Where to Invest in Your IT Infrastructure
After a period of relatively flat investment – due to political and economic uncertainty – more organizations are anticipating revenue growth. This has put them in the position of increasing their IT budgets and starting to spend again.
The primary drivers of growth will be digital business projects. National and global businesses are beginning to understand the inherent cost savings available when the entire business cycle – from customer engagement to product sourcing and manufacturing – is initiated and kept in the digital realm.
Let’s look at three trending investment opportunities: software as a service (SaaS), Intelligent Management Systems and Cybersecurity.
The SaaS Opportunity
Enterprise application software is poised to benefit from the newly found dollars, with much of that falling under the SaaS category. SaaS is becoming more popular and the growing availability of SaaS-based products is encouraging new adoption and spending in areas such as financial management systems, human capital management and analytics applications.
The inevitable progression from big data to analytics algorithms and machine learning to artificial intelligence will continue unabated. However, while organizations are eager to shift more of their technology spending toward innovative efforts and delivering greater returns, the complexity of digitization and limited technology budgets remain significant barriers for many.
This leads to opportunities for SaaS-based products, and the growing availability of these is proving that the market is substantial.
Intelligent Management Systems
The same trends are also pointing to opportunities for the proliferation of intelligent management systems.
While the industry may be getting closer to the day when cloud deployments will account for the majority of spending on IT infrastructure, many organizations will require that their assets, which maintain customer data, remain in-house.
Private cloud and traditional hardware-centric enterprise data centers are not going away, and the deployment of intelligent management systems provide reliable ROI. The ability of these systems to provide proactive network analysis and automated control provides a high degree of reliability and efficiency.
Today’s intelligent management systems are scalable and flexible enough – some are SaaS-based – to grow with your organization and adapt to shifting challenges. The increasing use of machine learning will yield tremendous benefits as it is truly a force multiplier – dramatically increasing the effectiveness of your CIO’s team.
Take a Look at Cybersecurity
Another area of spending that should be seriously considered is security.
Even though security exploits frequently consume the headlines of technology blogs and news outlets, CIOs still find it difficult to adequately fund cybersecurity initiatives.
But cybersecurity is like an insurance policy. In addition to obvious brand degradation, companies that are attacked frequently incur legal fees, hours of overtime remediating issues and difficulty making other deadlines. It’s a nightmare for any organization.
A successful cybersecurity program incorporates knowledge about threats and implements controls that reduce, if not mitigate, cyber risks to business. Reliable cybersecurity programs depend on a concerted effort by the entire organization to assimilate security activities into their business processes.
Unfortunately, building or maintaining a mature cybersecurity program also requires investing resources throughout the organization that support security initiatives.
With the inherit risk of an exploit so high – coupled with the numerous complexities of a cybersecurity program – you might think that organizations are adequately funding these initiatives. But that’s just not the case.
Cybersecurity is a commitment that is very hard to implement in many companies. That, combined with the necessity of ongoing training, system monitoring, analysis and other required resources make cybersecurity an expensive issue that many C-level managers try to avoid. This can only be viewed as shortsighted.
Ask the Right Questions
Overall, to determine where to best invest your dollars, you need to understand how new technologies work and where they are going in the future. You need to know how your organization – and your competitors’ organizations – might use them. Questions to ask include:
- Is it relevant to my customers?
- Is it going to make my decision-making better?
- Is it going to move the revenue needle for my organization?
When you look at proposals for new technology initiatives, make sure that you understand what the full cost will be over the long haul. But more importantly, consider whether the technology is in alignment with your long-term strategy.