Here's what Keith Tilley, Executive Vice President and Vice-Chair for Sungard Availability Services, was asked what customers’ priorities should be over the next 12 months. 

Modernise your Data Centre strategy

Modern digital working practices are not just key – they are essential – to business success. But with the IT landscape becoming more complex, and legacy IT potentially holding back innovation, organisations need a data centre strategy that can support these bi-modal Hybrid IT functions.

Not only must modern data centre capabilities be able to support ‘Hybrid IT’,   they must also have inbuilt resilience to maintain robust security and constant availability of services to meet the demands of today’s business. End users – whether internal or external to the business – will settle for nothing less. Juggling data centre modernisation while maintaining constant uptime and appropriate security is no mean feat.

With the vast array of aspects involved in delivering the right infrastructure to deliver business outcomes, organisations increasingly need expert help to achieve these data centre environments.

Know where your data resides

The events of 2016 – and their repercussions for 2107 – are certain to bring the issue of data sovereignty back to the forefront. Companies should be looking more holistically at where their data is hosted, where it’s backed up, moved and recovered, as well as who can see it along the way. The UK’s vote to leave the European Union has thrown up far more questions about data laws and compliance, and will require businesses to consider this more closely, particularly with the onset of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which has the potential to affect companies not only in Europe but worldwide.

Data laws are constantly subject to change, with region and country specific regulation often causing a headache for large organisations. Working with a third-party provider who is open and honest about data access and data residency, as well as offer global options that allow a company to meet country level regulations, will be vital.

Get the Tech or lose the Talent

In 2016 our research found that over a fifth of employees have already left a job because they didn’t feel they had access to the latest digital technology. With many roles increasingly relying on tech, businesses who fail to listen to employee demands and invest in the tools they need could soon find themselves rapidly losing headcount.

However, it would be a mistake to simply throw money and technology at the problem. To avoid digital discontent across the business, assessing and developing an agile company culture will be vital. Early adopters of technology can help to increase a wider uptake if these people are harnessed to influence employees towards the cause. Once you begin to encourage employees to embrace changes to technology, future tech should be easier to incorporate; helping to increase adoption rates and making its impact on the business sooner rather than later.

Hire a Digital Training Officer

Organisations need skilled and adaptive employees to survive this current storm of uncertainty. While bringing in new talent can help with this, businesses should be placing just as much emphasis on training their existing staff. To do this effectively, it may be necessary to hire or create a Digital Training Officer (DTO).

Operating across the entire business, the DTO role would be responsible for upskilling employees in digital technologies. DTOs should also be tasked with empowering the workforce to get the most out of the latest digital tools – from social platforms such as Yammer, through to more complex, divisional specific applications, such as the sales team’s mobile CRM. With social and digital media now an integral part of daily life, the DTO needs to ensure its appropriate strategic fit to the commercial life of the enterprise too.

The only thing we can be certain of is uncertainty itself. Whether disruption comes from political, environmental, social or technological origins, business leaders can be assured it will come their way. The decision they need to make is to understand where their most likely exposures lie, and use that understanding to build in the solutions that will deliver the non-stop access to their businesses that their customers demand.  The people, processes and technologies exist to help them achieve this. Having a cloud or Managed Services Partner can be part of this process, helping to guide organisations through this era of the unknown and allowing them to focus on innovating and remaining competitive.

Here’s to a successful 2017 for all our readers!

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