The quintessential CIO is no longer viewed as the IT head, but a key strategist charged with the responsibility of driving business transformation through technology.
Each vertical is faced with unique technological challenges, but the one thing that remains constant for CIOs across the board is figuring out the right technology to deploy, and zeroing down on the right partner to help them digitally transform.
The present-day CIOs demand technological advancements that help them achieve business goals, drive quarter-on-quarter revenue growth and future proof their organizations for digital disruptions through an agile, reliable infrastructure.
And Intel, with a track record spanning over four decades, aims to do precisely that.
At the seventh edition of the CIO Summit, Prakash Mallya, MD at Intel India discussed at length, key technology trends and challenges with CIOs from various verticals like BFSI, manufacturing, IT and e-commerce.
Throwing light on Intel’s vision for 2018, he highlighted the company’s focus on emerging technologies like AI, IoT and 5G, and how this vision lays the groundwork for CIOs to usher in digital revolution.
Challenges abound for the new age CIO
CIOs at the roundtable brought forth the challenges they face and how their role has evolved in wake of digital disruption.
Form a revenue point of view, businesses expect to see a quarter-to-quarter growth. Mid-sized companies are typically growing at 12 to 14 percent, and changing the way business is done is key to that growth.
The IT leaders revealed that OEMs understand the application landscape, but they don't know about the platform underneath. Digital disruption, they pointed out, has cannibalized their conventional revenue model by 40 percent. Another trend they observed was that customers are giving equal importance to startups, tier-1 and tier-2 companies.
CIOs revealed that hiring has seen a dip in the last four quarters due to the automation brought about by digital disruption.
Representatives of the BFSI space said that 2017 was a year of huge disruptions – brought about by GST, and the growing significance of NPCI and UIDAI. They expect 2018 to be another challenging year not only for CIOs in banking, but for CIOs in fintech as well.
Those working in partnership with the government, for instance railways, revealed that the challenge when it comes to working in this sector is that the IT operations are run by railway employees who do not have an understanding about databases or IT systems.
The IT captains also raised concerns about the need for constantly upgrading existing infrastructure, and future proofing businesses. Times have changed, and CIOs no longer have the luxury of taking 9 to 18 months to deploy a project.
What Intel brings to the table
Just three years back, more than 70 percent of Intel’s business was PC-driven. Last quarter, the tech giant ended with about 55 percent of its business in PCs, and the rest of its business was driven by datacenters, IoT, storage, and some drone-related ventures as well. Interestingly, this faction is growing much faster than the PC business today.
"From a strategy point of view, I think we'll get much more data-centric than ever before. We'll build out the cloud datacenter technology. We'll have workload accelerators like FPGAs, storage-related workload acceleration, and 5G - which will glue all of this together. These are the areas on which we're heavily investing on," said Mallya.
CPUs have been doubling in capacity and horsepower every 18 months. Intel has been trying to bridge the gap between the expensive D-RAM and the cheaper, but slower hard drive, with SSDs.
"We're investing in 3D NAND, as this would make WAN storage happen at a cost point which is very compelling, but delivers much higher performance compared to the hard drive. Technologies like Optane can dramatically increase performance by placing cache-like capacity very close to the CPU," he added.
Mallya believes that technologies like this are set to completely transform the datacenter space, and are already doing so over the last two years. Xeon Scalable is one of the largest leaps the company has made in over a decade, and is able to sustain a variety of workloads.
With respect to gearing up for 5G, he pointed out that the current state of the network cannot really take on 5G immediately. It needs to get to an agile infrastructure, and that is why the network function is getting virtualized and the infrastructure is being built on open standards. "A lot of Indian telcos are on that trajectory, and are moving very aggressively, and we'll see some stiff competition among them to win the end consumer," shared Mallya.
With a whole host of disruptive technologies, Intel is on course to partner with the new age CIO on his journey from becoming a technology enabler to a business transformer.