Cloud Crunch
Cloud Crunch

Episode · 2 years ago

S1E15: 5 Strategic IT Business Drivers CXOs are Contemplating Now

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

What is the new normal for life and business after COVID-19, and how does that impact IT? We dive into the 5 strategic IT business drivers CXOs are contemplating now and the motivation behind those drivers. 

Read the corresponding blog article at https://www.2ndwatch.com/blog/five-strategic-business-drivers-cxos-contemplating-now/.

Involve, solve evolved. Welcome to cloud crunch, the podcast for any large enterprise planning on moving to or is in the midst of moving to, the cloud, hosted by the cloud computing experts from Second Watch. Ian Will be chief architect cloud solutions and Skip Berry Executive Director of cloud enablement and now here are your hosts of cloud crunch. Welcome back to cloud crunch. For this week's episode we have a special guest, Michael Elliott, who's one of our co workers in product marketing. Michael joins us with an interesting background working at a Dell, net APP and Sun Microsystems, some of the obviously leaders in technology for many, many years. So very, very diverse background there and very excited about this conversation. It also joined, as usual, with skip very, our cohost of this wonderful podcast at welcome, skip. How's it going today? Doing Goodie, doing good. Very interested in looking forward to interviewing Michael here as well. Yeah, Michael, well, welcome and look forward to having a great discussion. Absolutely appreciate it. Yeah, now, this is great. So what we're going to be discussing today is the five strategic itea business drivers that see xos are contemplating these days and always kind of like the baseline some of our conversations that we have and when we see see xl. Let's let's kind of drill in a little of what roles we're talking about, Michael. Well, it's a great point because you know, some organizations, ceio is driving, other organizations it's a CFO, other organizations it's a CTO. So I try not to limit it to one, one specific chief per se, and it's really all about thing, about what are the strategic business drivers over all that is going on and that we're needing to think about in this new normal. However you want to define this new normal and then, ultimately, what those six those need to be thinking about as far as how do I react? What do I do now? Yes, so let's pick out the new normal from definition perspective, from Your Lens, Michael. What is the new normal life after covid nineteen, etc. Well, you know, I look at this, there were many shades of gray. When we talk at business as whether your retailer, whether you're, you know, the Amazon, focusing on it, developing. Their many shades of gray about how you were going to approach from an IT perspective, how you were going to approach satisfying what you're CEO, what your board is trying to drive as far as growth strategies, going into new markets. Lots of shades of gray around that now because of this new normal where either you've made money over the last three months, you've, you know, kept kept the boat straight, you've been moving forward, you've taken the opportunities that remote work has brought to you and commerce is brought to you, or you've had no money the...

...past three months and now you've got to react to the fact that I'm starting to bring my company back out of this. What do I do? So it's either a choice between, from my perspective, either I got to make some significant cuts right now and it's going to get hit with the biggest one most likely. You know, I haven't had revenue in three months. I need to cut just to survive, or two, I'm going to take advantage of this situation to differentiate my company, to expand, to accelerate. So it's really a binomial. And then if we think about it in that binomial, look what are the things that I could do? Either on I need to cut or this is my opportunity to grow. It's fantastic. You know, obviously we've seen a lot of interesting announcements from some of the tech giants about work from home policies going forward and seems like there's maybe an acceleration of some decision making associated with the remote workforce. How might the new normal impact it organizations? Well, it's funny because, you know, we've heard a lot around the last couple months. People were just in survival mode and now they're coming out of this survival mode saying what, what do we do now? Now I'm ready to start making some decisions. So from an IT perspective, and we think about it from a remote workforce. You know, I just read a report from CEO Magazine today talking about how hiring within it that the ones that are being aggressive, the ones are thinking, for to how do I take advantage of these opportunities? They're looking out and saying I can now hire a lot of people. I've learned how to hire remotely, I've learned how to operate in a mode that allows it to be remote. I can now open up and look at a lot more capabilities, a lot more competencies out there that I don't have to move to my office and I think that's opening up a lot within the industry of who we hire and it's also for the people being hired. Looking at they now have the opportunity to say, I'm going to work from Montana, I'm going to work from the mountains, I'm going to work from the beach and still be able to perform my job but do it on my terms, and that's changing things as well. But along with that it's creating a lot of risk. Well, when I said those risks, do you think? Well, I mean I look at that. When we first had to go to a model of being completely remote, we did a lot of things that, from a security perspective, probably weren't the right direction, but we did it because we had to do it and that's opened up a lot of security holes. It's open up a lot of things that we don't know. What we don't know, and now all of a sudden we have people dialing in VPN and and other with it, citrics or how they're using it to come into our data center remotely. That I'm not sure I know. Who's all in my day to center in that point. So there's a lot of work that needs to go on to say and look at Hey, who are all these people? I need to get control of this before Russia or before some third world type of country finds out...

...about the holes that I've exposed. I need to start plugging those up. So that's another one of the strategic business drivers, just thinking about the security what's gone on around that and reducing the risk that I've opened up, I guess. So with that in mind and you get obviously your your challenge, because the polarity of saving, cost, cutting costs, and yet you have to actually act quicker, faster and, you know, make them out and move. How's The CX? So how are they grappling with this? From what you've read, what you've been observing? Well, on those that are really focused on the cost model, things that were in flight are still pretty much in flight. But when you think about it, you've got a certain percentage, whether it's sixty percent, whether it's eighty percent, this is just focused on keeping the lights on, keeping the applications running, everything around that, and then that other percentage that was really focused on what are the new stuff we can do? What are the new applications? How do we take advantage of you know iote artificial intelligence. Well, those got paused for those that are cost conscious. And now the thing. Well, I'm just going to focus now my money on keeping the lights on. Well, how do I save cost around there? What are the things I need to think about around there? And managing data centers is probably not on the high list. Now to transition from a data center. How do I get out of the data center business? How do I move from that, you know, capital expenditure to an operational expenditure kind of model. That takes time, but we're starting to see, and I'm starting to hear a lot of a lot of the large enterprise to start to think about I want out of that model, when? I want owt that model fast. I don't want to have thirteen, twenty data centers. Maybe I get that down to a couple data centers. In the rest I start either consolidating into what I have or moving to the public clouds. So we're seeing a lot of movement acceleration towards how do I go into the public cloud? How do I go into the public cloud effectively, cost effectively? How do I bring security into that? How do I bring compliance into that? And they don't really have necessarily the skill set to do that in a quick efficient manner. So they're looking for outside companies do to help provide a little bit of guidance around that. That's interesting, Michael. So what about the customers and businesses that are already in the cloud? What of the C EXOS contemplating from that angle, you know, in the new norm here as well. Well. It all depends on where they are in a cloud. So you have people that have moved specific applications into the cloud. There others that have fully embraced the cloud, and I think what we're seeing, we're seeing this from a lot of large companies, is okay, I'm in there. How do I optimize within there? I know I'm getting that that monthly bill and wow, I'm not sure I really expected that bill to be at that level. So what can I do to optimize around that? Are there reductions that I could do without hurting application efficiency,...

...but are there different things I can do around reducing the cost getting more efficient? Looking into those types of things. And then there's a second part of that whereas you know, I've got a lot of data now in the cloud. How do I start to take advantage of all that data that I'm moving in there, bring in other data and then use tools like artificial intelligence, use different types of application development methodologies to take advantage of the data, get power out of that data and get a little closer to understanding my customers, understanding my customers intentions, trying to think, you know, three steps ahead of where they're headed. So I'm making sure that I'm building the products and solutions that they're going to want. Not An easy task, but there's a lot of applications, there's a lot of development, there's a lot of tools within the public cloud that can enable that pretty quickly and pretty seamlessly. That's interesting. It is a challenge, but what my deduction out of that is really you know, even an unhealthy times a good, healthy business model of controlling cost is still appropriate, whether you're on Prim trying to move to the cloud, or whether you're in the cloud and try to optimize. You know, in some Relas, you're absolutely right skipping into amazing how many people that we talked to that are in the cloud that don't think that way. They don't think about the optimization that could occur and and maybe it's a part of they don't know what they don't know, and I am I'm always fearful of that which I don't know, so I'm always doing a lot of reading try to understand. But when we go in and have conversations about how, you know, we could save you twenty percent off your cloud bill right now now, with with some tools and methodologies and capabilities and the strategy of how we approach that, and look at that. Three months ago they were like not a priority. Right now now it is a priority. Now we're starting to see people, I do care about that, how can you help me? Pretty and I think we're seeing with a lot of organizations we deal with that and this I think it goes across the board, not just our industry, but anytime you have adversity, that it becomes a Lens, a magnifier Lens. You're either going to accelerate or you're going to shut down. So that we see a lot of companies that are stagnant on making decisions, even more so than they were prior and then we see some some of the healthier or the people are willing to change, to really accelerate and say, you know what, we're going to move forward. We've got to. It's the only option. So dealing with those type to companies, what are some of the newer things or newer technologies that you're seeing the out there that they're starting to embrace? Well, I mean I want to kind of talk about your point first, about stagnation. It's amazing that the paralysis that occurred in the industry around what do we do? We don't help that. That came loud and clear over the past three months and people are starting to wake up and understand...

...there are things that I need to take advantage of, there are things I need to do to start looking at improving customer experience, and I talked a little bit about that. As far as machine learning artificial intelligence, if you haven't taken advantage of those capabilities, the public cloud is a perfect place. They have the tools, they have a lot of the systems already in place that you're not writing the code. You don't have to necessarily be the data science and data engineers to start taking advantage of those types of things. They're already out there. But I couple that with now. If you're not digitally aware, if you're not thinking about now, this is my opportunity to bring products to market. Faster and how do I make that happen? You're already losing. You're sitting in that stagnation. So you have to start thinking about how do I change? How is my business model going to change? What do I need to look like as a company now, eighteen months from now to make sure that when this next cycle hits, that I'm in you know, I'm not being absorbed by companies or I'm not going out of business. I'm expanding, I'm growing my company because of the things I did today. Who's going to survive, Michael? What is the so I guess from an adaptability perspective, is it the ones that, you know, know how to control costs or the ones that know how to innovate through this time? What's your opinion really, at the end of the day? Yeah, and it's probably a blend that, and you know Ian said it perfectly, is there's never a there's never bad time to control costs right, but don't control cost at the expense of not looking forward, at not looking at how I need to grow, how I need to change. So when you ask who's going to survive, it's going to be those people that are looking at technology to think about how can it enable me going forward? How can it be an advocate for creating a better customer experience? which new technologies am I going to embrace that are going to enable digital transformation? And digital transformation, a lot of people think is an overused term. It's not. We need to all be thinking about digital transformation. Call it what you want, but we need to be thinking about how do we enable it, how do we enable a better customer and client experience? How do we attract, engage in delight those customers, and what is the technology alogy is going to enable me to do that and start thinking in those terms and put that Lens on. So then when it go in and I talked to the CEO, I go in and talk to the CFO, say I want to make these strategic investments, and this is are the strategic investments that I think are going to enable their going meet our business drivers, that are going to meet our business goals and are going to allow us to be successful eighteen months from now, and put on that Lens. I think if we start to think about it in those ways, they'll still it gives us a better chance a survival. Now certain industries clearly are going to struggle unless they reinvent themselves. That's going to be and...

...that's going to be universal. This this new normal, though, a sped up that process. Yeah, yeah, I don't know if you're all familiar with the show called build a bigger on the science channel. was out a few years ago, but one of the episodes really resonates with me these days and it's they were down in the South American minds. The area was unstable because of just the geography and the fault lines. So often there was collapses or, of course, explosions when they're mining. But what they did was they trained themselves that any time that there was a large boom or shift in the land, they stood still and they sat there for a second and then they orientated themselves and then made the decision. What I've been seeing recently is sometimes people like which need a day too, like we just want a machine learning and I think what you're really hitting on is to take the moment think about it, say what is the outcome you're really looking for, and I think it's okay to pause for a second and just think through it and then then act. No, absolutely, and then it comes down to it not being a separate organization to having to see that the table in supporting, supporting the business goals. Ultimately, CEO drives. What are the business goals for the company? We look to the CEO to understand how we need to drive our company Ford. It is there to support as well as be a part of, an enabler of those business goals. And if we like you say and we pause, we think about what those business goals are and how it can help enable that, that gives us the best chance of being successful. Yeah, I think you know. That goes ready to reducing risk. Right. It's taken the time to plan and think through it and not stagnant. Of course, there's always risk associated with all business decisions. No, completely agree. There's always risk, but there's greater risk of atrophy. There's greater risk of doing nothing. So we have to make decisions. Let's let's pause, let's understand where the business needs to drive towards and go forward. And I go back to back when I was in Grad School, the chief marketing officer blockbuster came in and I'm probably going to date myself a little bit, but came in and talked about at that time. You know how blockbuster was doing really, really well and all the cxos thought they were doing so great, and then the world kind of shifted. This is before Netflix, and the world kind of shifted a little bit and they all looked at each other and they are all doing a lot of different task really hard, but they weren't rowing the boat straight. So they're all going in off and their own different directions. They said. Once we kind of understood what each of us were doing or and not enabling the business to throw forward, we all got back in the boat and start to understand and focus on what that end result needed to be and always look back to that. As you know, one these pauses do give you the opportunity to think about that strategic direction and make...

...sure that everybody is marching towards that strategic direction. But the other side of that is but there's always someone else who's ready to displace you. So if you're not thinking about one those business objectives and but number two, where that market is going in eighteen months or two years from now, you're always at risk for being swamped. Absolutely and I still have a couple of blockbuster tapes I've been trying to return. There's still one left I hear that's still one matter. There's one left it. I thought I thought the last one was gone. I mean, what the fact that one? Yeah, yeah, we will. I wanted to tive in a little bit more in the customer experience. You know, it's always been a struggle. Right, it will always been a struggle. Some, some companies do it much better than others and obviously this industry that do it much better than others as well. You know, from from a second watch perspective, being in professional services. Are Cloud enablement. You know, we're looking at things. Working with customers through this challenging times is, you know, it's not. You know, we're working with them right. It's not for free, it's not whatever. It's not the charity program but realizing and recognizing, you know, it's an ecosystem. If they don't exist, we don't exist and what have you. So I'm wondering, you know, from looking at this at a very, you know, again stratostoric view or would have you like, how does that permeate? What does some relationships from a cloud centric perspective of you know, where businesses are moving in the cloud? What's the technology out there that they leverage to improve, whether it's like something like a ws with the call center or something like that. You know, you could tie in cost reduction, you could tie in, you know, basically making better decisions, quicker decisions, those kind of things. Do you see that movement, Michael, happening so far? You know, is there a trend that's moving in that direction, that is customers are looking at that now? Well, I'm going to answer your question by actually not answering your questions. All right, and the reason I say that is I think there's there's three stages of the customer experience that every company needs to think about. It's the attract how do I get clients and prospects and to the door? Once I get them in the door and I have a conversation, how do I engage them? And then, once, you know, once they become a partner of ours, how do I delight them going forward? So, from a perspective, you talk about professional services. When we're working with clients, how do we, you know, how do we delight them? And we delight them by bringing solutions to them? Number one, doing our job. Number One, do our job, but number two, how do we do more than that? How do we delight them. How do we bring in new competencies, new capabilities that they're not thinking about? You talked about, you know itbs call centers. How do we bring those type of solutions that they haven't thought about to them? How do we become that trusted advisor? I think that's that's important for any organization as they work with their prospects and more zoo work with our clients,...

...becoming that trusted advisor. They don't want to be sold. Clients want someone that partners with them, that helps them solve problems, that understand their business, and I think that's a key to it and that's an important part for second wants to understand is we have access to a lot more technology and knowledge within our industry that we can bring forth that the clients don't know about. It's important for us to be able to be that trusted advisor, to bring that information, to show them how other companies may be solving similar problems and bring that knowledge to them. Totally agree. Coincidentally, but I yeah, that's it. It in in the grand scheme. Yes, it is. It doesn't matter if it's second watch. It would have you. I think any any position like that is right right now in the world really to have that, that stature, if you will. So absolutely yeah, and I think sometimes because people are having a challenge. You know, I'm proud to say that we've helped some clients out that we may, you know, in a normal times may have said, well, you know, we can't do that. I'm sorry, but we all got to help each other out. Got To get through this right. Yeah, exactly. So likely you have a blog and in the show notes were definitely going to want to put the link to that. But you have some inspirations in there for the quotes, and want to talk a little bit about where this come from. So my undergraduate degree is I'm actually a mathematician, and as a mathematician you're also somewhat interested in philosophy. So when I went to Grad School and start to operate on the other side of my brain a little bit, I always looked at quotes as a way of how to distill really, really important information to quickly, and so I look at quotes and I really engage with quotes understand. Like you know, the first one I was look at Antoine to stay an Nexperty, and I'm not friends to my apologies about the time for action is now. It's never too late to do something, and that just really resonates with me around you know, analysis, paralysis of two huns point, let's pause, but then let's have action, let's develop a plan and have action versus going I don't know what to do, I'm going to do nothing. So I look at quote as a way of distilling a whole lot of information into a single point. So if you go up to my blogs, of which you know you can find them within Second Watch, I also maintain my own blog of Elliott Michaelcom, you'll start to see a lot of just interesting quotes that help kind of drive my thought process and how to distill very strategic information down into action. More fantastic. Well, Michael, I really want to thank you for your time today. Skip always good to see your smiling. Yeah as well. Yeah, yeah, yeah, you two in and and and Michael. Thank you for joining us. It's great. Absolutely appreciate it. Well, audience, thanks again for joining us. We're always, as you know, looking for suggestions and feedback. Please reach us at cloud crunch, at second watchcom and we'd love to hear from you. We look...

...forward to speaking with you again and the near future. Thank you. You've been listening to cloud crunch with Ian Willoughby and skip Berry. For more information, check out the block second watchcom company block, or reach out to Second Watch on twitter.

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