CIO Confidential: What Keeps CIOs and IT Leaders Up at Night

By Ginna Raahauge, CIO at Zayo

For businesses to deliver value to customers, they must stay on top of customer challenges. At Zayo, we understand the macro trends our customers are currently facing — such as remote and hybrid work and the growing importance of user experience — have impacted how they approach business.

To get to the heart of these pain points, we sat down with CIOs and IT leaders across industries to candidly discuss where they are in their digital transformation journeys, the emerging infrastructure technologies they’re using, and their biggest fears and pressures when it comes to the future of their business. 

Here are some of the insights they shared:

On Where They Are in Their Digital Transformation Journeys

Cloud migration and hybrid cloud strategies continue to be priorities among CIOs and IT leaders, but their experiences vary. Some IT leaders are finding great success with cloud migration and hybrid cloud strategies by leveraging both for agile outcomes and back-office transformation, resulting in organizational strengthening.

“Four years ago, 80% of our workload was on-premises. Now, about 30% is on-premises. We have worked very hard to migrate all of our critical applications to the cloud, so that’s working well.” – CIO in healthcare

Others are more cautious about their cloud usage, only wanting to use it where it makes sense for their business and partners.

“We are fully in the cloud for certain technologies like mail, office, and business tasks that don’t require heavy data lifting. We are also moving some very critical business-facing apps to the cloud. But we’ve decided not to move everything just because the cloud is cool and everyone wants to have a cloud. It’s more about the benefits we can have and show to our partners at each step.” – IT leader in financial services

In review:

CIO Pain Points:How best to utilize cloud strategies for their businessesThe Way Forward:As CIOs and IT leaders decide how best to use cloud migration and hybrid cloud strategies for their business needs, enhanced SD-WAN solutions can ensure cloud migration, however it’s used, goes seamlessly. SD-WAN technology provides a managed network infrastructure that can flex with changing needs, connect all sites optimally to the cloud, and ensure that mission-critical applications run effectively at all locations.Investing in a private cloud connection can also enable seamless migrations at high bandwidth while avoiding threats of network hijacking, network congestion, and expensive egress fees.

On Emerging Infrastructure-Related Technologies to Watch

CIOs and IT leaders noted their need to protect data and other sensitive information has become more imperative in remote environments, leading them to strengthen their security with emerging technologies.

“The demand for effective end-user experience is high, so there is a need for making something with a secure edge that  can be managed remotely across thousands of the same device.” – CIO in printing technology

In review:

CIO Pain Points:Ensuring data remains protected in remote environments.The Way Forward:Employing a solution like secure access service edge (SASE) — which authenticates users, devices, and traffic as they enter and leave private networks, sites, or data centers — enables CIOs and IT leaders to manage and mitigate security threats that come with a more Internet-enabled enterprise.Implementing a zero trust remote access solution can also ensure security for all end users accessing your data.

On Their Biggest Fears and Pressures

The increasing pace of technology and rapid innovation create new pressure points for CIOs and IT leaders to keep up with customer demand.

“Being in the financial markets and attempting to be on the cutting edge suggests that our innovation needs to happen rapidly. The concept of rapid innovation requires us to constantly stay on the cutting edge in terms of resource allocation, provisioning and planning.” – IT leader in financial services

Infrastructure transformation is also a concern for CIOs and IT leaders as they work to navigate this new territory and ensure their systems can handle it.

“The movement of data centers to cloud, organizational strengthening, leveraging cloud for agile outcomes and back-office transformation requires a complete infrastructure overhaul, which is a daunting undertaking.” – CIO in printing technology

In review:

CIO Pain Points:Enabling innovations to happen quickly to keep up with customer demandTransforming infrastructure to accommodate changing business needs, like cloud migrationThe Way Forward:One essential part of transforming infrastructure and enabling fast innovation is solving latency needs with the edge. By pushing data processing closer to end users, modern enterprises can ensure they have the network performance they need to be agile and power the right infrastructure for their digital transformation needs.In order to future-proof and monitor performance of systems, another solution to consider is network intelligence. With network intelligence, companies can continuously gather and analyze data insights on their network and improve operational ability.

The insights the CIOs and IT leaders provided show the state of their digital transformation journeys, how they’re leveraging new technologies to improve their companies, and the pressures and fears they’ve experienced along the way. Their hidden insights, and the technical decisions they’ve made, can guide other organizations as they go through digital transformation.

We believe in continuously tapping and employing these learnings at Zayo to empower our customers with the solutions and infrastructure needed to move the needle from digital transformation to digital acceleration and enable them to connect what’s next.

To read the full report from Zayo, visit:

Digital Transformation, IT Leadership