IT Resiliency: Chuck Norris Isn’t Coming to Save Your Data Center
If you’re worried about the resiliency of your IT infrastructure, you’re not alone. Less than 10 percent of companies report their existing IT infrastructure is ready for the demands of mobile, social, big data and cloud. According to IBM’s global study on the economic impact of IT risk, an outage of less than 20 minutes can cost a business as much as $1 million; an outage of seven hours costs up to $14.2 million in lost productivity, lost revenue and reputation damage.
Meanwhile, IT workloads are changing, and many companies aren’t ready. The Data Center Journal predicted that data center workloads will double and cloud workloads will triple by 2018. Gartner estimated that the number of Internet of Everything (IoE) units would reach 26 billion by 2020, bringing major complications to the supply chain.
Yet despite the risks, IT resiliency isn’t a priority in the C-suite. When interruptions happen, execs assume someone — perhaps the CIO, CTO or business continuity manager — will miraculously avert disaster and prevent millions of dollars in losses.
Maybe they hope Chuck Norris will magically appear and save the IT infrastructure. And while Chuck Norris knows many things, he’s no IT expert. Even if your CEO has him on speed dial, he’s not coming to save your data center. It’s your job to push through the C-suite’s thinking and make IT resiliency a priority.
IT Resiliency: Make It Their Problem
Executives without IT knowledge or experience often view resiliency as someone else’s problem; it’s not real, relatable or urgent in their eyes. Your role is to explain how IT resiliency solves two kinds of problems for the C-suite: problems they know they have and problems they don’t know they have.
Conversations within the C-suite and your company’s annual report will identify what your CEO sees as the company’s biggest challenges. Certain problems and priorities are common to any kind of business. These include:
- Increasing profits and shareholder value;
- Identifying opportunities for expansion and growth;
- Retaining competitive advantage;
- Ensuring regulatory compliance; and
- Avoiding reputational damage.
Executives also have problems related to IT resiliency that they don’t know about yet. These challenges include:
- Strain from technological transitions like big data, mobility management, social networking, cloud computing and the IoE;
- Increased global infrastructure risk as operations expand overseas;
- Day-to-day risks, including application failure and server hardware malfunction, and the risk to interdependent systems such as the company’s cloud contact center;
- Exposure to risk from human error; and
- Data breaches costing hundreds of millions of dollars and putting C-suite jobs at risk.
Make It Seem Real
Your next task is to have your executives envision themselves having these problems. Instead of talking in broad hypotheticals, use these strategies to create urgency:
Find examples within your own company and similar companies that show an investment in IT resiliency would have saved money. When possible, express costs in dollars, not percentages, to deliver the greatest impact.
- Explain the cost of the data breach, downtime or other IT infrastructure problem.
- Share all costs related to repair and recovery after the incident.
- Show how much it would have cost to invest in IT resiliency before the problem occurred.
- Demonstrate the ROI of investing in IT resiliency before problems happen.
Make C-suite members feel like characters in both small- and large-scale disaster scenarios:
- Present problems that could occur within your company.
- Game them out, including specific costs and logistics, in a realistic way.
- Base your scenarios on real-life, cautionary tales from other companies whenever possible.
- Include not only IT’s role in fixing the problem, but also how problems would affect individual executives: added time at work, lost business opportunities, uncomfortable press conferences and calls for resignation, to name a few consequences.
Although you’re communicating with capable business leaders, you’re not sharing information with IT subject matter experts. Always keep presentations simple, highly visual and free of jargon.
The Heroes Are Already on the Scene
Ultimately, advancing IT resiliency means helping executives see themselves as heroes. Your executives can either become the winners who save the data center or losers who didn’t see the bad guys coming.
Chuck Norris isn’t coming to save your data center. It’s up to you to be the hero. Check out the e-guide “Building the business case for resiliency” for more information on getting your IT departments and C-suites seeing eye to eye.