Businesses too often silo their network, with multiple leaders owning individual parts of the technology infrastructure – sometimes a bit too competitively. Executives will defend their piece of the pie, their projects, and their budget — looking out for what belongs to their team. But this is a poor approach for the health of the organization’s most critical platform.

Technology infrastructure needs to be built and nurtured through collaboration to ensure it meets all business objectives.

According to The 2023 State of IT report, most companies will increase their tech budgets in 2023. That’s good news for most IT professionals, but it’s not a cure-all and it doesn’t resolve how companies prioritize technology needs. Deloitte’s recent CFO Signals report shows CFOs actually moving away from prioritizing technology. Only 14% of CFOs who participated saying IT infrastructure was a priority. That is a major stakeholder that’s not on board.

Tech leaders need to be united on the requirements of their infrastructure with equal consideration for hardware upgrades, end-of-life plans, special projects, hybrid work apps, and the security that should weave through it all.

To get the attention of CFOs, the infrastructure business case must be clear.

Technology provides digital equality

A good place to start is the Cisco’s Portfolio Explorer, where it quickly becomes obvious that businesses are dependent on strong technology infrastructures to function in today’s market – no matter what industry.

Today’s businesses don’t function out of buildings anymore, they function on networks that reside partially on-prem and in the cloud. The virtual office, whether you’re at home or a Starbucks, is the new cubicle and your company’s physical office is the new conference room – a place to meet up with people now and then.

But for all this to happen effectively, hybrid work applications must be seamlessly incorporated into infrastructure, it must be easy to monitor and manage, and security cannot be an afterthought.

Hybrid work technologies give workers equality, no matter where they’re working from.

But it doesn’t happen without the thoughtful alignment of software and infrastructure, and the understanding that infrastructure is critical to the business. The cloud is a merger of software and infrastructure, and if investments across the business aren’t well aligned, money is wasted. Investing in something innovative does no good if end of life issues aren’t resolved or critical hardware isn’t maintained.

Talk about “we” rather than “me”

Leaders often come to planning table with a “me” attitude — and that’s understandable. Our jobs are to look out for the interests of our teams and what they need to get done, so it’s easy to fall into that mindset. However, this approach doesn’t serve the overall business.

A company can get the best bang for its budget by overlaying objectives like a Venn diagram, instead of approaching the topic from silos. There is always overlap, and those segments should share costs across the overlapping budgets. Security should be everyone’s priority.

The attitude at the planning table requires a lot more EQ than IQ. We must listen and complement each other. The focus should remain on the overall business, rather than the organization’s individual departments and silos.

Talk about “we” instead of “me” — and see the power of your infrastructure come to life.

The three steps to better IT planning

There are a lot of ways to approach more cohesive planning across your business, but here are my three key tips:

  1. Reach out to your peers. Aim to build a platform that serves everyone today and in the future.
  2. Whoever your counterparts are in the organization, create a platform that meets both their business and technical objectives and your own. Work cohesively as a team. Everyone at the table should have equal play.
  3. Make and talk about the budget as a single topic. Look at all business needs objectively, and work together to find ways to combine budgets to serve everyone. Let the power of teamwork support the broader business goals.

If you’re thinking about connecting your technology budgets and developing a unified approach to meeting your business’s needs, check out Cisco’s Portfolio Explorer, which lets you review options based on different industries.

And if you want to talk to someone about how your company can meet everyone’s technology goals through one secure platform, let me know. I love to show leaders how they can meet their requirements and how a unified approach can build better, more secure networks.

Cisco Portfolio Explorer

Explore the use cases and architectures that are making a difference in your industry.


Mike Colao

Director Engineering Sales

Global Enterprise