Insights from the 2023 Gartner® IT Infrastructure, Operations & Cloud Strategies Conference

Crowds Engage with Cloud Print Operations at Gartner Conference


Despite facing challenges in recent years, in-person events in the tech industry have made a remarkable comeback in 2023. These events are not only resurging but, in many cases, flourishing. There is something special about stepping away from the office and engaging face-to-face with peers, industry experts, and vendors, exploring trends and best practices, and being inspired professionally and personally. 

With this in mind, Pharos participated in the Gartner® IT Infrastructure, Operations & Cloud Strategies Conference in Las Vegas earlier this month. As exhibitors, our aim was to support, engage with, and learn from thousands of I&O leaders in attendance. The event offered over 200 sessions led by Gartner analysts and esteemed industry experts. In this blog post, we’ll share our key takeaways from the conference:

#1 – Teams should embrace generative transformation for IT operations

The opening keynote by Autumn Stanish, Dennis Smith, and Tom Bittman focused on the acceleration of technology and how I&O teams should respond to change, mitigate threats, and take advantage of new opportunities. While these concepts aren’t new, the unprecedented pace of change defines what Gartner terms as Generative Transformation. Essentially, it’s embracing transformation as the new way of operating within IT, leveraging GenAI, equipping staff and overhauling architectures and processes through infrastructure platform engineering (think software development principles applied to infrastructure). 

#2 – Generative AI Emergence: Disruption, transformation, and the risk-reward dilemma in IT infrastructure management

Perhaps no surprise here, but generative AI (GenAI) was the real star of the show, embedded throughout the conference, highlighting its potential to both disrupt and transform how teams deliver and manage IT infrastructure. From enhancing employee productivity to self-healing infrastructure, GenAI was at the forefront of conversations. By 2026, more than 90% of IT operations management tools will integrate GenAI capabilities. ServiceNow provided a notable case study showcasing the success of GenAI implementation within their service organization. While ServiceNow has recently experienced exponential growth in employees, they have only marginally increased their IT support team, all thanks to an AI-powered service approach. 

GenAI is expected to be as disruptive as the internet, yet it comes with its own set of costs. Its implementation will often necessitate dedicated infrastructure due to its computing and network requirements. There is an element of risk versus reward with GenAI, and businesses will need to consider how ambitious they want to be. Use GenAI to enhance daily productivity with lower risk/reward or consider transformative investments for higher risk/reward outcomes. 

#3 – Zero trust implementation should be a priority for IT teams

Zero Trust continues to gain traction. Attendees were treated to a presentation by John Kindervag, considered one of the world’s foremost cybersecurity experts and best known for creating the revolutionary Zero Trust Model of Cybersecurity. Zero Trust is a set of principles that replace implicit trust with continuously assessed explicit trust. While CISOs may be mandating their IT teams implement zero trust, a pragmatic approach was preached during the conference. The path is clear: start iterating where you are and pick practical projects for implementing Zero Trust principles. You can learn more about how Pharos Cloud supports Zero Trust principles here

#4 – On-premise print infrastructure is a challenge attendees are keen to address

While this was not a topic within the conference program, the Pharos team engaged with several hundred attendees over the 3 days, and discussed how on-premise print infrastructure was a critical issue for them. For those trying to eliminate or reduce on-premise infrastructure and its related support, print management is a barrier to cloud migration. I&O professionals are dealing with issues surrounding print security, driver management, print server management, a lack of transparency, limited analytics and as a result, missed opportunities to optimize costs. Naturally the Pharos team was more than happy to share how Pharos Cloud could help address these challenges! 

#5 – Sustainability is increasingly critical for I&O professionals

When we think about sustainability, our minds are often drawn to corporate social responsibility and prioritizing environmentally friendly practices. However, there is another aspect to this for IT leaders, and that’s the practical reality of what it takes to power IT infrastructure and the cost of doing so. This is going to be further impacted by the significantly higher power requirements of AI. Did you know that the human brain operates on a mere 12 watts, while Chat GPT-3 demands an astonishing 3,000,000 watts? Over 15 days, that’s 10,000 GPU processors and 1.3MWh! 

Gartner says that “By 2028, more than 70% of enterprises will alter their data center strategy due to limited energy supply, up from less than 5% in 2023”. Different hardware devices have very different profiles for IT emissions and subsequently require different strategies. Laptops while highly efficient in use, have the largest environmental impact in manufacturing (79% of their emissions). On the other end of the spectrum, servers have the largest IT emissions footprint when in use (88% of their emissions), which has huge implications for data centers. 

In Conclusion 

The pace of change in IT is only accelerating with Generative AI at the forefront of this acceleration. IT Infrastructure and Operations teams have the opportunity to lead this generative transformation if they invest in implementing significant changes to processes, skills, and architectures. This means rethinking how they approach every aspect of I&O, including office printing infrastructure. Migrating print operations to the cloud should be a quick win for I&O teams. Consider separating print hardware from print operations software and leveraging enterprise cloud print platforms like Pharos Cloud that support zero trust security principles. Moving to the cloud eliminates legacy on-premise print infrastructure and enables I&O teams to take charge of print operations, leveraging data to maximize efficiency and feed a broader generative AI infrastructure for IT service operations.

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