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IT leaders: being innovated in challenging times

Guest authors Noa Asher and Oscar Garcia from NTT share their insights on moving ahead following the major shake-up of the past few years

Illustration. BIGSTOCK/Copyright: Achi_Studio
Illustration. BIGSTOCK/Copyright: Achi_Studio

Nowadays, the need to innovate now and into the future is extremely important in technology-led businesses- basically- most large organizations today. From marketing, to finance, to human resources, the pressure is on to meet today’s needs in a more agile, digitally-savvy way, while also ensuring that the groundwork is laid to adapt to tomorrow’s market shifts and technology trends.

This has made predicting the future of technology a very important skill for many who work outside of IT. Accurately forecasting needs while responding to immediate, time-sensitive challenges is now an essential factor to maintain day-to-day operations.

The pandemic caused a lot of tension for businesses in relation to their short- and longer-term thinking, the expectations placed on businesses’ technology infrastructure shifted dramatically, as both employees and customers suddenly needed to access services, information and products through different routes and from different devices. Therefore, businesses that invested more in remote and hybrid working models had an easier time handling this.

Nonetheless, even businesses that were well-prepared are now likely to be uncertain about network structures and resource allocation. But while there’s a gap between where businesses are and where they need to be as far as infrastructure, this uncertainty is also an opportunity. It offers a chance to introduce a new mindset around how business infrastructure is built and run.

Hybrid work brought a lot of complexity to businesses and the reality is that this situation is not temporary. The consequences of a distributed workforce will continue for many years, as technology vendors implement new and better solutions implemented in various ways to empower their staff to do better, smarter work.

Those additional ways of working will add to an already complex networking dynamic, leading to both friction in the employee experience and potential security issues as more software and more types of connection come into play.

An old-school mindset based on a static, office-based network model with specific exceptions will not be fit for the reality today, never mind tomorrow. Instead, businesses need to start strategizing with the assumption that the network will be flexible and dynamic – making it easier to manage.

While this might seem like a big challenge, major and immediate change is not the best path for delicate systems; instead, there are specific, smaller steps that organizations can take today which will advance them them towards this model of infrastructure.

There are a few steps an organization can take to make this transition easier:

1. All businesses need to test infrastructure in collaboration with its users.

2. Managing changing networking environments will require automation.

3. While the skills needed to create a flexible approach to infrastructure from scratch are scarce, the insights needed to enable future-proof systems are relatively portable across different businesses.

Businesses are in a state of significant change and reprioritization and the need to innovate isn’t going away, any more than hybrid working will. Now is the moment for infrastructure leaders to learn how to move with that change more effectively.

Co-author Noa Asher is the CEO of NTT's Innovation Lab in Israel, whose mission is to leverage Israel’s cutting-edge technology to support the evolution of NTT and customer businesses and promote innovation and digital transformation.

Co-author is Oscar Garcia, responsible for NTT's Cloud and Managed Services Strategy.

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