Digitally Speaking
Fork in the road

Chris Gabriel
April 11, 2019

A recent report featured in TechRepublic claimed that 41% of business leaders thought their ‘digital transformation programme’ had been a waste of time and money.

Reasons for this near 50% failure rate in delivering on business expectations were varied, from a lack of engagement with front line colleagues (63%) to a lack of engagement with business analysts (39%), and strikingly 79% of executives saying they had failed to analyse existing business processes and assess where improvements could be made before striking out on transformation.

Given those responses, it wasn’t a surprise to find that 42% of senior business leaders had no idea where to start in finding areas of their business where some sort of digital intervention could deliver improvements.

On the face of it, it all sounds a bit of muddle, and clearly, this article points out some rather obvious gotchas.

Never start a major investment without a clear reason for doing so

Unlike in the old-world (BD – Before Digital), the challenge today is there is always a moving end-goal that organisations will only ever get to in stages. Digital is not an overnight sensation.  Digital takes time and time is an organisations biggest advantage and greatest enemy.

Imagine being a UK bank that announced a major branch opening program in the heady days of 2006?  Within a year or two the economic crash, change in customer behavior and the launch of the iPhone meant that online and mobile banking would become the norm.   That first banking app was pretty basic.  Now you can transfer money to friends on the fly, pay for a coffee through tap payments, and save the change from a transaction to an investment account.  But that took 10 years to develop; and who could have guessed right back then how mobile banking would pan out?

I have some sympathy with those executives who do not know where to start or feel they have wasted time and money because their first attempts to ‘go digital’ have not returned all they expected.

But, being sympathetic is cold comfort to those embarking for the first or second time on a delivering some new business outcomes through digital investments.

So, when the CEO, CFO, COO and CIO sit down around a table and discuss digital and ponder the time it may take or the destination they may reach, I think there is a key word they should all keep in mind, and that is adaptability.

As a famous US general once said, there are known knowns, known unknowns, and unknown unknowns. The best thing you can do is assume that during a transformation initiative they will all happen, so try to plan accordingly.

Think adaptability as your new value proposition back to your business

Build adaptable operational models, adaptable platforms, and a new set of skills that can adapt what you invest in not only to the immediate business need, but also to the changes that will inevitably come over time.

Application developers have been agile and scrumming for a while now; that’s how that banking app keeps on adapting to changing consumer behavior and industry changes. So, let’s scrum down on platforms as much as we do on the applications that use them.

Cloud is a great example (or should be) of creating adaptable into the model.

Remember when the rule was no cloud, but the business moved CRM there anyway? When owning the largest data center in your sector was a badge of honor?   Adaptable IT Departments now use cloud services as adaptable resources, consuming services as they make sense to their business, and ensuring they can wrap security, governance, integration, cost control and workload mobility around those services.  Now they are seamlessly connecting their internal compute and storage resources to public cloud services, so they can adapt workloads to the most appropriate location and maintain full governance and control.

Remember when you bought a firewall and you were told to a) put some rules in to protect your business and b) never ever touch the thing again without a 3-month sign off process from the business.  In the world of static threats that was sensible model. But in a world of social change, hyper-connectivity and mobile working, and a changing threat landscape, the smart CISO is building an adaptable intelligent security operating model that protects their organisation far more effectively than the static firewall ever could and delivers on the flexibility the business demands.

If the digital initiative happens to be IoT the network must be ready to adapt many times over; in fact, it will never stop.  That very first POC of a connected home to deliver health and social care in the NHS will likely involve 1 central location and 10 homes, but will if successful soon be 100, 1000, or 10,000 homes and is going to need a network that can adapt quickly and securely.

So, to those business leaders who are starting out on the digital journey, do your homework, gather your evidence, engage with your people, and get into those business processes to ensure you know why you are starting.  But, don’t be concerned if you cannot pick the day and time of the first benefits accurately, or if you have to change course as new evidence appears and fresh opportunities present themselves.

Adaptability is your friend; you have time on your side.

Category: News

Students working together at university

Richard Simmons
March 20, 2019

If you’re attending next week’s UCISA Leadership Conference, make sure to visit the Logicalis stand 83-90 to meet our higher education experts and see first hand how technology can create a connected campus to improve student safety, reduce costs and transform experiences.

The UCISA19 Leadership Conference takes place between 27 and 29 March at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre. The highlight of our presence at the event will be a live demonstration of a connected campus, which aims to show how investment in foundation services can help to bring previously siloed technologies and datasets together. By making the network the enabler, we’ll show how campus furniture – in this case a lamppost – can be used to securely collect actionable sensor data, which when analysed can enable, for example, student safety measures.

UCISA logo
As Cisco’s UK & Irelands first IoT authorised partner we will be demonstrating the latest in digital network automation to show how this can improve the IT team’s ability to design, provision and manage network services, creating seamless secure experiences across any network or device.

Register for a demonstration

Logicalis UK’s strong track record within higher education (we work with over 40 universities), is evidenced by our work with the University of Wolverhampton on an IT transformation project that enabled it not only to meet current needs, but also to provide a platform for future digital innovation. This partnership has, so far, resulted in a number of benefits for the University’s community. Savings of £33,000 have been made by retiring unused applications and transitioning from legacy systems and an 83% reduction in the cost of creating and operating a virtualised server has been achieved. Speak to our on-stand experts to learn how we can achieve similar for other academic institutions.

To keep up to date with all our activities make sure you follow us on social media:

Category: News

Gary Lomas
March 13, 2019

The role of the CIO is transforming, from its position in the C-suite hierarchy to the very footprint it covers. This week, we welcome guest blogger Paul Pugh, Mason Advisory Director, to give his view on the Logicalis Global CIO survey findings and tell us what’s keeping his clients awake at night.

Security is top of the agenda

We live in an age where IT is no longer just an enabler but is now becoming an integral part of the business. In many cases, IT is actually the business’ competitive advantage. And with the growing importance of IT to the operation and continued growth of the vast majority of business sectors, it’s little wonder that the number one concern and biggest source of investment for CIOs is information security.

The more we digitise our businesses; the more we empower the end user, the more important information security becomes. And with the growing threat of intrusion the more proactive CIOs must be.

Historically, information security was all about being reactive. But in this ever-changing threat landscape, CIOs are focusing on proactive security, channelling investment into systems that stop threats happening.

Cyber resilience combines defence with detection and recovery; accepting some attacks are going to make it through the toughest of barriers. This move to a cyber resilience posture is a growing trend among our clients. Effective cyber risk management involves a much wider approach to information security, and this year we have certainly witnessed the human dimension of cyber security gain more attention.

According to research from the recent CIO Survey, while ransomware, crypto-jacking and social engineering remain a key focus for CIOs, there has been growing concern over the lack of staff training and awareness, data breaches and malicious insiders. CIOs are now considering the ‘human firewall’ alongside traditional security technology.

Innovation earns IT its place at the top table

Over the last ten years, we’ve witnessed the changing role of the CIO and this trend is really gathering momentum. The need to innovate is possibly the biggest catalyst for change. One area of focus is within DevOps. There seems to be a growing mentality of continual release where newer, richer functionality is continually being delivered to the end user, and the CIO is integral to that.

Today, better, faster, more scalable technology is almost a given. Now, innovation is how we can support the business to provide a better experience to the end user, and how we can make sure our internal processes are more agile, more secure, more available and performant.

The new breed of CIO is coming to the table with an appetite to understand more, to adopt new ways of working and to drive business strategy.

The anatomy of the IT estate is changing

The Global CIO Survey talks of the expanding footprint but shrinking core of the IT estate, in which the core – technology and services hosted on-premises and managed in-house – now accounts for less than two thirds (64%) of the IT estate. We have certainly witnessed this trend of CIOs moving services to the cloud and into the hands of third-party providers.

Lots of organisations are looking at SaaS products which allow them to manage costs more effectively. There will always be services that organisations have to customise or develop in-house. But for the more common services, there are benefits – not least financial – to moving to a SaaS system, as long as the appropriate governance is in place, otherwise the move to the cloud can offer additional service and commercial challenges.

As cloud security and reliability grows, many organisations are putting their faith in cloud services, from email and security to CRM and data storage. The CIO Survey results show that 24% of the IT estate is now in the cloud, whether that be managed in-house or by third parties.

The move to outsourcing and moving services to the cloud is driven, in part, by the need to devote more time to innovation and activities that drive business growth. As this movement continues, we will see the role of the CIO continue to be shaped by the need to innovate with technology, delivering better communication, more transparency and improved security. The pressures are certainly growing – but so is confidence to decide which systems and services to keep in-house and which to migrate to the cloud and third-parties. It’s certainly an exciting time to be a CIO.

Category: News

Richard Simmons
January 25, 2019

If you’re heading to Cisco Live, make sure you visit the Logicalis booth (S6) to meet our Cisco, security and IoT experts and find out how we can help you enhance business agility through digital transformation.

Cisco Live EMEA takes place between 28 January and 1 February at the Fira Gran Via in Barcelona, and we’re exhibiting in the ‘World of Solutions’ as well as presenting during the Cybersecurity Partner Day. This annual customer conference aims to inspire IT leaders and champions of digital transformation.  It presents a unique opportunity to acquire cutting-edge knowledge and skills on the technology that is already in use, and those that we’ll rely on in the future through meetings with, and presentations by Cisco experts and partners and unparalleled networking opportunities.  And that’s where we come in

Logicalis has a long history and strong relationship with Cisco. We’re one of only six Global Gold Partners and in November last year we scooped 14 Partner Summit awards across multiple territories and categories.

Meet us in Barcelona

We’ll be on stand S6 in the ‘World of Solutions’ for the whole week, so feel free to pop by for a chat with one of the team, or to view one of two demonstrations.

  • Digital Network Architecture – a roadmap to digitisation
    Find out how we integrate Cisco software defined access with industrial networking and IoT solution
  • Predictive threat analytics – automated detection and response
    Discover how we integrate Cisco Stealthwatch with IBM QRadar to provide full context and rich visibility into security information and event management (SIEM) applications.

David Angulo, Security BDM Consultant from our team in Spain will also be discussing integrating Cisco’s Behavioural Analytics Technology Stealthwatch with IBM’s SIEM QRadar during the Cybersecurity Partner Day on January 28 at our booth at 4pm.

Plenty of ways to keep in touch if you can’t make it to Barcelona!

To keep up to date with all our activities make sure you follow us on social media.

Cisco will be live steaming a lot of the show, so if you want to feel like you’re there and watch in real time visit CiscoLive.com/emea or YouTube.

Category: News

CIOs: Agents of Innovation

Gary Lomas
November 19, 2018

The role of the CIO is shifting dramatically away from day-to-day activity and ‘keeping the lights on’ towards a long-desired strategic focus, according to the findings of the sixth annual Logicalis Global CIO Survey. The global survey of more than 840 CIOs has identified long overdue, significant change in the role of CIOs across Europe, the Americas, the Far East and Australia.

Key Findings:

  • Innovation accounts for around 25% of the modern CIO’s role, with strategic activity (including innovation) accounting for around half of the role.
  • 94% of respondents spend between 10% and 50% of their time on innovation and other strategic activities, 38% spend at least 30% of their time on this area.
  • 73% of CIOs are measured on system availability and 62% on their success in reducing the cost of IT and risk mitigation
  • 22% of IT is now managed by external suppliers, and 24% is outside the corporate footprint.
  • 31% delegate day to day IT tasks due to lack internal resources or know-how

With great(er) power comes great(er) responsibility

This time last year we were hearing from CIOs that their roles were dominated by day to day IT management. In the 2017-18 survey, the majority of CIOs were spending between 60% and 80% of their time on ‘keeping the lights on’ and remained frustrated in their desire to spend up to 70% of their time on strategy.

It seems that their progress towards that goal over the last 12 months has been significant. Today, 94% of these IT leaders spend between 10% and 50% of their time on innovation and other strategic activities, and 38% spend at least 30% of their time on this area. On average, innovation accounts for around a quarter of the modern CIO’s role, with strategic activity (including innovation) accounting for around half of the role.

But, with this shift comes a seeming increase in expectation when it comes to measurement. Tellingly, half of CIOs (50%) now see their performance measured according to their ability to deliver service innovation and more than a third (35%) are expected to make a direct contribution to revenue growth – perhaps through digital transformation and by enabling product and service innovation through digital technology.

Against this backdrop it’s no surprise, then, to see CIOs more willing to seek outside help to manage day to day IT.  Overall 22% of the average CIO’s IT estate is now managed by third parties. What’s more, CIOs’ success in taking on a more strategic role appears to be enabling new, more agile and adaptable approaches to organisational innovation.

The way organisations think about innovation is changing, with strategies for innovation now most commonly about enabling small scale, everyday experimentation. Over a third (34%) of organisations now take that approach, with the large-scale projects that once dominated now accounting for less than a quarter (23%).

CIOs are playing a crucial role in this new approach to innovation.  When asked what role they play in organisation-wide innovation, 32% said they played a leading role, while a further 51% pointed to an enabling role. Innovation isn’t for all it seems, though, with an unlucky 13% admitting to playing only a peripheral role and 4% playing no role at all.

How CIOs are now spending their time

Positive signs for the future

These findings complement a number of key takeaways in a recent survey of CIOs by Gartner (2019 CIO Agenda: Secure the Foundation for Digital Business). It reports that digital progress has reached a tipping point where a half of respondents say their organisation’s business model has already changed or is changing. 95% of the Gartner respondents believe security threats will increase and calls for CIOs to: “Build relationships with the business and other stakeholders while communicating the value of IT for digital business”, something the Logicalis survey shows they are doing as “agents of innovation”.

We’re delighted to see CIOs enjoying success in taking on a long-desired more strategic role – no doubt helped by their increasing reliance on trusted third parties to take on more of the heavy lifting associated with day to day activities.

Most importantly, this shift seems to have enabled CIOs to take central roles in innovation. This is essential given that digital technology now sits at the heart of innovation, not just enabling better service delivery, communication or collaboration, but defining entirely new business propositions.

There is still a long way to go if organisations are to realise the full benefits of digital transformation. But the fact that CIOs and technology leaders are central to this innovation – rather than struggling to keep up – can only give us real optimism for the future.

The results of the global survey of more than 840 CIOs can be accessed here: https://www.logicalis-thinkhub.com/

Category: News

Jen Molyneux
November 16, 2018

This week saw the publication of CRN’s A-List, an annual guide that lists, in the words of the publication, “some of the movers and shakers that make up the channel elite”.

We’re delighted that two of our management team have been included, Managing Director Bob Swallow and COO Natalie Matthews (hot on the heels of her Women in Channel award), giving their views on on a variety of topics, ranging from who they would have play them in a film of their life, to their guiltiest pleasure, to the biggest untapped opportunity facing the channel.

Among the highlights were one Logicalis executive nominating Ray Winstone to play them in a film – your guess as to which of the two said this – and Natalie’s admission that her love of scented candles and roses may draw comparisons to Elton John! Bob identified the development of talent as the biggest opportunity for the channel, whilst Natalie cited doing digital transformation properly as a cause to get behind.

It’s a glowing endorsement of Logicalis UK that two of our executives were invited to take part, and you can find out more about what Bob and Natalie had to say – the full list is here.

Category: News

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