IT Trends 2018: The Intersection of Hype and Performance - Part 2
May 01, 2018

Leon Adato
SolarWinds

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If IT professionals want to be instrumental to their organization's successful digital transformation journey, they should continue prioritizing a hybrid IT environment while simultaneously developing new skillsets and leveraging emerging technologies.

To help IT professionals arm themselves with a new set of skills, technologies, and resources to bridge the leadership gap and manage the intersection of hype and performance, consider the following recommendations.

Start with: IT Trends 2018: The Intersection of Hype and Performance - Part 1

1. Concentrate on Containers

Because delivering organizational value is a constant goal, IT professionals should continue to prioritize container deployment, both from an investment and skills-development perspective.

For IT professionals seeking to concentrate on containers, they should first find out if the IT organization is already working with the technology. If it is, get to know the people involved and engage with them. If the IT organization is not working with containers, IT professionals can simply find resources or platforms online. There are also communities like GitHub that allow container experts to freely share their knowledge. Once IT professionals learn how containers work, they should start learning about container automation and orchestration to enable a bridge into scaling the integration and delivery of distributed apps and cloud deployments, all while opening a path to greater understanding of how those workloads are managed.

2. Cloud Power-Up

IT professionals are beginning to consume different service delivery models, like moving from Microsoft Exchange Servers to Office 365, and migrate more of their mission-critical applications to the cloud.

In parallel with these changes, there must be increased observability — leveraging combined metrics, logs, and application traces for controllability — built into an organization's cloud monitoring strategy. This degree of monitoring with discipline must carry forward the same level of granularity and source of truth that has existed in on-premises environments for decades. The key part of this process is establishing a baseline of observability within their hybrid IT environments across the entirety of their cloud-based applications.

3. Bridge the Leadership Gap

There will continue to be a great deal of excitement around ML and AI in the foreseeable future. As we saw with cloud, executives are eager to implement the technology, which promises the hyped benefits of disruptive innovation, and want to activate a new technology quickly without the experience to understand current capabilities, technical complexities, or deployment challenges. The best course of action for IT professionals is to become educators: identify ways to discuss the basics, the specific cost-benefit analysis of how the technology will benefit the business, and what it means for service integration and service delivery.

4. Embrace Resiliency and Reliability as Performance Metrics

To achieve digital transformation success, it's imperative that IT professionals begin to embrace resiliency and reliability of their environments as critical performance metrics.

Resiliency and reliability underscore the business value that IT professionals can bring to fruition for their organizations. They also represent measures of how well a distributed application was integrated and delivered; and because they also represent overall performance, these metrics translate into dollar values. With the stakes so high, the ability to ensure the end-user's digital experience is essential. IT should look to leverage tools that deliver full-stack observability into the logs, metrics, and tracing data that underpin reliability and resiliency metrics to ultimately optimize environments.

IT professionals must keep business leaders realistic about what technology implementations make the most sense for their organization. According to a recent report from Forrester, 55 percent of companies have not yet achieved tangible business outcomes from AI, and 43 percent say it's too soon to tell. AI and ML might not be a top priority today, but by focusing on optimizing cloud and hybrid IT environments right now, IT professionals can build the foundation for AI and ML while meeting the current needs of the business.

In 2018, IT professionals should balance optimizing the digital experience for end-users in hybrid IT environments with strategic decisions around which technologies their organization should invest in for business value beyond IT.

Leon Adato is a Head Geek at SolarWinds
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