I recently had the opportunity to host a VIP roundtable discussion with 12 global, cross-industry executives, about the critical role of information technology (IT) in powering new business models and delivering better services in the connected economy. We talked about why IT leaders are the new service providers, how collaboration between IT and the business will keep an organization competitive, and why hybrid architectures and technologies like cognitive computing are transforming the role of IT. Simply stated, IT has become the critical bedrock to innovation.

Among IT thought leaders today, there seems to be widespread agreement:

  • The work of IT is changing.
  • IT and lines of business will achieve the most success when they work together on shared goals.
  • Building a strong infrastructure remains fundamental, and today’s businesses are being built for hybrid cloud.
  • Looking to the future means designing systems capable of supporting the latest analytics and cognitive services.

In other words, IT strategy is now business strategy.

Watch how 12 thought-leaders are changing the face of business, and how business executives can work closely with IT to stay ahead of the curve.

Understanding the IT transformation
Every business today is looking for ways to increase its speed and agility. The expectations of customers in the digital era continue to grow, and to meet their demands your business needs fast, efficient IT operations that facilitate rapid innovation.

According to a recent IBV study, more than 70 percent of business leaders believe technology will make or break their companies. In a rapid response world, intelligent, real-time insight is vital, and achieving this starts with a strong IT foundation.

Build a strong foundation
If you are an IT leader looking to drive digital transformation for your organization, you know you have to start at the very core of business by creating hybrid cloud infrastructure designed for collaborative innovation. To enable new capabilities such as cognitive services, you need servers and storage solutions that integrate data from across the enterprise; incorporate IoT and mobile services; are built for efficient data analysis; and can support all kinds of workloads for service predictability. In your new role as a trusted service provider for your organization, you have the potential to build an infrastructure that guides your business into the future.

Drive collaboration across IT and lines of business
As companies endeavor to get ahead, market leaders all have one thing in common: they are looking to IT to help them gain a competitive advantage. The work of IT now stretches beyond the data center and into business strategy. In my previous blog post, I discussed how IT leaders are expected to be not just service providers but agents of transformation in their companies. As a result, the C-suite and lines of business are now partnering with IT to achieve shared objectives—a collaborative effort that can lead to more innovation and business growth.

The time has come when IT is business. If you’re only doing hardware or software you’re not succeeding.
—Mukesh Sharma, Senior IT Manager, Welch’s

Is your IT infrastructure set up to take advantage of the cognitive era?
As the role of IT evolves, IT leaders will become the principal service providers for their organizations. IT leaders will emerge as the heroes in the boardroom, delivering speed and agility to business operations, driving the business forward and making way for business innovation. So when your business takes the next step in its digital transformation, look to the hybrid cloud. And, with help from IBM Systems, develop an IT infrastructure that can support the next era of computing— for cognitive business and beyond.

To learn more about what global executives like you are doing to embrace the cognitive era, watch the other roundtable videos.

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