CIOs should elevate visibility into a 2021 IT imperative
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CIOs should elevate visibility into a 2021 IT imperative

CIOs should elevate visibility into a 2021 IT imperative

Companies need greater visibility as more people work remotely


While the reimplementation of travel bans, and imposition of stringent prevention methods in these early weeks of the new year may be reminiscent of events that dominated headlines through 2020, there is no doubt that organisations are in fact better positioned now to maintain business continuity than they were just a few months ago. With digital initiatives having accelerated in a matter of weeks rather than years, this has led to an overhauling of business processes and transformation of services with a focus on empowering employees and customers to operate from anywhere.

As Middle East businesses now look to increase their remote workforces and incorporate hybrid work environments and processes into their long-term strategies, technology will play a critical role. More than ever before, CIOs need to ensure that their organisations have visibility over their networks and applications to ensure that they can quickly troubleshoot problems and keep employees productive, regardless of location.

2021 is the year of visibility
With more people working remotely including post Covid-19 (600 million worldwide by 2024, up from 343 million in 2019, according to Gartner), companies need greater visibility than ever before – across hybrid networks, apps, and users who are now more geographically dispersed than ever. Leading organisations recognise that having increased visibility is key to providing the insight needed to optimise and accelerate employee productivity, responsiveness to customers, and to ultimately drive business performance.

To be able to monitor activity on the network and troubleshoot anomalies, companies are investing in network performance management (NPM) solutions that offer cross-domain visibility. This means gathering and analysing: all the packets across their applications, flows across the hybrid network and telemetry for every device in play. NPM solutions also often include Artificial intelligence (AI) for behavioural analytics of packets, apps, and users for automatically defining baselines and outliers.

Armed with this insight, if a team reports slow application response times or an inability to effectively use the cloud, IT teams will be able to ascertain the cause and take steps to tackle it. For example, investing in application acceleration technologies can increase network capacity and overcome latency to deliver the best end-user experiences for both mobile or in-office workers and ensure high productivity.

McBee: If you are a CIO, take this opportunity to partner with the CEO and leadership to drive the business forward.
Elevated role of IT in driving greater productivity across the company
Every operating model, from supply chains to crisis management, has been put to the test by the pandemic, and whilst it was happening before, the pandemic has accelerated digitisation and the role of IT. IT is at the centre of this shift helping business support users, networks, apps in a hybrid world, and the CIO has a seat at the table. In fact, in Gartner’s ‘The 2021 CIO Agenda’ report, 66 per cent of CIOs report that the CIO-CEO relationship is stronger than ever as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

IT has never been so integral to all aspects of the business, and the productivity of organisations today are a direct result of the IT team driving all aspects of the business and productivity. With business leaders expecting an approximate 50 per cent increase in remote working post-Covid, based on findings from Riverbed’s Global Future of Work Survey, and with more than 3 in 5 (61 per cent) business leaders planning to make additional investments over the next year to enhance remote working performance; plus the acceleration of digital initiatives, cloud and SaaS, the role of IT to implement and roll-out these technologies and support their organisation’s productivity and performance goals will be critical. If you are a CIO, take this opportunity to partner with the CEO and leadership to drive the business forward.

Office environment of the future – hybrid

The office of the future will be hybrid with some employees working remote, others in an office, and most splitting time between the office and remote. However, users and customers will expect the same level of experience regardless of location.

As work-from-anywhere cements itself as common business practice, offices will shift from being set physical spaces to a more hybrid environment. Corporate offices will remain, but they will look significantly different in the coming months and years to their counterparts from the past decade.

What’s more, they will be visited less frequently by staff who will increasingly operate ‘working from anywhere’ — such as their homes, coffee shops, or client locations — empowered by their employer’s investment in network performance management and application acceleration software to ensure user productivity and business performance. All of these changes will trigger a sizable cultural shift in companies across the world. We will herald a new business climate that in addition to valuing productivity and performance, places greater emphasis on work-life balance and flexibility. This will increase employee retention and engagement, which will be key in a challenging post-Covid environment.

As a CIO or business leader – the time is now to ensure that your organisation is prepared with the right processes, policies, and technology to address this shift to a modern and hybrid workplace.

Rich McBee is the president and CEO of Riverbed Technology

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