Is your IT budget innovating, or just keeping the lights on?

Is your IT budget innovating, or just keeping the lights on?


Thursday, January 19, 2012 | Dan Blacharski

Purveyors of information technology, particularly nimble start-ups created by still-idealistic innovators and entrepreneurs, tell us that their new inventions hold great promise for changing the way we do things.
 
Although that message typically comes from their PR consultants, it nonetheless rings true, and many technological innovations such as cloud computing, virtualisation, and converged infrastructure models do indeed bring about disruptive change. And it’s not just on the business end; consumer technology has similarly changed how we as people communicate, how we are entertained, and how we stay informed. Technology, most recently and especially cloud-based technology, continues to disrupt entire industries, change employment patterns and render obsolete that which was useful only a few short years ago.
 
But there is something very peculiar going on with that paradigm. Whilst IT companies continue to bring about this marvellous innovation, the bulk of most companies’ IT budgets remain dedicated to the mundane. According to a Forrester study, "Converged infrastructure: attitudes and acceptance,” 70 percent of IT funds go to things other than new business innovation.
 
One such innovative technology, converged infrastructure (CI), pools and virtualises resources, streamlines management, and enables more flexible provisioning and deployment of infrastructure and services. Once deployed, CI holds great promise for better management of resources, energy efficiency, and hardware density, and a major op ex savings over conventional models.
 
According to the Forrester study, CI—although it remains a minority of shipments—is one of the fastest growing innovations in the marketplace, precisely because of its pragmatic approach. Fifty-five percent of respondents in the Forrester paper cited budget constraints or budget cuts as the major factor in considering converged infrastructure, followed by concerns over delays in provisioning traditional infrastructure and applications, and a desire to avoid IT sprawl. There are of course, a great many innovations with "gee whiz” appeal, but the practical will win out at the end of the day in response to these very real concerns.
 
It would seem that IT has grown up. Glitz and glamour and "nice to have” innovations are giving way to innovations that directly impact the bottom line and address the most vexing pressures being faced by businesses today.
 
Converged infrastructure technology wins out on all fronts, delivering front-line dramatic innovation, bringing about disruptive and useful change across the entire enterprise, decreasing cap-ex for up-front installation due to heavier use of virtualisation, and decreasing op-ex over time as a result of a more efficient shared infrastructure and centralisation. And on top of all that, CI still delivers the wow factor that we all want in any technology deployment.
 
Forrester concludes that CI is one of the fastest growing innovative sectors of IT, precisely because it delivers real benefits. Responses from users surveyed indicate that post implementation, CI has delivered the goods, and implements the major business process changes that are necessary to stay competitive; and ultimately acceptance of CI will change the equation to allow a greater share of the IT budget to be spent on innovation.
 
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