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April 2015 – Prepared by Zeus Kerravala

The mandate for today’s CIO has changed more in the past decade than that of any other position in the business world. Previously, CIOs and IT leaders were measured on technical metrics of the infrastructure, such as uptime or utilization, but that’s no longer the case. Today, the goals of technology executives are tightly aligned with those of business leaders and corporate executives.

One of the top goals for every business leader today is to increase the level of business agility—that is, to become an organization that can respond to new opportunities or competitive threats as quickly and effectively as possible. Those organizations that are able to implement agile business processes will leapfrog their rivals. Companies that are slow to capture market shifts or to respond to the competition can become irrelevant very quickly.

For IT leaders, the only way to enable business agility is by having an agile IT environment. The focus on improving IT agility is one reason that businesses have spent billions of dollars over the past five years on technologies such as server virtualization, cloud computing and new application delivery platforms. Somewhat understandably, the focus on IT agility has centered mostly on the application and compute tiers of IT, not the network. However, much like the chain and weakest link analogy, businesses will only be as agile as their least agile component. For most organizations, the network is now the single biggest inhibitor to achieving business agility.

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