How People-Oriented IT Can Help Your Business Thrive
There’s never been a more exciting time for technology.
And yet there’s never been a more stressful time for the people who manage a business’ technology — corporate IT. Even though mega-trends like mobile, cloud and big data have combined to build the kind of next generation capabilities IT once championed, today, roles have reversed and the professionals in IT are the ones who find themselves saying “no” the most.
Whenever new technology impacts a business process or function, there are roughly two responses: The first is one of pragmatic concern at the upheaval it might cause, and the second is an enthusiastic acceptance of a newer, better way of doing things.
But, bogged down by the complexity of legacy systems and increasingly international, multi-device infrastructures, in some cases corporate IT is starting to come across as a bottleneck or in some cases, even worse -– a bonafide obstacle to business success.
Part of the reason why there’s been such a drastic role reversal in the relationship between business users and IT in the last few years is because while business users have been calling for evolution, IT has (understandably) been calling for stability and organization.
Nobody knows or understands how complex and difficult it is to secure new cloud and mobile technologies as well as the CIOs and CTOs who are being badgered to do so. As much as frustrated business users might be compelled to think so, corporate IT isn’t obstructing their efforts for any insignificant reason.
If they’re doing so, it’s because they want to make sure they can adequately protect their organization’s systems, customers and sensitive data.
“Most networks are secure. Most businesses require security, otherwise they wouldn’t be in business, “ says Lyle Paczkowski, senior technology strategist at Sprint. “But the advanced state is trust. Security is something done, like encryption, but trust has to be known. Businesses have to trust the device as much as the person.”
The cruel irony is that in trying to establish more secure protocols and practices, IT ends up motivating business users to go behind their backs and set up insecure cloud instances or mobile devices. Business users will do what’s most efficient and convenient for them.
The trouble is that today, that means working around IT and compromising the organization.
So how does IT stop this vicious cycle of bottlenecks and bad practices? Put simply, the only answer is to look the business users in the eye and start giving them the freedom to work exactly the way they want to. The only way that works is when IT is the one delivering the new technology.
But it does take a new approach and a realignment of priorities with business users. By structuring IT’s efforts around giving these users the kind of ease of experience they’re used to as consumers, the business gets the flexibility and evolution it needs, while IT becomes a key strategic function.
A new breed of CIOs and CTOs are already spearheading this new approach to IT and they’re making the most of available, secure as-a-service models to outsource the complexity and keep things light and simple. More importantly, they’re taking back the throne of IT-in-residence and getting excited once more about the incredible new age of technology in which they live.
We like to think of this as the imperative to ‘lighten up’: Trading traditional-style, on-premise infrastructures for agile cloud and mobile solutions that let IT align with the business without sacrificing security or scalability.
This is a new dynamic for IT and a new opportunity for businesses of every size. And it couldn’t be more exciting.