Leading integrator SCC has used the annual CIO Connect Conference to call upon the UK’s CIO community to rise to the challenges created by the Consumerisation of IT and the Bring-Your-Own-Device phenomenon or risk being rendered obsolete as ICT departments evolve to fill a new role in the corporate framework.
Speaking to a prestigious audience of leading technologists at the London event today about “Architecting Choice” SCC Corporate CTO Ian Sherratt said that with use of personal devices to complete work functions and access corporate information escalating, Chief Information Officers around the country are being presented with a raft of new challenges. Demand to bring tablet PCs, iPads and smart phones into the workplace has grown rapidly over the last two years, and is throwing up a range of issues around data security, hardware management and the changing role of the internal IT department.
“For the last few years people from around the industry have been involved in multiple discussions about the Consumerisation of IT, but now the time for talking is over. The Bring-Your-own-Device (BYOD) movement has accelerated with such rapidity that it has already become commonplace, and is fast creating a very real range of issues for enterprises across the country,” said Sherratt.
“Users are increasingly demanding to use mobile apps and a range of hardware within the corporate context while simultaneously insisting upon using their own devices for workplace functions too. They are defining their own productivity needs. In this scenario the traditional CIO role is under pressure and fast becoming at risk, leaving those in such positions with a clear need to redefine the role they play in company operations, and the need for them to switch to a business benefit and service focus. When the organisation can choose you as a service provider, or not, it is vital that your services match their expectations and the best of what the web and cloud can offer them” Sherratt commented.
SCC believes that the need to change towards a more data and user centric approach is creating major challenges for corporate CIOs as demand from users places increasing pressure on networks, data and security while simultaneously creating rising demand for new approaches to managing proliferating company hardware inventories. ICT departments traditionally concerned with desktop management and IT infrastructure are discovering that with the world changing around them, there is a mounting imperative to switch their focus onto data and the quality of it, which is fast becoming the preeminent corporate asset.
Sherratt added: “Do they fully understand the corporate data landscape? Do their users trust it? Is there a plan for its maintenance, curation and exploitation and what can that do for them if they understand the true value of their data? What is the business cost of poor quality data? What do you not know about your customers that could have changed your ability to delight or retain them? These are the questions that today’s CIO’s should be asking, because not understanding data and how to apply it is costing companies real money right now.”
According to SCC, in today’s shifting technology landscape the pressure is on for CIO’s to transform their role from one predicated upon IT delivery to a more business-specific focus on service delivery. The emerging emphasis is no longer about understanding the technical detail, but is instead focused upon how the technology can be deployed to benefit upon you as a company. This means a shift in thinking from “I run everything” towards “what is the IT that defines me as a CIO in this business?”
In a shift the company identifies as one of the biggest cultural changes to have faced ICT staff in over 20 years, the core function of many in-house support departments is moving from technologies focus to capabilities. The days of large demographic groups, such as “information worker” is over, it is the power of one, the individual, we must now contend with. It is a move traditionally seen as a fast route to outsourcing all IT functions, but many commentators now believe that this process could be the salvation of many CIOs as they take on a new and significant role more squarely focused upon service delivery – offering the chance to understand what’s truly important within their organisation and adopt a more business-critical focus. Sherratt calls this Architecting choice, and added, “We must build something that can flex and grow with business demand and user need, not repeat the monolithic approaches of the past.”
With many organisations using apps for a raft of corporate functions including expenses claims, mileage recording, CRM and sales, SCC has worked with enterprise scale clients to help them come to terms with the evolving role of commercial IT. The company works with in-house teams to create heat maps of their business and its functions, identifying areas where use is most critical. This process provides an understanding of where deploying such tools can deliver greatest business impact, joining together the blueprint for a more flexible and modern IT landscape, that embraces virtualisation, cloud, web, apps, and allows users to choose their productivity tools, making IT a supplier and aggregator of services, not a purveyor of hardware.
Sherratt commented: “The pace at which BYOD and the new wave of mobility has taken off is breathtaking. The industry is accustomed to operating a refresh cycle of 3-5 years or more around traditional desktops and laptops, but that process is fast evaporating and we must come to terms with the fact that users like what they like, and 5 years is a long time to be staring at the same window on the world, especially now. You could try to stop the process, but if you prevent people using the device of their choice, all the evidence shows that they will simply find ways to circumvent the rules – leaving organisations in a position where they will struggle to preserve data integrity and security because too many of their workforce are operating outside of the corporate governance system. Take heed, this is a do it, or have it done to you scenario”