Can IT organizations deliver business outcomes?

IntegrationThe Gartner AADI Conference in London kicked off this morning with a keynote on how to bring IT organizations into the future. The first speaker, Gartner’s David Mitchell Smith, started off by asking the question, “Are you comfortable?” The crowd didn’t respond for the most part but Smith didn’t wait very long before following up with, “You shouldn’t be. The IT organizations I’m talking to aren’t comfortable at all.”

His question was a very good one to kick of a conference for IT executives. Most people within technology feel a healthy amount of concern about how they’ll navigate so many disruptive changes happening simultaneously. Each of what Gartner calls the Nexus of Forces, social, mobile, cloud, and information is highly disruptive on their own. Combined, these four trends meet up in places IT finds as unfamiliar ground.

Starting from behind

One of the biggest challenges facing technology departments today is a lack of control over what many call, “rogue IT.” These are the people in the organizations, mostly on the business side, who buy and use SaaS applications that may or may not be known to IT. Each of these applications represents siloed data and functionality that might duplicate what IT would normally create or fills in a blank that isn’t being delivered by IT.

Rogue IT, more than anything else, creates even greater integration challenges than IT already has. Most organizations still lack good integration of their application environment, what Gartner calls “good plumbing,” and rogue IT becomes a nearly impossible problem to solve. But there’s good news in the bad. Solving this problem is about being proactive and implementing readily available software that managed this. Consider this: If the organizations suffering from rogue IT had more mature integration to begin with, there would be less call for going around IT and keeping secrets from the people who have responsibility for security, durability, maintainability and…of course…integration.

Maturing integration

Gartner’s model for integration security looks like this:

  • Novice: App to app integration is common
  • Practitioner: Integration is used to cut cost and scale up
  • Master: Integration is key to supporting business initiatives

That third level is rare, if you listen to Gartner’s Dennis Gaughan. Most companies haven’t used integration as a proactive way to support their business. Unfortunately, most business decisions have shorter timelines for need than a non-integrated IT shop can deliver. It’s no wonder, then, that business people make the call to buy directly from a vendor without IT’s approval. IT may complain (and they do), but their lack of integration leaves the business with few other choices.

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Categories: Tech Strategy

Author:Chris Taylor

Reimagining the way work is done through big data, analytics, and event processing. There's no end to what we can change and improve. I wear myself out...

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One Comment on “Can IT organizations deliver business outcomes?”

  1. May 16, 2013 at 7:00 am #

    Rouge IT has been around since the first PC’s were connected to a network. PC Magazine and their ilk made everyone a “magazine Engineer” and the vendors were in heaven. So for Gartner the question should have been “who’s in charge”. I have successfully argued this point with every CEO I have consulted with and the negative impact of the CEO mandating that the CIO take and be in charge has been minimal. Once the CEO and officers are aware of the risks and the consequences of taking risks outside the process, the problem goes away. There will never be enough IT resources to satisfy all the businesses’ needs, abut rogue IT still costs money, well how can the CEO be sure the money couldn’t be leveraged better somewhere else?

    If the individual contemplating a rogue IT adventure has a good enough business case, then he should submit it or take 100% of the risk associated with not being integrated into the enterprise firewall, backup and recovery process.

    We have even had CEO’s implement accounts payable procedures stating that if the invoice even smelled of IT it had to be approved by the CIO. There was a drastic reduction in the magazine engineer population.

    What I have always found funny is that all major corporations have purchasing rules and a document called “Grants of Authority” indicating who can sigh for how much. Most non executive managers couldn’t sign for the office chair they’re sitting in yet some how a mufti-thousand dollar Sass App gets in. Rogue IT is a corporate control problem, not an IT problem.

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