2020 is beyond us, and it couldn't end fast enough. There’s no question that it was been one of the most challenging times for everyone, both personally and professionally. Unfortunately, business as usual has been anything but. For companies to make it through the next year, organizations will need to be resilient and able to adapt to the new normal. The good news is many companies were already planning for widespread change through mobilization and cloud integration. But nobody could have predicted these would become so critical so quickly.
As businesses continue down the path toward digital transformation, they're relying on IT leaders to clear the way — to set a vision and build the infrastructure needed for success. And as executives across departments shift to remote work, they need to know what tech tools they'll have at their disposal and how to best use them, which means the C-suite also needs to understand the goals and objectives of IT department leaders.
As one of those leaders, what areas should you be concerned about improving in the now and even long after we come out of this pandemic? What challenges do you need to overcome as you set goals for IT teams the rest of 2021 and beyond? What goals will help you keep up with the new reality and set your company up for success?
1. Mobilize Your Team
Cloud services were already top budget priorities for many organizations in 2020, with mobile tech and app development also gaining traction, according to TechRepublic Premium's 2020 survey. Those that have already committed dollars to these areas are reaping the benefits given the stark new reality we live in.
But what about those who have not gone all-in with mobile optimization? Can your teams do everything they need to do on a mobile device? Can they seamlessly communicate with each other and with customers across channels without using personal phone numbers and accounts? Can they access all the information they need, receive automated notifications from key business systems, and get alerts from IoT-enabled machines and legacy technologies? If not, consider what you can do to immediately empower your workforce in what’s becoming a mobile-first workplace.
2. Complete Your Cloud Migration and Integration
Chances are, you've already begun your cloud migration. According to RightScale's ninth annual State of the Cloud report, 94% percent of enterprises now use at least one public or private cloud. The survey found that 93% percent of enterprises have a multi-cloud strategy, while 87 percent have a hybrid cloud strategy.
Perhaps you're already using some cloud services as well. After all, it was a top budget priority in 2020 for IT leaders. Yet, even if your cloud migration is well underway, your digital transformation is not complete until everything is integrated.
Cloud migration without successful integration is like buying a house and moving in, but not unpacking your boxes. To get the most out of your new cloud home, you need to be able to break down silos, apply advanced analytics, automate workflows, and enable next-gen technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning, and that all starts with smart integration.
If you're piecing together different technologies for voice, messaging, and video conferencing, you're paying multiple vendors for each of these services, whereas you could be using a unified communications-as-a-service (UCaaS) solution that combines all three.
3. Optimize Cloud Costs
As the XaaS (everything as a service) trend continues to grow, leaders across organizations are clamoring for more cloud solutions, and not all IT budgets are growing fast enough to accommodate the additional spend. That's why "the need to upgrade outdated infastructure" was the top factor for 64% of IT budget increases in 2020, according to Spiceworks.
As you re-evaluate your goals and objectives for IT department teams this year and beyond, now is a good time to talk to your providers about discounts and whether it's possible to automate cost savings — for example, by shutting down unused workloads or rightsizing instances.
4. Clean Up Your Communications Technology Stack
Another way to reduce cloud spend is to eliminate redundant solutions, particularly in your communications stack. If you're piecing together different technologies for voice, messaging, and video conferencing, you're paying multiple vendors for each of these services, whereas you could be using a unified communications-as-a-service (UCaaS) solution that combines all three (and their data), provides additional functionality, and seamlessly integrates with your CRM and productivity tools.
If you're already using UCaaS for enterprise communications, is your contact center team using an entirely different solution to communicate with customers? If so, you have more data silos to worry about, more integrations to do and maintain, and an additional bill to pay.
That's why Vonage created its contact center solution, which combines UCaaS with contact center as a service (CCaaS). This way, office employees and customer-facing employees all use the same platform with the same customer data, and you only have one line-item expenditure on the budget.
Looking Towards the Future
Maybe your cloud migration is already complete, your cloud services are integrated and optimized for cost, your technology stack is best-in-class, and your team can already do everything from a smartphone that they can from a computer. If you're like most IT leaders, however, you still have progress to make toward digital transformation.
The good news is that, as motivational speaker Zig Ziglar once put it, "a goal properly set is halfway reached." Keep that in mind as you set the goals and objectives of IT department teams for the future. If your goals are achievable and your plan is clear, you're already halfway done in making the most of an incredibly challenging situation.