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New Cisco research reveals how data is transforming the way businesses operate their IT as CIOs make greater use of analytics and automation. The Cisco IT Operations Readiness Index surveyed more than 1,500 global IT leaders and provided some interesting insights into the changing face of IT.

The global research project also introduced a four-step model for IT operations maturity to help IT leaders benchmark themselves against their peers – and then develop a plan for the future.

This four-step model is designed to enable organisations to transition from spending the majority of their IT budgets on keeping the day to day systems running to investing in innovation that could provide significant benefits to them.

Here’s the four step model to enable IT Operations Maturity:

  • Reactive – reacting to operational events as they happen
  • Proactive – learning from past events to improve processes
  • Predictive – using data to predict and respond to imminent events
  • Pre-emptive – using data to continuously optimise outcomes.

The good news, according to the report, is that 68% of respondents expect to increase their IT budget in the next 12 months, to spend more on optimising and remediating IT operations, including policy, data collection, data analysis and automation.

Currently, only 28% of IT budgets are directed toward these activities, but this investment is paying off, with the majority of these organisations confirming it has improved both external customer satisfaction and innovation.

The survey found that 38% of organisations are proactive today, whilst 26% are identified as being reactive and only a mere 14% of organisations are viewed as being in the final pre-emptive stage in their use of data.

These companies at the higher maturity level typically collect data from wider areas of the business, taking advantage of analytics and automation to create their pre-emptive strategy. Using this data means events such as outages can be predicted, while infrastructural optimisation can help avoid issues entirely.

They are also more likely to make use of Artificial Intelligence (AI), with AI being identified as the emerging technology that will have the biggest impact on organisations’ ability to automate.

Other key findings from the survey included:

  • Chief Data Officers have a critical role in orchestrating the use of insight to drive improvement in both business and IT operations
  • Outside vendors are important sources of data – with 84% saying it is imperative to have access to data beyond what is collected internally. The most advanced organisations already use outside vendors for more operational activities such as data aggregation
  • Security is the clearest use case for getting real-time insight and control, with 82% of respondents already collecting operational and performance data about their security infrastructure – the highest of any area of IT.

Joseph Bradley, Global Vice President of IoT, Blockchain, AI and Incubation Business at Cisco commented: “Through analytics and automation, CIOs can evolve from blindly reacting to events – such as outages – to continuously monitoring and optimising their infrastructures based on predictions of future needs. As a result, they can deliver strategic outcomes for their business partners, with change moving from being surprising and threatening to becoming something to control”.

Mel Jones

European Product Manager

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