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CIO upfront: Building a platform for innovation - A CTO’s perspective

CIO upfront: Building a platform for innovation - A CTO’s perspective

We must view ‘moonshots’ and transformation as a constant process, writes Rafi Katanasho of Dynatrace

Credit: Dreamstime

Analyst firm Forrester recently called on CIOs to include ‘moonshot’ innovations as part of their portfolios – to “focus on seemingly unsolvable problems, and don’t stop until you succeed.” 

‘Moonshots’ are innovations that create “net-new values to address emerging customer needs, transform forthcoming market scarcities to abundances, or create novel capabilities that dramatically empower users.” 

New Zealand is a nation that is often celebrated for its innovation, for being able to compete with much larger countries because of its ‘global first’ mindset. However, for CIOs to really include some ‘moonshots’ in their portfolio, the first step must be to deploy an agile platform that enables rapid innovation and feedback. 

For CIOs to constantly push the boundaries and look at how they can further disrupt the market with something new, they must view ‘moonshots’ and transformation as a constant process instead of an end goal to develop new products and services, deliver ambitious visions and drive unprecedented growth.

We recently worked with a major NZ financial institution to help them move from a reactive state where customers were flagging issues through the contact centre, to a proactive state, where our system finds and addresses issues as they arise, before customers are impacted. This 'moonshot' has vastly improved diagnostic response times and enabled the organisation to deliver an excellent customer experience.

Moving to cloud platforms 

 To achieve perpetual innovation, CIOs need to lead organisations beyond static infrastructure – which is why there’s been so much migration to the cloud in recent years. Having an agile cloud platform that can work in a hybrid, multi-cloud environment is crucial for driving continuous delivery of new products and services, as constant innovation requires a flexible and scalable IT ecosystem that can keep up with the pace of change. 

Credit: Supplied

To achieve perpetual innovation, CIOs need to lead organisations beyond static infrastructure

Rafi Katanasho, Dynatrace CTO

Cloud-native architectures built on microservices and containers foster faster development and deployment processes and provide the building blocks for organisations to focus more on what they do best, rather than making the technology work. 

Organisations need better ways to obtain feedback from end users, customers and staff quickly so they can make informed business decisions, remain competitive and satisfy a much more sophisticated customer that has high expectations around service and speed. 

Use AI technologies to automate 

The complexity introduced by hybrid cloud ecosystems can however be problematic for IT teams, who don’t have the visibility to identify the root cause of performance problems impacting end users. It is nearly impossible for humans to do this manually, so CIOs increasingly need to turn to AI technologies to help identify problems, prevent potential outages and mitigate the impact of performance problems on user experience. 

This helps organisations begin the journey to auto-remediation and, eventually, autonomous cloud operations – balancing the need to innovate quickly against maintaining user experience. 

Moving to the cloud is only half the battle of course. Just because organisations have a more dynamic technology environment, it doesn’t mean they become agile overnight. Once full end-to-end visibility of their hybrid cloud environments is achieved, they must then look to change the mindset of IT teams, to create a more agile, dynamic culture.  

Break down the silos 

One of the most important transformations that needs to take place is to connect internal teams and break down all the silos – collaboration is a challenge. Organisations need one single platform, and one single language across all departments to unify teams around shared metrics and regardless if they are IT, operations, marketing or customer service. 

This shift in mindset can be assisted through the adoption of DevOps, which allows organisations to achieve a more agile, collaborative culture by breaking down the silos that development and operations teams work in. For companies looking to achieve perpetual innovation, DevOps must become more than just a cultural norm for IT teams. Instead, it should be a crucial component in how the business operates.  

To achieve perpetual innovation, CIOs need to lead organisations beyond static infrastructure

A DevOps culture helps organisations to become more confident in their code, with different teams working together to ensure it works and optimises performance and customer experience. But to achieve this, DevOps teams need complete visibility into the impact of their code on performance. The collaborative culture means everyone has access to these insights, ensuring the whole company is working from a single source of business truth; one that is open and integrated and focused on driving improvement. 

Time to take the leap 

In an era of constant change, the need for perpetual innovation is greater than ever. To go further and try to achieve those ‘moonshots’ there must also be a change in mindset, with an entire overhaul of the way an organisation operates.  

While this can be a huge adjustment and requires a constant turnover of new ideas, products and services, it is crucial if New Zealand organisations are going to continue to lead the way in innovation and compete on a global stage. 

Rafi Katanasho is APAC CTO for Dynatrace

Credit: Dreamstime

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