole idea of “digital transformation” is based on the need to drive more speed in business.  But, for most organizations, there are four roadblocks standing in the way – and how you handle those roadblocks may be the thing that saves your company when sudden change take place in your industry.

Lack of Cooperation

IT has long stood alone as an independent department, set apart from R&D, marketing and sales.  But for businesses to gain the agility they seek, stakeholders from every department must have a seat at the decision-making table. Silos have to become a thing of the past, an issue that many organizations are struggling with today. A lack of companywide cooperation when it comes to IT decision-making, however, will leave the organization vulnerable.  Instead of being a disrupter, you’ll be disrupted because you weren’t ready when change came knocking on your door.

Lack of Integrated Toolsets

When businesses acquire IT technologies, they typically do so to meet a specific project need or to solve a defined problem, but there is often no collaboration between siloed groups within IT or between IT and the larger organization as a whole. As a result, over a period of years, while these organizations have acquired significant IT assets, they have failed to integrate the tools they have in one department with those in other parts of the business. If you want to avoid these problems, when purchasing new infrastructure and software, choose from a suite like HP’s that is designed to enable you to accelerate your path to the software-defined data center (SDDC). Until recently, few businesses thought that way. Imagine a developer, for example, that needs a new virtual machine for DevOps. IT tells R&D that it will take several weeks to deploy each new virtual machine, but the development team needs to deliver new applications every six to eight weeks.  The company won’t be able to compete unless it makes a change.

Lack of Insight

The first step in getting control of the whole environment is to take an inventory of what exists.  Without integrated operational tools in place, having an up-to-date view of what the IT environment looks like is nearly impossible, and you cannot manage what you don’t know exists.  To create a high-velocity IT environment, you need to have automated processes in place that allow users to spin resources up and down at will, and it all starts with brining in the right tools to help inventory what is there now and to integrate those solutions to provide competitive advantage to the organization as a whole.

Lack of Maturity

The previous three problems combined create an IT organization that lacks the maturity to tackle disruptive innovations. If an organization is stuck in traditional IT processes, it lacks the flexibility to take advantage of agility-enhancing IT solutions like cloud, mobility, IoT and BYOD.  To resolve this, CIOs must first gain control of the IT environment, inventory solutions, and implement automation and orchestration to drive efficiencies; then, when a disruptive technology hits, you won’t have to inventory the environment before making a move because that has already been done. When the organization needs to respond to a new demand in the market, you will have full control of the IT environment, and your company’s stakeholders can react quickly.  The key is to extract the IT intelligence that is currently buried deep within the various silos throughout the organization and put it into the software-defined layer.

Want to learn more? You’re closer to software-defined than you think; find out where to start in this Logicalis blog, then explore the Logicalis software-defined microsite to learn more. Examine the benefits of a software-defined data center and the relationship between SDDC and the service-defined enterprise. Then, download a Logicalis white paper, “IT by Wire: Delivering IT at the Speed of Business.