As an IT professional, technology evolution can be a blessing and a curse.
The constant conveyor belt of new products mean you have potentially a huge arsenal of tools at your disposal. But the demands of the business and the difficulties of where to place your technology bets means you’re constantly facing difficult decisions.
At the moment, we’re experiencing the most accelerated pace of IT change we’ve ever known. Cloud computing, big data / analytics, mobile and social are transforming the way we work and the way our businesses operate.
Yet, there remains a sentiment in some quarters that the IT department has lost influence in the business in recent years, is unreliable or is a barrier to progress, lacking the necessary knowledge to tackle and implement new solutions and infrastructures efficiently.
We think these trends and the technologies that support them, however, represent a massive opportunity. In fact, we don’t think there’s been a better time for an IT manager to shine, delivering real value to the wider business and transforming the perception from cost centre to business enabler.
The secret is in the enabler bit. The rise of trends such as BYOD and even Bring Your Own Cloud have led – quite rightly – to employees feeling increasingly empowered. They’re bringing their own devices into the workplace, using consumer apps for business purposes and sharing data externally using tools such as Dropbox.
Your challenge is to ensure that employees can continue to innovate and drive change in the way they work, but in a secure environment. As applications move around the data centre and out to the cloud, it’s easy for security and access policies can become disconnected, particularly when supporting an increasing number of personal devices requires additional policies. By consolidating security and access control at the application delivery tier, you can consistently enforce policies while also improving scalability—to ensure vital services are available to users—across applications and environments.
IT has to be in control, but that doesn’t mean restricting the innovation within your organisation. By ensuring a secure but flexible IT infrastructure is in place with a defined set of processes, business units can incorporate technology which works well for their needs, and allows them to make their own IT choices.
In fact, although the transformation of IT can be a daunting prospect, it also offers a fantastic opportunity to build closer ties with other business units and develop a more collaborative approach. It’s not a time to wait for them to come to you – make the point of reaching out beyond the IT department to find out how you can better work with the wider team to support new digital initiatives in the company. Discuss your cloud, BYOD or security strategy with business unit heads and encourage them to put you in front of their team to better understand their needs and explain the central processes which they should follow.
The good news is that IT spend is continuing to increase. According to a recent global study from Gartner, global IT spending in 2013 will increase 4.2% compared with last year, reaching £2.28tn.
The IT heroes will be the ones who spend it wisely, enabling the business to carry on what it does best.