CIO, Cloud, Data Center, Opinion

PanelCast 2019 Predictions: The Evolution from Alignment to Digital Transformation and Going Beyond Hardware Buys

IT needs to meet all the needs of the business, but the business isn’t always interested in buying more stuff – tools, software, platforms, hardware, storage, networking, etc. How does the business forge ahead without IT just continuing to buy?

This blog post was created following ActualTech Media‘s inaugural PanelCast event, held in December of 2018.  This event addressed 2019 enterprise IT predictions in a discussion moderated by Scott D. Lowe, along with four industry experts, including Sirish Raghuram of Platform9, Theresa Miller of Cohesity, Mike Wronski of Nutanix, and Jeff Ready of Scale Computing.

If you’d like to watch our very first PanelCast, please visit

Panelist responses to this audience question:

The interests of IT have not always been in line with the interests of the business, since they have traditionally been focused on different priorities. But with greater collaboration in the future, we should begin to see more alignment. “The best case scenario is when your CIO is fully integrated with the business and working together with them,” says panelist Theresa Miller (Cohesity).

It also has to do with a shifting of the IT group to focus on business needs, so they can better solve problems, identify solutions that require less manpower, and avoid repeating mistakes.

The best solution for cost savings, however, goes back to consolidation. The market has become inundated with a “tools and operational sprawl,” says Sirish Raghuram (Platform9), and by focusing on consolidation, companies can begin to realize a true unified experience across operations and development.

Scott's Take

When things get hard, it’s easy to fall back into old tropes like “throwing hardware at problems” but that doesn’t generally get the business to where it really needs to go.  Instead, CIOs and other decision-makers need to take a more revolutionary approach, particularly as the rest of the business seeks to focus squarely on the customer experience and other critical items through the implementation of digital transformation initiatives.

And, as we enter a period in which we’re almost certainly going to see a slowdown in the economy, IT will be asked to tighten up and focus on maximizing current investments.  That’s going to mean thinking differently about infrastructure and its role supporting applications.  Looking for ways for IT to automate infrastructure operations so that they can focus on digital initiatives will be paramount.

For CIOs, every year is a make-or-break year.  Honestly, every year is such, but each year, it’s for a different reason.  In 2019, modern CIOs will need to prove their mettle by demonstrating a deep understanding and appreciation for truly linking technology and the business, but not in ways that we’ve undertaken before.  While a great number of CIOs have made this leap, the fact remains that there are a great many more than haven’t and are rooted in historical operations.

In 2019, for an internal IT operations focus, CIOs should center their efforts around driving as much efficiency as possible into the infrastructure environment.  Make the routine things happen, well, routinely.  If you’ve already managed to wring 100% efficiency from your infrastructure the next step is to get into the rest of the business more deeply and push hard on initiatives that can drive revenue and outcomes.