1. Distance doesn’t matter.
Employees now expect to be able to collaborate in real-time with any co-worker. They expect to have access to whatever data or services the company offers no matter where they happen to be. Where in the world that co-worker actually works is irrelevant. They may be working from home, different offices, at airports, manufacturing facilities, or even on a ship somewhere. Knowledge workers need the flexibility to work wherever they must in order to best complete their jobs. That may mean on-site, at a customer’s office, or even from the quiet of their own home. IT must be an enabler for the way business needs to operate. Waiting 20 minutes for a file to be sent between workers – even if they are across the world from each other – is no longer acceptable for the employee or for the customer project that they are working on.
2. Business never stops.
With a globalized workforce – and a rapidly globalizing customer base – businesses cannot afford their operations to be stopped for even a few minutes. Responsiveness to disaster or failure – often characterized by recovery point objective (RPO) and recovery time objective (RTO) – must go far beyond responding to common problems like a failed SAN or a downed fiber connection. Issues like hurricanes or a flu pandemic might force workers to operate from home for an unspecified period of time. Compromised data centers may require enterprise to rapidly switch operations to secondary locations with no loss in information.
3. Applications and data must be available everywhere but all in one place.
With organizations working harder to protect their valuable data and sensitive customer information, many IT organizations are engaging in IT consolidation projects. Consolidating data makes it easier to track, protect, and restore. Beginning with remote tape backup and progressing to more complicated projects like file servers, document management applications, PLM systems, and Web applications, CIOs are demanding that data be brought back from remote offices. At the same time, businesses recognize that the data and applications were “out there” for a reason – that’s where they needed to be accessed. So while consolidation is an important strategy for data protection and cost control, it can negatively impact business operations unless LAN-like performance can be maintained everywhere.
4. Knowledge must be harnessed – and data must be managed.
Consolidation goes a long way to eliminating the islands of storage and data that evolve over time. But with organizations being required to react quickly in the face of
change, or move in order to take advantage of an opportunity, flexibility in moving data and applications is essential. CIOs must be able to quickly move massive amounts of data, and potentially set up application infrastructure in remote locations overnight. New offices and merged/acquired businesses must quickly be absorbed into the fabric of the existing organization by providing them immediate access to new systems and data.
5. There are no second-class enterprise citizens.
The days of the “important” people working at corporate HQ are rapidly fading. Employees everywhere are now empowered to make important decisions. Whether it is designing or manufacturing a product, working with a customer, or working on a localized version of an advertising campaign, work happens everywhere. And the work of the distributed employee isn’t less important than anyone else’s work. Just as importantly, these workers need to interact with their colleagues, applications and data everywhere. CIOs and IT managers may no longer prioritize workers based on their geographic location. Every member of the enterprise needs to have access to the same applications, at the same level of application performance.
from “The CIO’s new guide to design of global IT infrastructure”