Thursday, 4 December 2014

The freedom of IT movement

Firms are increasingly relying on IT to deliver business advantages and the number of streams of data that have to be stored, managed and analysed are expanding.  This puts CIOs in a tough position. 

Forces such as cloud computing, data centre integration and security all have to be addressed, yet many IT leaders are spending vast amounts of money and time just maintaining their existing infrastructure.  This leaves little resource for innovation, in spite of increasing pressure from business leaders.  CIOs need to break out of this cycle and find new ways to get creative with technology, while making sure the lights stay on.

Outsourcing and creating a hybrid IT infrastructure is fast becoming the ‘go to’ solution to this problem.  A CenturyLink commissioned survey of 550 global IT leaders revealed that outsourcing day-to-day routines results in up to 11 percent savings in IT budgets.  In addition, outsourcing produces a higher rate of revenue growth for companies.

Companies that outsource expected to raise their investments in outsourcing by 19 percent within the next two years, according to the study.

A viable option for companies looking to take advantage of the cost benefits and expertise provided by wholesale outsourcing without completely relinquishing control, is colocation.  This model allows companies to reap the benefits of a large scale, knowledge driven data centre operation without the resource investments and costs of managing the infrastructure themselves.  Companies are able to house servers or devices in a third-party data centre; ensured of the appropriate bandwidth, security and power & cooling.

Flexibility is the key benefit of outsourcing to a third-party data centre.  Companies have the option to scale their IT infrastructure up and down dependent on business need, with minimal effort on their part, leveraging their provider’s geographic reach, economies of scale and technological reliability.

Another important benefit that companies can reap (in addition to facilitating innovation) is in the area of disaster recovery. With so much of modern companies’ business tied up in IT infrastructure, protecting assets from a potential disaster has become of paramount concern. Data loss prevention is a core focus of colocation providers, and sites are designed specifically to protect against data loss. Strategies to enhance back-up and support a business in the event of a total data failure are at the forefront of many colocation providers’ services.

In its paper, "Converging the Datacentre Infrastructure: Why, How, So What" IDC reinforces the theory that company performance is tied to an alignment of internal IT resources towards innovation, without compromising on the expertise needed to manage day-to-day maintenance and management tasks.  The analyst firm reported that by outsourcing one-third of infrastructure and related routine administrative tasks, CIOs are able to double the time spent on implementing innovative products and offerings.

Ultimately, to remain competitive and have an edge over the rest, CIOs have to be creative with the resources they have and do more with less.  Extreme pressure from data floods and ever changing business demands has reinforced the importance of a forward-thinking and infallible infrastructure. Outsourcing, in the form of colocation, is becoming the choice strategy, simply because it results in a more efficient and profitable company performance, while providing companies the best of both worlds – service expertise and freedom to innovate.

Guest blog by Mike Bennett, VP Global Data Centre Acquisition and Expansion at CenturyLink



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