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Don’t Allow Your IT Refresh to Move at a Donkey’s Pace

Chris Greenwood

IT refreshes can be thankless tasks. Minimizing disruption to the business is undoubtedly the number one objective for any IT leader undertaking such an initiative. But, as competitors bring their own chaos into the equation with the launch of a new midrange storage portfolio, businesses are left confused. Is this the right time for another IT refresh? Does it justify the value a modern business is looking for?

For some light relief during these chaotic times, we worked with cartoonist Clive Goddard to illustrate this confusion. Is your storage vendor delaying their midrange storage launch again? You can avoid this disruption problem with the right vendor: NetApp. We know that transforming an IT environment to meet modern demands is not easy. Hybrid, multi-cloud realities are much harder to deliver than it might look on paper. Technology vendors should ensure they are set up to deliver on this objective for their customers.

There has been a reality check within the ivory towers of our dull technology rivals as they discovered that delivering the hybrid, multi-cloud vision for their customers is harder than it was on paper. We know this is true because we went through the same pain four years ago as we transformed our business to suit the modern IT demands our customers crave. Fortunately, help is available.

Three non-negotiable questions

Doing more with less is, not surprisingly, the guidance coming from data storage decision makers in 2020. A recent survey conducted by IT research firm Coldago stated the top storage and data management priority for European businesses is to consolidate storage. To ensure your refresh is ready for the demands of your employees and customers, you’ll need to answer these three questions:

Is your data in trusted hands?

Moving data from A to B is considered by some the hardest job in technology, and they’re not wrong! In the wrong hands, data migration from old to new can be problematic to your business. Gartner estimates over 50% of data migrations will end up harming the business due to poor strategy, planning and execution. This is not the kind of thing you can paper over with slick gimmicks.

Compounding the issue are industry-specific data regulations accompanied by financial penalties if businesses fall short of compliance. Ask yourself: Is your technology partner commercially viable? Is your partner making sound investments in the short term, and does it have a strategic roadmap to secure one of your most valuable assets – data?

To avoid data loss and achieve compliance with a plethora of industry and global regulations, you need to look for an integrated data protection solution which natively synchronizes or replicates data in any environment.

Can you do the hard lift (and shift)?

In any application modernization process, you should confirm that your technology partner can offer your native integration with the prominent public cloud services. Secondly, you need to know if the infrastructure can allow you to move any file or object easily between hybrid, multi-cloud environments.

The lift becomes particularly hard when monolithic enterprise apps such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems and databases are involved. Your IT infrastructure should be flexible enough to integrate with any cloud service and work with any critical business application.   Through years of testing and fine-tuning, our hybrid cloud data services technology has the power to deliver transformative changes for customers. We knew the end game for all storage vendors would be a software-defined data management engine. Our customers are looking for an engine that is not tightly coupled to specific hardware platforms, but one that can be utilized on-premises and across the cloud. This gives end-users unparalleled flexibility and financial choice without locking you into one vendor.

Can you consume storage using modern SaaS-based business models?

Inflexible long-term, long-winded vendor SLAs are simply unacceptable for businesses that are accustomed to pay-as-you-go and self-service experiences. There is no reason to persist with legacy business models.

With NetApp Keystone, the control ultimately rests with the customer, and it is agile enough to adapt to changing business needs. Companies can lessen the complexities associated with IT infrastructure and lifecycle management. Keystone gives IT buyers a clear, easy-to-understand path forward for managing IT, giving them time to focus on other priorities.

The refresh road ahead

Our dull technology rivals struggle to address customer feedback because their technologies have not kept pace with industry advances, including the cloud connectivity required to take advantage of the hybrid multi-cloud reality that businesses demand.

A few years ago, NetApp took a calculated risk to develop the Data Fabric strategy. Our supporting products are cloud connected, can handle huge workloads, and have the ability to protect, manage and move data between public and on-premises environments in a consistent, repeatable and predictable way.

Don’t wait for your IT vendor to dictate your technology roadmap. Take back control and have your IT refresh on your own terms, on your own timelines. If you don’t act, you may be watching your more agile competitors overtake your business as they innovate faster at a lower cost base. It’s time to accelerate your IT refresh from a donkey’s pace to a gallop.

For more information on how to modernize your IT infrastructure, click here to read how industry analyst IDC views our internal evolution to support our customers in the hybrid multi-cloud era.

Chris Greenwood

Chris Greenwood is Senior Director and General Manager for NetApp’s business in the United Kingdom and Ireland. He focuses on enhancing relationships within NetApp’s customer portfolio to deliver growth, maintaining strong sales momentum for NetApp’s Hybrid Cloud Infrastructure (HCI) offerings and winning new accounts in target sectors such as healthcare and financial services. Before taking the helm in UK&I, Chris was Senior Director for North and Eastern Europe, Russia and Turkey (NERT), leading a geographically dispersed team across multiple countries focused on engaging enterprise customers and working closely with strategic go to market partners. He has also led the Nordic Region for NetApp, successfully delivering multi-year growth and penetrating many net new strategic customers with the NetApp Data Fabric proposition. Chris has over 20 years’ experience in the technology sector, working in sales and leadership roles in the Royal Navy, British Telecom, Sun Microsystems and Pillar Data. Chris is a keen sailor and active participant in Triathlon. For the past 4 years he has lived in Copenhagen with his wife and daughter, relocating to London in 2019.

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