IT leaders need to take risks in the postmodern age of business

To thrive in these environments, IT leaders need to create a virtual and fluid business that changes as quickly as their customers

Running existing applications in-memory or refactoring these applications to exploit in-memory approaches can result in improved transactional application performance and scalability, lower latency (less than one microsecond) application messaging, dramatically faster batch execution and faster response time in analytical applications.

As cost and availability of memory intensive hardware platforms reach tipping points in 2012 and 2013, Gartner said the in-memory approach will enter the mainstream.

Worldwide data centre hardware spending, which includes servers, storage and enterprise data centre networking equipment, will reach $98.9 billion in 2011.

Gartner expects this figure to climb to $106.4 billion in 2012 and surpass $126.2 billion in 2015.

The biggest category in this market is data centres with more than 500 racks.

These organisations will increase their share of spending from 20 per cent in 2010 to 26 per cent in 2015.

Gartner research director, Mr Jon Hardcastle, said traditional in-house enterprise data centres are under attack from three sides.

"Firstly, virtualization technologies are helping companies to utilise their infrastructure more effectively inhibiting overall system growth," he said.

"Secondly, data centres are becoming more efficient leading to higher system deployment densities and inhibiting demand for floor space.

"Thirdly, the move to consolidated third-party data centres is reducing the overall number of midsize data centres. Meanwhile, the largest data centre class is benefitting from the rise of Cloud computing."

While all of these trends will certainly impact IT organisations in coming years, the reality is that 70 per cent of most IT budgets is still allocated to maintenance and keeping the lights on.

To break this mould, Gartner is advising IT organisations to eliminate legacy, to selectively destroy low impact systems and to make greater use of Cloud computing.

Other speakers at the symposium include Gartner VP, Diane Berry, who will present a paper called CIOs must break through the unsustainable IT staffing model.

CIO power politics and effective communications strategies for dealing with the board of directors will be covered by Gartner VP, Tina Nunno.

Earlier this month, Gartner released a paper which identified seven areas CIOs must understand and act upon when dealing with the board of directors.

It found that only 16 per cent of board directors have any IT background or experience.

Gartner VP Jorge Lopez said the board of directors has little IT experience but is the highest authority in the management of the organisation.

Lopez said the board only meets a few times a year so CIOs should use that time wisely and prepare their messaging to ensure it is effective.

He said it is also worth noting that the board's business is only focused on a few priorities.

"More than 90 per cent of the board's time is consumed by the areas of risk, strategy, audit, finance, investment, social issues and compensation," Lopez said.

"Prepare to be flexible in the time you are allotted even preparing two minute summaries that state the purpose, conclusion and action you want the board to undertake.

"Don't expect too much time to be paid to your initiatives unless it is highly strategic or catastrophic."

Lopez said CIOs should also be prepared with business case justifications and work closely with the CEO.

"The CEO will usually navigate the path to approvals. Never surprise the CEO in front of the board," he said.

Like all human organisations, boards have their share of politics which is why CIOs should have an understanding of each director's background and be aware of alliances.

"The bottom line is that CIOs must learn to treat their board of directors as they would treat customers," he said.

"They need to get to know the members and their priorities, and make certain that they have the plans in place to meet board-level expectations."

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Tags Gartner Symposium 2011

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