A look into the life of a CTO
It’s a tough life being a chief technology officer (CTO). Many are balancing the joint tasks of maintaining the organisation’s overarching technology infrastructure at one end of the scale and enabling business innovation at the other. To add to the weight of responsibility, pressure is typically being applied by the chief executive officer (CEO) to focus on the innovation side, or more specifically, the blue-sky technology investments which make a tangible difference to operations.
However, this focus can leave critical background projects by the wayside and potentially lead to catastrophic consequences. An onion that is mouldy at its core will remain that way, no matter how many new layers are added over the top, and this is a reflection of how critical underlying systems are often viewed. Failing to deal with the core systems can lead to costly downtime due to breakage or being compromised, and in 2021, almost half (44%) of enterprises reported hourly downtime costs that exceed $1m on average.
When budgets are allocated, it’s easy to place the background processes, such as the underlying servers or systems, to the bottom of the to-do list. Businesses can take their eye off the ball when a system is providing value, but without regular checks during this period to pre-empt any future issues, it’s going to be more complex to fix when something finally does go wrong. With technologists also typically keeping their focus pinned on the bigger picture, these tasks become bigger and ultimately end up postponed to tomorrow, next week, next year or even next decade.
CTOs are also having to evolve their role in the business. As more organisations undertake digital transformation strategies, they’re expected to take a greater leadership role within the business and suggest solutions that will make an immediate difference, along with being expected to know how technology affects the wider business and not just in isolation. CTOs are likely to take comfort from the fact that companies across the board are likely to have legacy technology in place, with a sense of a shared collective mindset developing from knowing that when things go wrong, it’ll be the same for others, but it’s not a way of thinking that they can affordably rely on.
Sweat the small stuff
CTOs need to pay as much attention to the seemingly smaller tasks as they do the big transformational changes, and this starts with having a rigorous diligent process by understanding where the business is today and looking in-depth for any weak spots. Guardian enables oversight of the whole IT suite, and allows you to identify and track changes against a set of policies that are defined against Center for Internet Security (CIS) guidelines, flagging any deviances for rectification. CTOs are then able to pursue a continuous improvement strategy by achieving best practice configuration.
For critical legacy applications that need to make the successful move to a newer operating system version and continue to provide value, Alchemy: Cloudhouse Application Compatibility Packaging can allow for them to be transplanted to an on-premise, hybrid or cloud system without the need for any code modifications.
A continuous cycle
Making a critical fix to an element of the IT suite isn’t a one-time job. Considering a project complete when applications, servers or systems are brought up-to-date means that businesses will typically find themselves in the same boat a few years down the line. It’s vital for CTOs to take a holistic approach and adopt a range of tools and solutions to ensure that continuous maintenance and evolution happen. The key is to move away from the mindset of chasing the next big thing and instead adopt an ongoing innovation and reinvestment cycle in the business. This evergreen approach allows them to balance new and exciting developments with keeping the train on the tracks.
Balance your responsibilities better with Guardian and Alchemy. Get in touch with us today to learn more.