Onboarding technology is easier than paring back IT, especially in hybrid multicloud ecosystems teeming with tempting “as a Service” features.
As companies move forward with modernization, new cloud capabilities pile up atop existing legacy systems, leading to redundancies and inefficiencies. Overlapping technologies can chip away at the budget, consuming valuable engineering bandwidth at a time of tech talent scarcity.
The economic downturn, which led analyst firms to scale back global IT spending forecasts earlier this year, has pushed companies to scrutinize budgets and given CIOs opportunity to reassess and rationalize, Jason Conyard, SVP and CIO at cloud computing and virtualization software company VMware, told CIO Dive.
“We are very, very good at adding things,” Conyard said. “We are really, really bad at taking things away.”
VMware is one of the few Silicon Valley giants that hasn’t undergone hiring freezes or succumbed to the layoffs trend that overtook the tech sector last year. The company is the dominant player in the global market for virtualization infrastructure software and the subject of a stalled $61 billion acquisitio by chip manufacturer Broadcom.
“VMware is not only a tech company — it's a very forward-looking tech company,” Conyard said. “But sometimes we're the cobbler’s children.”
The company’s tech estate includes legacy technologies that were just good enough a decade and a half ago, as well as ERP and CRM systems that may be due for an update, Conyard said. ERP modernization can be costly and complex, leading companies to stall and IT leaders to carefully weigh available options.
In addition to technical debt, there are the typical redundancies of a company that has undergone mergers or acquisitions. Once embedded, those technologies can be hard to displace.
“The tech estate is a little bit like the sandbags on a hot air balloon,” Conyard said. Failing to cut some of them loose can slow down the enterprise instead of driving it forward.
Complications are inherent to digital transformation. Nearly two-thirds of companies operate under multicloud strategies, according to a Vanson Bourne survey of nearly 6,000 organizations commissioned last year by VMware. More than three-quarters of those organizations reported struggling to control costs.
“Businesses have an insatiable appetite for technology,” Conyard said. “But the ROI is not always so obvious. A time of constraint is a perfect opportunity to say, ‘okay, let's really think about how we focus the limited resources we have on the things that are truly going to give us the biggest lift.'”