Teams, not individuals, are the greatest achievers in Technology.

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Developing high-performing teams will be the focus of many enterprises in 2020. Companies will confront the fallacy that pace is what unlocks the company’s full potential and recognize that how the company organizes its people and information flow is what determines performance.

Organizing for a dynamic and complex environment requires a much different structure than the traditional command-and-control pyramid. Talent acquisition and development strategies must be built on a team-of-teams approach consisting of multidimensional individuals, rather than traditional siloed teams consisting of single subject matter experts. Put differently, the focus shifts from developing so-called 10x individuals to developing 20x teams.

Lessons from the battlefield

Vector Hand Drawn Leadership Concept Sketch. Stock Vector - Illustration of champion, abstract: 113869486

The transformation of the battlefield and the U.S. military’s adaptation offers an excellent case study, specifically the experience in Ramadi, Iraq. The unpredictability and dynamic conditions of the battlefield are similar to the current business environment: combating insurgents who utilize asymmetrical tactics and are well equipped with the latest technology, while having to maintain and grow the customer base (citizenry).

The “clear, hold and build” strategy that worked in Ramadi revealed that capabilities such as raids had been elevated to the level of strategy. Modern business has done something similar by elevating the increase in pace, agile and DevOps capabilities to strategy. However, merely holding meetings more frequently and in a different manner falls short of desired results. What companies need, as the military learned, is more flexible joint power from multidimensional teams that provide multiple options in the face of volatility, rather than the limited options of a traditional pyramid of teams.

As retired U.S. Army General Stanley McChrystal explains in Team of Teams, the military in Iraq needed to be not only efficient but also adaptable. It became a priority to focus on reconfiguring to be able to deal with volatility quickly. Simply deploying more resources and putting more people to work, to become more efficient in the current operating model, was not enough. As McChrystal points out, the traditional pyramid constrains team productivity due to choke points, ineffective communication channels, stifled creativity and inadequate response time.

So the military created linkages between teams, put people from different service branches and agencies on the same team, and shared information widely so everyone understood the larger mission and could make decisions accordingly. McChrystal understood that “technology had changed in such a way that management had become a limfac [limiting factor].”

The same is true in today’s business environment, where an explosion of technological progress — improved capabilities to track, measure and predict via big data and advanced analytics; moonshot projects; and unconventional business models — has created a more interdependent, fast-paced and complex business environment. In this environment, companies need interconnected multidimensional teams that can adapt and scale.

The new teams

Microsoft added all these new features to Teams in February and March - MSPoweruser

The new interconnected teams have diverse skills that capitalize on the team’s collective intelligence and increase a team’s productivity. The shared sense of purpose and mentoring that occurs within the team not only strengthens the relationships and performance but also mitigates knowledge gaps between senior and junior employees.

Populate these teams with double-deep personnel and now you have the ability to scale across the company, purposefully cross training your people to fill gaps. This creates a natural talent pipeline. Rotating people through different teams means employees advance through project-based promotions and team assignments rather than the traditional subjective requirements.

In order to be effective and maximize the potential of these multifaceted teams, they need to be empowered to make decisions. This does not mean they operate totally on their own, but they “have implicit trust that their senior leaders will back their decisions,” as Navy SEALs Jocko Willink and Leif Babin point out in Extreme Ownership. With proper decentralized command, teams that are closest to the situation can execute in a manner that supports the overarching goal without having to ask for permission.

In 2020 leaders will determine how to, in the words of McChrystal, “scale the fluidity of teams across entire organizations” amidst the chaos of ongoing business transformation. Ultimately, building better teams will build better individuals and enterprises. The ability to develop and lead a network of high-performing teams will be key to business success in the post-digital age.

Reasons why Storage-as-a-Service is the natural next step in your IT transition

CloudINX : Storge as a Service :: Zadara Partner

Businesses are juggling an increasingly complex data and IT environment, in which they are faced with overwhelming amounts of data and vast numbers of applications.

Many current on-premises storage environments, with infrastructure that typically has reached the end of its service life, are not sustainable. The result: inefficiencies, the inability to leverage innovative capabilities, poor performance, escalating maintenance costs, underutilized storage capacity and complicated security arrangements. Compounding the problem is the fact that companies are typically spending 70 cents of every dollar on managing their traditional IT environments, leaving little room for investment in next-generation capabilities.

Using a consumption-based private cloud for storage, also known as Storage-as-a-Service (STaaS), opens doors to cost savings, secure and compliant infrastructure, the ability to leverage the latest technologies – such as automation, artificial intelligence and bionics – and a reduction in waste. STaaS can transform your storage environment in five important ways:

  • Eliminate unused capacity. Typically, companies have tended to overprovision storage capacity because of uncertainty about how much would be needed. While most companies think they use as much as 75% or 80% of capacity, detailed analysis has found that as much as 60% of storage capacity is not used. Although 100% utilization is an unrealistic target, companies should be aiming for 85%. The question you have to ask yourself is, are you willing to pay a slightly higher premium per gigabyte of storage for better utilization? Adopting an agile storage model will show in a somewhat higher per unit cost but opens the way to a comprehensive and flexible service that can result in overall cost reduction opportunities of up to 50%.

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  • Effectively balance performance and capacity. A simple way to think about storage is as capacity vs performance. In the past, your data was distributed on a spinning disk that involved a trade-off between capacity and performance. To get acceptable performance, companies typically compromised with too much capacity, leading to inefficiencies. Today, with the advent of solid-state drives, you can dial between your capacity and performance based on compression and deduplication technologies that expand the amount of data you can store. This allows for greater flexibility between capacity and performance storage, which is hugely significant to the chief information officer, who no longer has to guess in advance just how much capacity versus storage will be needed. The end result is economic efficiency because you aren’t overprovisioned in any particular aspect of your storage kit, and you can respond to growth or decline, seasonal variations or fluctuations in demand.

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  • Scale capacity. There’s a good reason why companies typically massively overprovision for storage, and that’s because they know that it takes months to get the storage they require. If they aren’t sure, they will buy more than they need rather than take the risk of running short. But STaaS provides the elasticity you need to quickly scale up capacity without being held hostage to the limits of a particular storage array. By paying a flat rate per GB based on volume, your price per GB goes down as your volume increases — and you aren’t held back by the limitations involved with adding a new storage array.

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  • Increase manageability. STaaS has some distinct advantages when it comes to managing storage, including the ability to remotely manage and monitor the performance and health of your storage for capacity, failures and other issues. Furthermore, several levels of data protection ensure against unwanted replication of the data or loss of data due to disaster. You’re also better able to manage cost and seasonal requirements because you are only paying for what’s on the storage array. So, for instance, a retail customer who has greater analysis requirements in October and November in preparation for the holiday season can dial up that additional storage capacity, pay for it on an as-needed basis and get rid of it in January.

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  • Use bionics and analytics to increase availability. The true benefits of bionics and analytics in STaaS lie in providing a better, faster and cheaper service. The service provider can use the technologies to automate alerts and auto discover any issues, so the storage environment runs more smoothly. You might not notice that capabilities are being scaled up faster or that processes are more repeatable and scalable, but you will notice cost reductions and greater reliability of reporting.

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Changing the storage story

The pressure continues to mount on CIOs and other business leaders to embrace digital transformation and the capabilities enabled by AI and other advanced technologies. The challenge, however, is where do you find the resources for this transformation if you’re investing 70% of every dollar on managing your traditional IT environment? By reducing your spend by up to 50% through STaaS, you can reinvest in digital technologies and in the resources and skills you need to meet the technology challenges of the future.

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