Cutting costs by optimizing IT, scaling networks to deliver business value and growth, and changing the direction of the business itself are among the top 10 technology trends Gartner predicts for 2023.

There is growing uncertainty on how to move past the most recent challenges resulting from supply chain issues, war in Ukraine and Eastern Europe, difficulty finding talent, and the evolving financial crisis. To overcome those, some businesses will cut costs, others will continue with existing expansion plans, and some will change the direction of their business strategy completely.

With three central themes—optimize, scale, and pioneer—Gartner has predicted 10 top strategic technology trends for 2023 that can help enterprises see through the current economic and market challenges.

Scale industry cloud platforms vertically

In order to scale their business, organizations are adopting vertical-market clouds, which are increasingly being offered with industry-specifc data sets by a variety of vendors for sectors including healthcare, manufacturing, supply-chain, agriculture and finance.  These days, enterprises are focused on extracting business value from cloud technology, and don’t want to worry about the underlying infrastructure, according to Padraig Byrne, Gartner’s senior director analyst.

“What we’ve seen has been the rise of industry specific modular components, dedicated to particular industry segments that allow businesses to rapidly build differentiated offerings without having to fully develop the underlying technology,” Byrne said.

Reduce friction between development teams and complex infrastructure

Once the cloud environment is ready comes the urgency of getting products to market, and to scale delivery the focus must be on platform engineering.

“But we have complex architectures, or we have hybrid systems and some of the applications on premises and some in the cloud. We also have a lack of skills—a developer that doesn’t know how to build a scalable network,” Byrne said.

The solution is to look at the difference between where the development team sits and the infrastructure layer and look to reduce the friction between the two.

This can be done by building engineering platforms that have reusable components for developers with their tools—such as integrated development environments (IDE), monitoring tools, and CI/CD—all delivered in a self-service development portal. These would be pre-approved tools so developers have access to them when needed rather than having to ask for approval to use this or that tool.

Scale everywhere with Wi-Fi

The wireless trend is based on Gartner’s prediction that by 2025, 60% of enterprises will be using five or more wireless technologies, which among other things means additional use of office Wi-Fi.

That prediction isn’t far-fetched—as Byrne said, consumers are already using up to three wireless technologies daily.

But wireless networks go beyond individual tools. Western Australia mining company Albermale created a private 5G network that allowed scientists and engineers to access systems remotely when needed rather than having to be onsite.

“What this means though, is that your network is not just a cost to the business but if you think differently, it may become something which actually adds value or differentiation to what you do,” Byrne said.

Create digital immune systems

Seventy-six percent of teams responsible for digital products are now also responsible for revenue generation, according to Gartner. Traditional approaches to software development make it hard to create systems that are scalable, secure and stable, therefore hindering the opportunity to generate revenue.

This is where the research firm’s concept of digital immunity comes in, as it brings together multiple modern practices around the application development lifecycle, like observability, to improve what organizations can see, and site reliability engineering and chaos engineering, to improve the resiliency of applications, Byrne said. “It brings together analytics and AI to improve the testing of these tools and then also encompasses end-to-end security across your supply chain. And what this delivers then is applications that are more resilient and will help you avoid outages,” he said.

Gartner predicted that companies have the ability to reduce downtime by up to 80% by adopting some of these technologies—which translates into revenue.

Applied observability for better operations

The concept of applied observability isn’t new, but has implications in the context of optimization, and goes hand-in-hand with the practices related to digital immunity. Byrne explained it as collecting data from decisions made, then collecting data on the context in which decisions were made and applying analytics to the context in order to create a feedback loop to make more business-value driven decisions.

Trust, risk and security management for AI

AI TRiSM—trust, risk and security management—is, simply put, making AI trustworthy. Even among the most experienced enterprises, Gartner has found that only 50% of AI models ever hit production and that the reasons behind this are lack of trust in the data, and problems with security and privacy.

First, to improve the adoption of AI, organizations must be able to explain the reason why a computer came to a decision. This is accompanied by modelops, which is a Gartner term for the governance and life cycle management of a wide range of operationalized AI and decision models, including machine learning, knowledge graphs, rules, optimization, and linguistic and agent-based models. The result of using modelops, according to Gartner, is that models get into production faster and with less friction.

Next comes the use of advanced techniques like adversarial AI, used to generate one model to train another “and we see this already being used in areas like image generation as well as games like chess,” Byrne said. And finally, ethics guidelines and strong data protection are needed.

“All of this means that these models will have enhanced trust and therefore, you will likely, at the development effort, make it into a production environment,” Byrne said.

Start creating superapps

Gartner suggests that enterprises can pioneer news ways to engage customers by developing superapps. Superapps combine some of the functionality of a regular app with the attributes of an app platform and an ecosystem, according to Byrne. Superapps not only have their own differentiated features, but also the ability to build out third party applications with a shared common data model between the core app and the third-party software.

Moving into this early on will give enterprises an advantage, Byrne said, and he sees opportunities around finance and health, among other verticals.

Adaptive AI to respond to organizational change

Once problems with trust, production, and generation of personalized analysis have been dealt with, enterprises can jump onto adaptive AI, which uses real-time feedback and adaptable learning algorithms to gain a sense of the business and provide response to changing environments.

It enables enterprises to create and access new data for testing in these environments as well as the ability to personalize the output of the algorithms for the user in a continuous manner that provides dedicated individualized offerings to users. “This is adaptive AI and it’s a very different mindset from traditional AI,” Byrne said.

Metaverse will combine different technologies

For those skeptical of the metaverse, Byrne said that it comprises a number of different technologies and is related to business problems like lack of trust in data, or how to improve customer service. One way to use it could be through avatars and chatbots to improve customer delivery. Other ways include use of gamification for training and augmented reality for shopping experiences. Gartner found 51% of Gen Z expects some form of augmented reality to come to fruition in the next two years.

Technology will have a role in sustainability

Gartner’s top trends wrap up with sustainability and the role IT can play. Byrne warns that it is not just about the environment and climate change but also about the people behind the business, the social aspects of an organization, improving work culture, improving diversity, equity and inclusion for employees, and improving training.

But technology has an especially important role to play when it comes to environmental sustainability, particularly around solutions for energy reduction for IT services, and the use of analytics and traceability of renewable energy. Enterprises can take these into consideration, define what is applicable to their business, and then work on a roadmap.

“And then you build your own roadmap and realize that not all of these technologies need to be delivered at once. Once you determine the timeframe that these can be delivered, you can set your own path through this and build your own organization-centric action plan,” Byrne said.

IT Strategy

C-level executives are most interested in strategic assets and initiatives that will advance, transform, and grow their enterprises. They continually want to make “cost centers” more efficient and more cost-effective, while investing in what will accelerate, empower, and protect the business operations and its customer base.

Because data and digital technology have become so integral into any enterprise’s lifeblood, senior leadership teams must differentiate between the strategic aspects of IT and the tactical parts of IT cost centers. Storage has emerged in 2022 as a strategic asset that the C-suite, not just the CIO, can no longer overlook.

Enterprise storage can be used to improve your company’s cybersecurity, accelerate digital transformation, and reduce costs, while improving application and workload service levels. That’s going to get attention in the board room. Here’s how to equip yourself for that discussion with C-level executives. The following are three practical ways to make enterprise storage a strategic asset for your organization.

1. Make storage part of the corporate cybersecurity strategy

According to a Fortune 500 survey, 66% of Fortune 500 CEOs said their No. 1 concern in the next three years is cybersecurity. Similarly, in a KPMG CEO survey, CEOs also said cybersecurity is a top priority. The average number of days to identify and contain a data breach, according to security analysts, is 287 days. Given these facts, changing the paradigm from an overall corporate security perspective is needed.

Too many enterprises are not truly equipped and prepared to deal with it. Nonetheless, companies need to ensure that valuable corporate data is always available. This has created an urgent need for enterprises to modernize data protection and cyber resilient capabilities. The answer that CEOs, CIOs, CISOs and their IT teams need to take is an end-to-end approach to stay ahead of cybersecurity threats.

You need to think of your enterprise storage as part of your holistic corporate security strategy. This means that every possession in a company’s storage estate needs to be cyber resilient, designed to thwart ransomware, malware, internal cyber threats, and other potential attacks. Cybersecurity must go hand-in-hand with storage cyber resilience.

It’s prudent to evaluate the relationship across cybersecurity, storage, and cyber resilience. Both primary storage and secondary storage need to be protected, ranging from air gapping to real-time data encryption to immutable copies of your data to instantaneous recovery. 

What should you do? Perform a comprehensive analysis of your corporate data, determine what data needs to be encrypted and infused with cyber resilience and what doesn’t, and figure out how the protection needs to keep your company in compliance. You also need to decide what to do for modern data protection and you need to figure out what to do from a replication/snapshot perspective for disaster recovery and business continuity.

2. Use a hybrid cloud strategy to accelerate digital transformation

More than 75% of CIOs identified digital transformation as their top budget priority of the last year, according to Constellation Research. Companies are leveraging digital capabilities to better serve their customers, accelerate new products and services to market, and scale their operations. The growth and importance of data continue to proliferate exponentially.

The role of hybrid cloud infrastructure – part of your data on-premise – as the key enabler of this megatrend is at the forefront. A core value of cloud services is the support for digital transformation. Digital transformation is enabled and powered by hybrid cloud computing, offering increased flexibility, rapid application development and deployment, and consumption-based economics. This is essential to competing and remaining relevant in today’s world of data-driven business.

Data is the lifeblood of all modern enterprises. How to collect, manage, store, access, and use the data determines the level of success that a company will have. Enterprises can either innovate their data, or be strangled by the data, or even be held hostage for the data. This is why you need the strategy and the infrastructure to drive the future of data for your business.

As businesses evolve themselves digitally, a hybrid cloud strategy orchestrates all the different aspects of it in a mixed computing, storage, and services environment, comprised of on-premises infrastructure, private cloud services, and a public cloud such as AWS. Just in the last 18 months, advancements have been made for “on ramps” between private cloud and the public cloud. This hybrid cloud infrastructure becomes the cornerstone for an organization’s ability to be agile and accelerate business transformation.

3. Reduce IT costs

It can be challenging to identify areas in IT to reduce costs, while maintaining the level of service or capacity. But here’s a practical tip that can be a quick win for an enterprise: CIOs, CISOs and their IT teams can lower IT costs by consolidating storage arrays.

Because of the advancements in storage-defined storage technology, an enterprise can replace 50 arrays with two arrays, while still getting all the capacity, performance, availability, and reliability that are needed. This strategic consolidation saves on operational manpower, rack space, floor space, power expense, and cooling expense. In short, dramatically reducing your CAPEX and OPEX.

You can consolidate storage while, simultaneously, improving access to data across a hybrid cloud and a container-native environment for greater resilience, lower application and workload latency, and higher availability. For today’s enterprise requirements, 100% availability is a must.  

A hybrid cloud approach with a strong private cloud configuration creates the opportunity to consolidate storage arrays for maximum efficiency. Furthermore, with a private cloud, you have better, more exact control over cost structure and service level agreements (SLAs). Essentially, this strategy enables you to match an SLA, such as application performance and availability, with a higher level of control. 

Switching to consumption-based pricing models for storage is another way to reduce costs. Organizations can choose to flex up or flex down based on fluctuating needs for storage, utilizing storage-as-a-service. The worldwide analyst firm Gartner predicts: “by 2023, 43% of newly deployed storage capacity will be consumed as OPEX, up from less than 15% in 2020.”

Alternatively, companies can choose capacity on demand and seek out elastic pricing. All of these options have made storage more cost-effective. There are options across OPEX and CAPEX. You can even get a mix of OPEX and CAPEX to realize those cost savings.

Key takeaways

Think of your storage as part of your holistic enterprise security strategyA hybrid cloud infrastructure should be the cornerstone for your organization’s ability to be agile and accelerate business transformation.Strategic consolidation of storage arrays reduces CAPEX and OPEX.

To learn more about enterprise storage solutions, visit Infinidat

Data Management

The rise of business transformation initiatives has IT leaders rethinking the way they evaluate, select, and negotiate technology and IT services deals today. Pivoting away from a serial approach to evaluation and selection, forward-thinking IT leaders are instead employing an integrated sourcing strategy tailored to facilitate business and IT transformations.

Several dynamics are fueling this trend. On the buy side, business executives are looking to transform their ERP, SCM, CRM, HR, and ecommerce platforms to address inadequacies exposed by the COVID pandemic, global supply chain issues, changes in workforce dynamics, and industry-specific opportunities and challenges. At the same time, CIOs are working to reshape the business of IT, driving their organizations to the cloud and to new delivery and operating models.  

On the sell side, vendors have revamped their go-to-market strategies, service offerings, and partnerships. SAP, for example, has launched its RISE offering, including reimagined partnerships with AWS, Google, and Microsoft as well as its consulting partners such as Accenture and IBM to bring a vertically integrated solution to market. Meanwhile, AWS, GCP, and Microsoft are partnering with consultants to present holistic cloud migration and application modernization strategies beyond SAP.

Organizations undertaking business transformations involving SAP in particular are faced with a range of intertwined issues around vendor engagement, evaluation, selection, and negotiation, the interdependencies of which must be understood in order to drive sound decision-making and beneficial outcomes.

Following are eight strategic concerns and imperatives for establishing and executing an SAP transformation primed for success.

1. Choosing SAP S/4HANA RISE vs. perpetual license model

As organizations map their journey from SAP ECC to S/4HANA, they must determine whether SAP RISE or an SAP S/4HANA perpetual license model is the best fit. Key to this decision is understanding the implications of moving from a capital-intensive purchase model to an operating expense model.  

Organizations must also assess whether SAP RISE will deliver on their operational requirements. Many organizations may be reluctant to turn control over to SAP due to prior experiences with SAP HEC, or they may struggle to understand the true scope and services included as part of RISE. Organizations considering SAP RISE must also come to terms with putting a significant amount of their AWS, GCP, or Microsoft Azure spend behind their SAP relationship, versus maintaining a direct relationship with their hyperscaler of choice. Lastly, organizations must also carefully assess the SAP RISE cost and commercial model against the SAP S/4HANA perpetual license model and commercial terms.

2. Establishing an SAP partner strategy

In addition to selecting the SAP platform, organizations must also determine their consulting and implementation partner strategy. Here, several decisions are key, including whether to undertake a Phase 0 initiative to determine objectives and scope, as well as whether this phase should be awarded as a sole source event or as part of a competitive bid process.

Subsequent to Phase 0, organizations must determine early whether they will seek partners for the design, build, and deploy phases of the program. Organizations will be challenged with building a plan that drives the timeline necessary to achieve business objectives while employing a sourcing strategy that maximizes insights that can be obtained from the market via a competitive bid process. This is critical in today’s market given current levels of attrition, inflation, and demand for high-end consulting resources. A final consideration is devising a strategy with respect to the evaluation, selection, and award of any non-SAP cloud migration and application modernization support.  

3. Re-examining hyperscaler partnerships

Organizations must also re-evaluate their cloud strategy. In addition to determining their long-term infrastructure support strategy for SAP, organizations are also likely to be moving SAP workloads to the cloud, retiring certain applications, or determining which applications should remain on premises or in a hosted environment. This would entail an evaluation of AWS, GCP, and Microsoft, as well as the possible undertaking of a multicloud strategy, a preferred/challenger vendor model, and an approach to addressing the short- and long-term requirements of these relationships.

For example, many organizations that are in the process of making commitments to Microsoft Azure, or exceeding the commitments previously made, need to determine whether they’re going to open up the entire Microsoft relationship to renegotiation. In addition, organizations need to evaluate the role of the hyperscaler in supporting the migration effort as well as the associated investments they are willing to make to support not only the SAP migration but the non-SAP migration. Millions of dollars are on the table to be captured or potentially wasted if orchestration of the hyperscaler evaluation, selection, and negotiation is not well coordinated with the corresponding workstreams.

4. Defining a future managed service strategy

Organizations must also determine not only their managed services strategy but also whether the vendors that are part of this strategy will participate in supporting their future-state SAP environment. Typically, this would include deciding whether the SAP systems implementation provider will provide application maintenance and support (AMS) for the future-state environment versus using an incumbent AMS provider to provide support for the existing environment and future-state environment.

Organizations will also need to understand what complementary infrastructure management services are required to support an SAP RISE environment or an SAP on-premises environment, as they certainly differ. It is essential that an organization’s future managed service partner strategy be considered in concert with determining whether to commit to SAP RISE or a perpetual license.

5. Reassessing existing managed service relationships

In many cases, an organization’s future managed service strategy will require revisiting relationships with existing managed service providers. Such a realignment could necessitate the removal or addition of service towers, removal or addition of workloads, modification of governance and operating models, or renegotiation of service levels, pricing, commercial terms, and conditions. As organizations look to the future, it’s critical that they understand the impact the future strategy will have on existing relationships while maintaining operational continuity during the transformation.

6. Aligning vision and strategy

A key dependency to developing an integrated sourcing strategy is to have a foundational view of the vision and overall strategy of the business and IT transformation initiatives. Unfortunately, in many cases, one aspect of the transformation vision and strategy maybe more advanced than another. For example, organizations highly focused on a business transformation may have engaged a consulting provider to conduct a phase 0 that would enable an S/4HANA implementation. The natural focus of this initiative would include development of the scope in the business case associated with the implementation, but often this means the run side of the vision is given short shrift, placing the organization in catchup mode trying to close the space between the vision for the business transformation and the vision for the IT transformation during the sourcing process, which is certainly not ideal.  

Organizations that establish a view of their business and IT transformation in a holistic fashion are best positioned to develop a sourcing strategy to support that vision.  In addition, organizations that establish their governing principles and objectives are best positioned to empower their team with a framework for decision making.

7. Building an effective team  

Execution of an integrated sourcing strategy is highly dependent on the development of an effective team to support the transformation. The team must comprise a highly capable, collaborative set of individuals representing executive leadership, lines of business, IT, procurement, finance, and legal. This may seem facile advice, but the reality is there are material organizational challenges associated with aligning capable individuals across these different domains.

For example, most procurement organizations are aligned by category of spend such as software and services and they do not have an individual capable of executing across all workstreams except at the highest levels of the organization. In addition, major disconnects can exist between line of business executives, a designated transformation executive, and their IT counterparts with respect to strategy and approach. Even within IT, disconnects between the application team and the infrastructure team can derail a process. These realities must be recognized at the outset of the program as leadership strives to develop a team with large-scale transformational experience that will have the complete support of executive leadership from day one.

Moreover, this team must be empowered to drive the project and the associated vendor evaluation selection and negotiation processes. Their level of credibility must be impervious to the top-down divide-and-conquer tactics and strategies that will be employed by consulting and technology providers and the scrutiny of executive leadership.

8. Establishing an integrated plan 

Too often, there is a disconnect between the expectations of executive leadership, the project team, and the procurement team relative to the overarching timeline and approach to the program. It is essential that the sourcing strategy include a plan that integrates the vendor evaluation, selection, and negotiation process into the project plan. This plan must consider the key milestones and decision points for the entire program, including timing for business case finalization and presentation, timeframes for selection, and program commencement. This plan must also include a well-thought-out approach not only to the timing but the sequencing of the above workstreams in a manner that will enable good decision-making.

For example, presentation and analysis of SAP’s RISE proposal and perpetual license proposal must be coordinated in a manner that coincides with the presentation and evaluation of the hyperscaler proposals and total cost of ownership comparisons. Another example is determining whether the implementation provider is going to have an opportunity to provide associate application means and support. If so, your organization should be leveraging the full opportunity associated with both bodies of work to maximize results. Without this plan, internal misalignment can occur and your organization will be subject to vendors presenting their capabilities and commercial proposals at a time and place of their choosing.

The bottom line is that many organizations are caught flat-footed by implementing a serial approach to selecting technology platforms, consulting and implementation providers, and managed service providers. The reality is the service offerings of technology providers and service providers alike address all three aspects of the technology lifecycle and they must be evaluated in a well-orchestrated and parallel path manner. Organizations that create and execute on an integrated sourcing strategy will be well positioned to make good decisions that set their program up for success, while maximizing their leverage to drive the best-in-class commercial agreements with all providers.

ERP Systems, SAP

What is a CAO?

A chief administrative officer (CAO) is a top-level executive responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of an organization and the company’s overall performance. CAOs are responsible for managing an organization’s finances as well as creating goals, policies, and procedures for the company to help it operate more efficiently and compliantly. They typically report directly to the CEO and act as a go-between for other senior-level management and the CEO.

CAOs often manage administrative staff and are also sometimes responsible for overseeing the accounting staff. These executives have a strong focus on policy, procedure, profits, and ensuring that all regulatory rules and regulations are followed. They work closely with departments and teams within the organization to ensure they’re operating effectively and to determine whether there is room for improvement. If a department is underperforming, a CAO can step in and identify what areas need to change or be improved to turn things around.

In addition to overseeing the daily operations of a company, CAOs also must have an eye on long-term strategic projects. That might include developing long-term budgets, developing and monitoring KPIs, training new managers, and keeping a pulse on changing regulatory and compliance rules.

Chief administrative officer responsibilities

The main responsibilities of a CAO are to ensure the company is operating efficiently daily, and to oversee relevant high-level management and other personnel. The CAO role can be found in several industries — most commonly in tech, finance, government, education, and healthcare. It’s a role that requires high-level decision-making, leadership skills, and strong communication skills. CAOs work closely with leaders across the organization and need to be able to communicate to the CEO how various departments are functioning within the company.

CAOs should have strong presentation skills and the ability to communicate complex business and financial information to other stakeholders in the company. It’s a role that requires an understanding of change management and an ability to juggle several complex projects at once. CAOs need a solid relationship built on trust with the CEO of the organization because they will work closely with them to improve business efficiency. 

The responsibilities of a CAO differ depending on industry, but general expectations for the role include:

Setting, monitoring, and managing KPIs for departments and management staffFormulating strategic, operational, and budgetary plansWorking closely with and training new managers in administrative rolesMentoring and coaching administrative staff within the organizationPerforming manager evaluationsWorking closely with C-suite and board of directorsStaying up to date on the latest changes to government rules and regulations related to administrative tasks, accounting, and financial reporting

Chief administrative officer skills

While skills differ by industry, CAOs are expected to have the following general skillset:

Strategic planningTeam leadershipLegal complianceFinancial reportingRegulatory complianceBudget managementStrategic project managementRisk management/risk controlAbility to generate “effective reports and give presentations”Knowledge of IRS laws, Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), Security Exchange Commission (SEC) rules and regulations, and internal audit procedures within the company

Chief administrative officer vs. COO

The role of CAO is very similar to that of a chief operating officer (COO), as both are responsible for overseeing the operations of a business. The COO role, however, is more commonly found in companies that manufacture physical products, whereas the CAO role is better suited to companies focused on offering services. It’s not uncommon for a company to have both roles, depending on business needs.

Another difference between a CAO and COO is that CAOs oversee day-to-day operations and identify opportunities to improve departments, teams, and management within the organization. If a department isn’t performing well, a CAO will often take over as acting head of the department, working at the helm of the team or department to get a firsthand look at how it’s functioning and how it could be improved.  

Alternatively, chief operating officers typically focused more on the overall operations of a business, rather than the day-to-day operations of specific departments or teams. They’re responsible for overseeing projects such as choosing new technology upgrades, finding new plants for manufacturing, and overseeing physical supply chains.  

At companies that have both a CAO and a COO, the two often work closely together to develop success metrics and goals for the company. Their roles are related enough that these two executives will have to strategize together when it comes to budgets or implementing regulatory and compliance rules. Both the CAO and COO have an eye on operations and efficiency, just in a different scope and area of the business.

Chief administrative officer salary

The average annual salary for a chief administrative officer is $122,748 per year, according to data from PayScale. Reported salaries for the role ranged from $67,000 to $216,000 depending on experience, certifications, and location. Entry-level CAOs with less than one year experience reported an average salary of $90,000, while those with one to four years’ experience reported an average annual salary of $93,174. Midlevel CAOs with five to nine years’ experience reported an average annual salary of $113,543, and experienced CAOs with 10 to 19 years’ experience reported an average annual salary of $133,343. Late career CAOs with over 20 years’ experience reported an average annual salary of $149,279.

IT Leadership