All things considered, it’s a challenging time to be the leader of an IT organization. What are the most pressing issues? To find out, we asked 100 executives at organizations with 1,000 or more employees about the current and future roles of CIOs.

The survey results provided insight into the progress IT executives have made in assuming more strategic roles. These revelations also exposed the obstacles they continue to face. In fact, some issues raise fundamental questions about how CIOs can best drive business innovation within their companies.

By and large, CIOs and other IT executives still spend much of their time working on routine tasks – essentially making sure that existing platforms and associated services are fully operational.

Despite these day-to-day demands, many IT executives surveyed also manage to engage in a variety of business activities -- including the 45 percent of survey respondents who say they make time to align IT initiatives with overarching strategic goals.

Few, however, are satisfied with their current level of engagement with Line of Business leaders. More than anything, IT executives want to spend more time contributing to business strategy. When asked where they would like to focus during the next three to five years, most survey respondents (48 percent) indicated they specifically want to apply new business technology for competitive differentiation.

Desire aside, the question remains – how do you achieve that goal? What approach would most likely free-up time, which could be re-directed to the pursuit of untapped strategic business opportunities?

Proven Path to Business Strategy Engagement
If you’re one of those CIOs that yearn to play a more strategic role, then consider the likely ways to break free from constraints that hold you back. One proven method, to recover both IT executive time and available budget, is to adopt virtualization technology within the datacenter.

Rather than consuming more and more IT resources on inefficient legacy server platform operation and management, virtualization provides automation that typically delivers increased application provisioning speed and improved infrastructure optimization results.

However, while virtualization has offered a compelling way to consolidate expensive hardware and enhance utilization, the benefits can diminish over time. The first step is to optimize all the workloads that aren't already virtualized -- Linux workloads, for example. Once virtualization is ubiquitous in your datacenter, how can you achieve even greater financial savings and improve performance?

An effective approach to counter the typical high-cost of proprietary virtualization software licenses is to consider the alternatives. A solution that’s based upon an economical enterprise-ready open source software subscription is a viable option that many savvy IT executives have adopted.

Time and Resources Available for New Projects
Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization is a comprehensive management solution for server virtualization. It was the first full open source, enterprise-ready virtualization platform. Some Red Hat customers  who have deployed Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization have experienced savings between 50–75% over proprietary alternatives and run hundreds of virtual machines on a server.

We’ve just announced Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization 3.4, which features advanced enterprise-class functionality – as well as OpenStack integration. Our pricing model is simple and predictable, with no hidden fees. New releases can be immediately incorporated, at no additional cost.

Moreover, we’re offering a Smart Virtualization combination that delivers high levels of performance, scalability, and security, along with  savings that you can apply instantly.

Besides, it provides an affordable forward-looking path for a rapid future migration to OpenStack, thereby enabling you to progressively move workloads to a secure private cloud services platform. When you’re ready to take that next step, you can easily update your configuration to incorporate the additional product components required, from our integrated Open Hybrid Cloud portfolio.

So there it is – you now have a plan of action to put into practice today. It not only frees up time you can reinvest in creating ideas for new technology that will enable competitive differentiation, you can also apply any recovered budget you may have gained to execute on those astute business advancements.

To learn more about our current solutions, explore the Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization approach and discover how you can start the journey to fulfill the one thing you want, more than anything.  Just imagine how it will feel when you’re able to join the ranks of those IT executives that have finally achieved their deferred strategic goals and objectives.

Act now. Contact your Red Hat representative if you’re ready to deploy your first solution, upgrade an existing virtualization deployment, or if you have questions about pricing or availability in your region.

Image credit: andrechinn under CC BY-SA 2.0

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