By George Ralph, RFA – Everything is virtual these days. From virtual teams, spread across the globe, which can perform better than traditional on-site teams, to the virtual offices they work in, at home, in the coffee shop, in shared office space. If the right technology is in place, people can work anywhere.
To take advantage of virtual services, the right technology has to be in place. For a virtual team to work effectively, there needs to be a collaboration tool which allows everyone to ask questions, or share ideas and seek approval or input. There also needs to be secure and speedy access to corporate networks, applications and data otherwise productivity and user experience will suffer.
When thinking about employing a virtual team, or a virtual resource, such as a virtual CTO, CIO or CISO, what are the main drivers? For many customers the drivers would be the scarcity of those precious resources, and the limited availability of skilled people locally. Great people who can work remotely are much more effective than mediocre local resources. Harness the talent and cast your net wider. A virtual CTO or CIO can provide strategic advice and guidance, drawing on broad experience and preventing firms from going down the wrong, potentially costly, path.
Virtual teams can also be financially viable for smaller businesses. The cost of a C level resource can be prohibitive for some firms, so a virtual resource brings all the benefits of the person in less hours, and with lower employment overheads.
In addition to virtual teams, most organisations are now using or planning to use some form of virtual technology services, in the form of cloud services, and according to the latest research from the Cloud Industry Forum, adoption rates in the UK are at 88 per cent, with 67 per cent expecting their adoption of cloud services to increase during 2017.
Our Infrastructure as a Service solutions allow our clients to pick and choose the services they need without investing in their own infrastructure. This is how services are being delivered and virtualisation, which is how cloud services are architected and was popularised by VMware throughout the past decade has now become so ubiquitous, that last year Gartner deemed it “mature” and have ceased producing a server virtualisation magic quadrant. Nowadays every part of the IT infrastructure can be virtual; virtual desktops, virtual storage, virtual SANs, virtual networks, virtual LANs, and virtual data centres. Intel Security, in its research report “Building Trust in a Cloudy Sky: The State of Cloud Adoption and Security” states that 73 per cent of companies are planning to move to a fully software-defined data centre by 2019, of which virtualisation is the first step.
Virtualisation and software-defined everything, brings many benefits over traditionally deployed infrastructure, namely superior performance, higher availability and cost savings, as the IT department can achieve more at a lower cost. Scalability is easy to achieve and full visibility and centralised management of resources allow IT professionals to maintain optimal data centre operations and keep systems running smoothly. There really isn’t an alternative, and whether you realise it or not, if you use public or multi-cloud services, you are taking advantage of software defined, virtualised environments as standard.
Without even touching on virtual reality, and all the fun that you can have there, it’s fair to say that virtual services really are taking over the world.