Yet another Gartner Symposium/ITxpo is in the books. The annual analyst conference regularly draws several thousand of the industry’s top CIOs and senior IT executives for a week-long event in Orlando. And each year, the show seems get more business-strategy focused – as organizations take a digital-first approach to achieve company goals. This year was certainly no different.

With strategic IT as a backdrop, analysts highlighted the biggest initiatives in the coming year. Many of the discussions focused on disruptive technologies demanding the CIO’s attention – suggesting that companies act now or risk being left behind.

From Hybrid IT to Cloud Managed Services, our team is seeing many of these trends at work across our customer base as well. Several of these technologies have the potential to drive significant ROI across their organizations. Here’s what we feel are the Top 5:

  1. Hybrid IT: It’s quickly become THE most pervasive IT infrastructure model, allowing organizations to match workloads with business requirements across a blend of in-house and third-party services. Our theme of “This Way to Hybrid IT” resonated with attendees, with discussions focusing on Digital Transformations – and how Hybrid IT fuels true technology and organizational change. With the power to work smarter, act more quickly and scale nearly on-demand – the model is now also meeting many of the stringent security and control requirements mandated for sensitive data. Meeting the challenge is effectively choosing a range of services to accelerate agility while minimizing cost.
  1. The Digital Platform: But Hybrid IT is just one part of the equation. Customers are shifting their infrastructures to capture the power of virtualized IT environments for real change. Analysts believe customers must now adapt to the new “Digital Platform” which encompass five areas: IT Services, People, Things, Intelligence, and Ecosystem. Enterprises will prioritize each area based on unique business goals and models. CenturyLink® Hybrid IT solutions are perfectly aligned for this movement – empowering customers to build platforms supported by an integrated core infrastructure.
  1. Securing the Environment: As always, IT security is top-of-mind for CIOs. And the advent of new cyberattacks, advanced bots and phishing means enterprises are on high alert. Industry analyst estimate the damage from hacks cost businesses as much as $400 billion per year. Security becomes even more complex with the adoption of hybrid models – thus organizations must enhance investments to protect “at-risk” applications. Managed Security is a viable alternative, allowing qualified service providers to dedicate resources and infrastructure to engineer flexible, real-time security foundations that maximize uptime. IT staff can then be more proactive and waste less time responding to incidents.
  1. Talent Management: The digital transformation is here and creating real business change. But success is more than technology itself. A reliable talent infrastructure is essential to support IT strategies – ensuring teams are fully aligned for digitization. Unfortunately, cost and resource constraints mean some are unable to effectively prepare for emerging trends like Big Data and IoT. The service provider approach is proven effective under this scenario, infusing dedicated resources and expertise to accelerate new business transformations.
  1. The Evolving CIO: The demand for transformation is constructing a common thread across the entire infrastructure. To succeed, CIOs are required to prepare for the digital age. Executives must shift priorities from day-to-day IT operational efficiency to business growth. This mandates tightly linking IT strategy with business outcomes. It also means exploring new avenues like Hosting and Colocation – shaking up legacy processes and accelerating the value of IT.

With the event firmly in our rear-view mirror, it’s time to take charge of the infrastructure – building on lessons learned and stimulating true business change. Capitalizing on strategic IT and aligning with the right partner allows CIOs to fully embrace the digital transformation. Let CenturyLink help you build the best roadmap for success!

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  1. Patrick J Jordan

    Conservative IT Management will need a diverse physical connection for each remote site. CenturyLink does not demonstrate an expertise or desire to go wireless. Wireless is currently the cheapest backup available, and will become a real competitor to wired networks as 5G matures. Automatic facility backup would be a necessity to move forward with any CenturyLink implementation.