Nlyte Software: Accelerate business growth through core systems automation securely, compliantly and comfortably
The C-suite must become somewhat technically literate to understand, compete, and thrive in the data-everything world in which we live. There can be no ifs or buts. Those who don’t have some level of understanding as to how their data is managed, and of the underlying technology that drives all organisations onwards, cannot harness it strategically to drive an efficient and effective business.
Friction costs time, sales, and market share. Yet because organisations rely on a small cadre of technology literate employees or contractors to effectively maintain, police, and deliver the business foundations. That’s not wrong, but it does rely on a lot of trust. And as the security industry suggests of us all (as well as Ronald Reagan): Trust, but verify.
A particularly risky strategy is when company leadership believes that all is well, and don't ask the hard questions - like “is our technology infrastructure holding the business back from its strategic goals?
It behoves all leadership execs to understand a few things about their technology infrastructure, and about the common pitfalls. At the very least, avoiding the common traps of a neglected technology environment puts an enterprise into the rank of the frontrunners. No one wants to fall at the first hurdle.
What you need to know - and how to find out:
Where does your data live?
The data centre, if you have one, should not be ‘out of sight, out of mind’. It’s not some dusty digital storage facility - it’s the figurative bedrock of the whole enterprise. It’s where all the enterprise data is housed, and where the corporate applications and services are run from. Business chiefs need to understand where this is located, how it’s physically and digitally secured, and who has access to it.
Make it your business to understand the skills and the roles of those who look after it. Have them present their report on the physical and digital security of these assets.
If data is held in the cloud it can be helpful to remember that merely means ‘someone else’s data centre’ - so ultimately, the same rules should apply. You can ‘set and forget’ cloud services, but it’s smarter to have a clue of what you’re paying for, and if it’s money well spent.
How is your technology infrastructure managed?
Technology asset management is a technique that has grown up because of the proliferation of devices in the enterprise. It’s not silly to think of the change in a few decades. In the fifties no one had computers. Today one person may have a PC, laptop, tablet, two mobile phones, heck - even a calculator - not to mention all the background technology required to have those run: Servers, networking switches and routers, wireless routers, and physical security devices.
Then there’s all the software: From the applications and services consumed by business users, to those offered to the firm’s customers, and again, those that sit behind the users’ gaze (whether internal or external). And the software of the latter type could range from antivirus, helpdesk, networking protocols - to those unknown to the employees focused on business delivery, but vital to those maintaining the technology stack the whole business rests on top of.
The software to solve
These are software solutions with a range of acronyms, and they start to become more than foundational - because to remain ignorant of their role is to cede control of the enterprise to outside forces. Here we get into areas that can really impact not only business performance, but business viability.
SAM: Software asset management. Just as devices have proliferated, so to have the various software instances being run. This includes not only users’ machines, but those infrastructure solutions like servers host other software too. And licensed software needs to be paid for. Sadly, it’s not always easy to keep track if it has been correctly accounted for.
TAM: Technology asset management. All those devices listed before, and more, really should be accounted for, kept up to date, decommissioned if no longer needed, and protected from harm. But because they grow, move, and drop on and off the corporate network it can be a challenge for the IT team to understand what’s there, and harder still to get it to an appropriate level of health and hygiene.
WAM: Workload asset management. Those applications running on enterprise servers are masterpieces of complexity. They can however be an almost complete and total mystery in terms of the resources they consume and if they are appropriately economical and effective in what they deliver. This is one of the hardest problems to solve in today’s virtualised and abstracted computing environment. But to have the business understand and master it - as well as SAM and TAM, means that the enterprise compute stack is truly under control and pulling its weight.
Common perils to avoid
Device proliferation: Ensure the business only purchases, maintains, and pays for what it needs.
Hidden and zombie assets: Some assets, like servers, routers, or even PCs, might be stealing resources when they should have been decommissioned a long time past.
The perils of the cybersecurity threat: When the business doesn’t maintain cyber hygiene its risk factor shoot upward. It pays to stay safe.
The compliance hydra: Data protection, software licensing, industry specific regulations - they all have an impact on the compute infrastructure. Understanding this will help the business spend less to gain more as well as undertake the regulatory duty incumbent upon the business directors.
Automation is a must as it helps an enterprise play at peak performance. By removing manual processes, and by speeding tasks like discovery, the IT team can cut inefficiencies and speed up the whole process of innovation. For a business that offers some kind of IT service to others, this could mean the difference between a service and a five star service. Consider automation of areas like asset discovery and maintenance the safety blanket that keeps the enterprise safe, secure and happy with life.
Without the computing infrastructure there is no modern business. It needs to be nurtured from the top down if employees are to create innovation, work effectively, and open up new service areas for greater profit. And for that, senior leadership must understand it to guide it.
Nlyte automates the discovery, workflow management, and reporting across the entire technology stack, physical, virtual, and edge, including software and IoT devices. Nlyte reduces costs and risk while improving efficiency and transparency for the entire organization.
Some of the world’s most sophisticated IT organizations use Nlyte’s comprehensive out-of-the-box software solutions. Nlyte’s commitment to optimizing computing infrastructure, making it easier for people to do their job more efficiently and improve agility across the global organization, continues to develop a loyal following represented by a 98% retention of customers. For more information, visit www.nlyte.com or follow @Nlyte on Twitter.
Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl
Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.
With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.
You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?
I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.
We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.
What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?
I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.
The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.
I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.
What does success look like to you?
I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.