Data center performance metrics – capacity, reliability, resiliency, downtime, sustainability, efficiency, security, flexibility, latency, and longevity – have not traditionally been a part of CEO conversations. Maybe they’ve been the purview of CIOs and CTOs, but more likely, the only people who really paid attention to those data center metrics were people actively running a data center.
That has changed.
As Patrick Flynn, Group Leader of Applied Intelligence and Sustainability at IO, writes in The Metrics that Matter to the CEO: Yes, Optimizing Data Center Performance is a CEO Concern, published today on Forbes, “Why should the CEO care about the performance of the data center? At stake is the very competitiveness of the business! IT is not overhead. IT is the engine for business intelligence that feeds product development, marketing, sales, and competitive strategy. What could be more important to a CEO than improving that system?”
Data center performance is now a CEO issue – what changed?
IT matters more now, in every corner of the business. IT is no longer a business function like HR or accounting, but a strategic enabler of core business strategy. Flynn explained in an interview earlier this year: “Digital infrastructure mediates every interaction with every constituency. Within a company. Between a company and its vendors. Most important, with a company’s customers. Even if I go to my local bank branch, all the teller is doing is accessing a software application to deposit my check. Whether I deposit my check with a smart phone app, or whether I go to the branch, fundamentally, my entire satisfaction with that bank is completely dependent on the performance of its software.”
Yet at the same time, IT budgets continue to shrink. Every year, IT leaders are expected to do more with less. Gartner research shows, for example, that of 19 industries surveyed, only 5 saw an increase in IT spend as a percentage of revenue. So the efficient expenditure of resources in the data center is increasingly critical. Yet as Flynn writes in Forbes, “Until recently, CEOs and the business and IT managers who work for them have not been able to fully measure data center performance. Which means they haven’t been able to manage that performance. They’ve likely been over-powering, over-provisioning – and over-spending.”
Ultimately, the consequence for CEOs of not paying attention to data center performance metrics is getting out-competed. As Flynn explained in an interview, “A driver of innovation, an accelerator of performance, is going to be digital infrastructure. If a CEO is not thinking about the quality of the digital customer experience they are delivering, the quality of the data they’re getting, the efficiency of the system that stores it and processes it, the tools with which everybody in his organization can access the right data, at the right time, for the right insight, for the right value, they’re going to get passed by.”
In other words, data center performance metrics matter to the CEO. It’s a cost issue, yes. But it’s a competitiveness issue even more.
The Metrics that Matter to the CEO: Yes, Optimizing Data Center Performance is a CEO Concern (Forbes article)
Applied Intelligence discussion panel (video)
Interview with Patrick Flynn (IO blog)