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There is a lot that I&O leaders can learn from Covid-19

by Jeffrey Hewitt  |  April 10, 2020  |  Comments Off on There is a lot that I&O leaders can learn from Covid-19

Welcome to my first Gartner blog. My colleague, Bob Gill, and I will post our first blogs today and will be focusing on insights intended to help I&O leaders. I recommend that you check out Bob’s blog as well.

What to do about Covid-19

Speaking of insights, Covid-19 virus is top-of-mind these days. As various countries and states take an array of actions to combat the spread of this virus, it raises a lot of questions. For I&O leaders, a significant question is how can they limit the business impact of the Covid-19 virus. Gartner analysts, Kevin Ji, Tao Wu and Henrique Cecci recently published a document (‘Limit the Business Impact of COVID-19 Coronavirus Outbreaks by Improving Infrastructure Resilience’).  It provides some very valuable answers to that question as it relates to the infrastructure that they manage. I recommend reading it. A summary of the advice includes three main steps. They are:

1. Establish workforce resilience through the rapid scalability of desktop as a service (DaaS).
2. Automate tasks when possible and optimize access through a predefined response plan when access is restricted.
3. Rescue service by employing scalable architecture.

The Tip Of The Iceberg

I’m highlighting this kind of Gartner advice because it is not just important as we all deal with Covid-19. It goes well beyond that. There is something positive for I&O leaders (and all of us for that matter) that will come out of the current crisis. It is that the Covid-19 situation is just the tip of the iceberg. We share the contingency planning that we learn from Covid-19 with our clients.  This contingency planning advice can be applied to a host of other situations.  Beyond Covid-19, these situations include those that could arise globally, within a geography, within a single country or within a locale.As a result of our research , there is no doubt that establishing more scalable DaaS has become more important at this time. Suddenly, remote working had to become the norm as more countries and states issued “shelter-in-place” orders. In addition to those orders, some co-location facilities and some enterprises have forbidden access to equipment within their data centers.  When infrastructure equipment cannot be accessed physically, maintain that equipment through task automation. Lastly, as we have seen in past economic downturns, having infrastructure in place that allows for relatively easy and rapid scaling helps.  Scalable infrastructure can offer a way to meet short-term needs as they arise without the burden of initiating a whole new project with separate infrastructure.

Beyond Covid-19

The point is that all of these tactics should remain as contingencies in the minds of I&O even after the Covid-19 situation abates. In other words, this advice certainly can apply as an optimal way to keep business and organizations functioning.  It does matter which of the situations noted in the above graphic create an unforeseen impact.

Gartner continues to provide advice around Covid-19 issues for I&O leaders.  Therefore, we will no doubt learn more effective actions to take to deal with similar situations that may arise. We will definitely be sharing “what works” with our clients so that they can keep businesses and organizations functioning effectively.  In addition, this will be crucial when conditions outside of their control may unexpectedly and abruptly change, no matter what the reason.

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Jeffrey Hewitt
VP Analyst I
20 years at Gartner
42 years IT Industry

Jeffrey Hewitt is a Research Vice President at Gartner, where he is a part of the Infrastructure and Operations team in the Gartner for IT Leaders organization. As a part of that team, Mr. Hewitt's primary areas of coverage include hyperconvergence, software containers/microservices, serverless computing, hyperscale (webscale) architectures, edge computing, machine learning IaaS, and the I&O implications of changing technology approaches like public cloud, blockchain, and big data. He also covers integrated systems and server purchasing negotiations.Read Full Bio

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