5 Reasons Why Right-Brain Thinking Is Driving Cloud and IT Decisions

Have IT managers lost their minds? Or are they only using half their brains? And if so, which side are they using now? Which side might they use more of in 2015 and beyond?

The answer may surprise you. In what some might call the tale of two brains, IT managers are increasingly moving from the left side of their brain to the right. What do we mean by that?

The theory of left-brain or right-brain dominance suggests each side of the brain controls a different type of thinking. “For example, a person who is “left-brained” is often said to be more logical, analytical, and objective, while a person who is “right-brained” is said to be more intuitive, thoughtful, and subjective,” writes Kendra Cherry in Psychology Today.

There’s no denying that many IT managers are presumed to be more left-brained, due to the types of jobs they have traditionally gravitated to. They lean toward focusing on tangible technology and onsite dedicated equipment solutions, which correlates with a hardware box mentality. What else does left-side thinking mean to IT management? They tend to bring:

  • Logical, methodical, systematic planning to IT system management
  • The ability to see and articulate a direction and implement a solution
  • Sequential processing–one step leads to another–deadlines, schedules and regulations are all met
  • Great at math, as critical thinking and reasoning dominate
  • Problem-solving mentality to a situation right in front

Left-brain thinkers have dominated IT since its inception, but the increasing complexity of solutions, enabled by software, and the limitation of IT resources have caused many in IT to ”think different.”

In the same way Apple brought a different, more creative way of thinking to computing in 1997, the next generation of IT managers may not be techies. The next generation of IT managers may come from completely different backgrounds than computer science and information technology management. They will be more interested in outcomes for the business and less concerned with the technology that gets them there. Enter the world of cloud, where the right-brain IT manager is more focused on the functionality and capabilities they are providing to the business–not how is it being provided. They can leave the “how” to their cloud service provider.

These right-brained IT managers will think more subjectively, less objectively. Just as has happened in the worlds of finance, transportation, energy and design, IT is dealing in an increasingly complex world that requires intuitive, creative, big-picture problem solving. Creative approaches are causing a dramatic shift that is absolutely necessary for resource management and solutions that grow business value. All these drive the need for more right-brain thinking.

How radical is the shift?

The real question for the left-brain IT manager is “Why?”

Here are the 5 reasons why right brain thinking is increasingly needed in today’s IT managers. You can see many fit well with the drive to cloud:

Thanks to offsite application management and migration to the cloud, more than half of IT managers think of cloud first, leveraging technology that is off-premise and on the Web. Gone are the days of buying and installing pallets of equipment and running cables from x to y.

It’s about the revenue. It’s not about speeds and feeds. It’s not just the tech numbers anymore. It is not as much about driving the specs as it is about driving business goals and revenue, enhancing employee engagement and maximizing customer lifetime value.

IT managers are no longer being burdened with where to place the next server or how to keep a particular system up and running. CIOs are focusing on outcomes and productivity that drive business results.

It’s all about the Opex, not Capex. Shifting technologies and needs are leading many to look beyond investing equipment that grows old as soon as it is bought. Opex means that shifting needs can be quickly adapted to, and worrying about the next upgrade is replaced by driving adoption of the next great capability that will drive competitive advantage.

There’s an app for that. The cloud is the primary way to buy solutions that enable quick adoption of customer engagement, team engagement, and productivity solutions, leading to better business performance.

Which side of your brain dominates your thinking? The right or the left and why? How important is creativity in managing your IT environment?

Follow me on Twitter at @Pat_Patterson_V.

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Smarter Cloud Networking is Here, and it Starts with Avaya

The rise of digital transformation, along with growing application and data center needs, has placed more security demands on enterprise networks than ever. So much so that half of CEOs believe their industry is going to become “substantially or unrecognizably transformed by digital.”

These dynamic changes are significant for IT managers, as they are responsible for expertly managing today’s increasingly complex networks. IT resources are entrusted with one critical job: find a way to securely and reliably deploy wired and wireless networks with complete control and visibility—anytime, anywhere.

This of course isn’t as easy as it sounds, especially for companies that lack the necessary IT resources or budget. In fact, “budget and resource constraints” was listed as one of eight top challenges cited by IT professionals in a global survey last year. The average company spent $400,000 on networking equipment in 2014—a number that increased by nearly 20% in 2015.

Here’s the good news: cloud managed networking has emerged as an affordable and efficient network management alternative for many companies. There are a large number of advantages to leveraging a managed cloud solution. First, the technology is easier to operate than an on-premises platform, accelerating time to deployment. The technology also requires virtually no in-house maintenance, which frees up internal teams to handle other high-priority tasks while drastically lowering the risk of manual, error-prone, on-premises deployment work. Perhaps best of all, managed cloud solutions enable businesses to optimize their expenses and reduce costs.

For IT managers, cloud networking translates into reduced day-to-day maintenance tasks (i.e., software upgrades, patches) and improved operational agility—all at a fraction of the cost of traditional solutions. Businesses understand these benefits; in fact, it’s expected that by 2020, 90% of IT industry growth will be fueled by third-party managed technologies.

There’s only one problem: cloud solutions of the past will never effectively meet today’s next-generation networking needs. Businesses require a managed cloud solution that explicitly addresses today’s core IT issues of reliability and security; a solution that enables them to not just survive, but thrive in today’s smart, digital world. That’s exactly why Avaya is announcing its all-new Cloud Networking Platform Solution.

Our advanced solution for large enterprises and medium-sized businesses is inherently built to address security and reliability head on, with a strong underlying focus on simplicity and ease of use. Here’s how businesses will uniquely benefit:

  • Deploy wired and wireless networks with minimal resources:

    Users can seamlessly centralize network management, visibility and control without the complexity of controller appliances or overlay management software. That means hardware (like switches and access points) that are installed on premises can be easily configured and managed in the cloud.

  • Add, change or modify network services on the fly

    : The agile nature of our solution allows IT managers to easily add, change or modify their network services via an easy-to-use dashboard, enabling them to meet their business needs as they inevitably grow and change. For example, zero-touch activation enables managers to automate software upgrades, patches and licenses in order to relieve maintenance burdens. The solution also boasts built-in guest and BYOD on-boarding.

  • Guarantee data isolation among cloud tenants with true multi-tenancy:

    This key security component of our solution guarantees that user traffic will always remain on your firewall-protected LAN. This way, cloud connectivity is only required for out of band management functionality. Meanwhile, standards-based encryption prevents visibility of communications between a customer site and the cloud.

  • Guarantee service availability with data center redundancy and data replication:

    Avaya’s solution helps ensure wireless access points act autonomously, even when the cloud connection is lost. Furthermore, the technology enables high availability by always processing traffic locally and providing security directly at the network edge in each access point.

As companies face insurmountable pressure to reduce IT resources and budgets, it’s clear that the market needs a smarter networking solution. Our new Cloud Networking Platform Solution allows businesses to enjoy the native benefits of the cloud that they have come to know and love, with the critical level of networking reliability and security they has been lacking—until now.

Learn more at our webinar “Debunking the Myths of Cloud Management” on October 26 at 10 am PST. Sign up now.

Service while you wait – eGain innovates to turn hold to gold

My first exposure to self-service IVR application development was back in the early 1990s. Over the years, I’ve participated in the evolution from simple menu-based interfaces (“Press 1 for sales, 2 for service…”), to full-blown natural-language interactions driven by intelligent, automated back-end capabilities (“Open the pod bay doors, Hal…”).

It’s still not perfect, and I find myself having to opt out and wait for a human agent more often than I care to. In fact, a study by Marchex released earlier this year estimated that I and my fellow Americans will be on hold in 2016 for more than 900 million hours. That’s a lot of wasted time.

So what do I end up doing? Mostly checking Facebook, responding to emails, and playing solitaire on my phone. Seems like my smartphone isn’t being used very smartly, and it’s certainly not making me happy when I’m sitting on hold and waiting for an available agent.

Since the launch of the Avaya Breeze™ Platform, we have been advocating the value of the Breeze platform to solve problems. Give us a use case (problem) and with Breeze, an innovative, scalable, secure solution can be developed in days to weeks. On hold time appears to be a major use case in need of an innovative solution.

In January, Forrester reported that 73% of customers say that valuing their time is the most important thing that companies can do to provide them with good customer service. So why make them waste time on hold (even if they are keeping up with their Instagram and Pintrest feeds) instead of actually helping them during that transition time from self-service to agent-assisted?

This is why I think eGain Corporation, one of our 2016 DevConnect Innovation Award winners, is onto something really big.

By creating the eGain Knowledge Snap-in for Avaya Breeze, Avaya customers can improve the overall experience and satisfaction of their own customers by making relevant information quickly available in a self-directed manner. In other words, eGain has innovated on Avaya a solution to the on hold problem.

How? By recognizing that an IVR user is calling with a smartphone, the Breeze-based workflow will work with eGain’s cloud-based knowledge base whenever the caller is queued between an IVR interaction and a contact center agent, presenting relevant content to the caller’s smartphone via SMS, based on the context of the information already collected via the IVR interactions, and allowing the user to self-select additional materials that are more visual in nature (such as basic repair-and-troubleshooting instructions, documents, or even video clips).

As a result, users can more often find their own answers before the agent becomes available. At a minimum, the customer will likely be better informed when talking to the agent, creating the opportunity for a shorter call overall.

Smartphone users have lots of ways to keep themselves busy while on hold. And while there is a certain enjoyable aspect to completing another level in whatever newest game you’ve loaded, nothing beats actually being productive when you have an issue you’re trying to solve. eGain’s Knowledge Snap-in and Avaya Breeze don’t just let end users mine for virtual coins in their spare time, they actually help turn those on-hold moments to gold for everyone.

Avaya Named a Leader in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Contact Center Infrastructure

Avaya is honored to be recognized as a leader in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Contact Center Infrastructure worldwide. Avaya has been the only vendor having the distinction of being named a Leader for 16 consecutive years. Each year the research organization creates a market view of key players for business users, reflecting business goals, needs, and priorities.

Contact centers have gone beyond phone calls with customers now expecting to communicate on their terms via text, IM, email, chat or video. For the past 16 years Avaya has created seamless and highly personalized experiences, building brand loyalty for companies all around the world.

According to Deloitte, 85% of organizations view customer experience provided through contact centers as a competitive differentiator. Todays companies must remain relevant by creating a single interface to connect customers with the correct resource each time, supporting their preferences. Supervisors and managers need real-time performance information to adapt immediately to situations to ensure optimized customer experience.

Avaya has focused its efforts on creating next-generation contact center solutions, creating communication strategies enabling a continuous transition between channels during customer interactions.

Please visit Gartner’s page to read the full report and see how Avaya’s Contact Center infrastructure continues to deliver best-of-breed Contact Center applications. We look forward to continuing innovation and leading business communications for the digital age.