Why companies to be at a loss without their IT department

Cloud computing and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) to drive modern IT solutions in the enterprise. From the ordinary employee, through specialist departments up to the board members constantly new cloud services and innovative devices are taken within the company and used for the daily work. In particular, the rapid access and ease of use of cloud solutions and consumer products to make attractive opportunities. What sounds like a workable idea at first is in reality a huge issue for CIOs and IT managers. Cloud computing and BYOD have led to a new form of shadow IT. It is the uncontrolled growth of IT solutions which employees and departments use without the knowledge of IT departments. The payment usually go over credit cards or expense to pass the IT. According to the motto: “Dear IT departments, what you are not able to provide in a fast and sufficiently good quality we get ourselves arbitrarily.” However, this leads to situations where, for example, enterprise data is stored on private Dropbox accounts where this, not only because of corporate policies, have no place.

Skills, desire and time

The easy access to cloud services in general has driven opinions into the market that IT departments could become extinct in this decade and the Line of Business Manager (LOB) will have all strings in their hands to purchase IT on their own. A fatal message. The fact is that most LOBs do not have the time, desire and knowledge to make such decisions.

This raises the question which tasks and responsibilities a LOB manager have to take additionally. In addition to the strategic direction of its department, the leadership and other organizational issues, is there still enough motivation left to take care of the “annoying” IT? That is doubtful.

Surely there is one or the other LOB manager who feels at ease with the challenges and would like to gain more influence over it. But just because someone almost perfectly understands his iPhone and can use a SaaS application, he does not yet have by far the skills to purchase and implement key IT processes.

Data silos and integration

Of course, LOB managers are informed about what they need for their own area. But do they also have the knowledge of which systems and interfaces have to play together? It sounds great when the marketing and sales manager, everyone for himself, can purchase own IT services. But what happens when the marketing wants to access the sales data and vice versa?

It should not be forgotten that companies, for many years, have been struggling with not well-integrated isolated solutions of applications and data silos. Cloud services potentiate this problem many times and solutions such as Dropbox are just the tip of the iceberg.

IT departments have the responsibility

IT departments need more control. Not to maintain the status quo, but because someone has to have the responsibility and the overview of the hybrid IT infrastructure in the future. At the same time, only the IT departments are able to monitor the various IT processes within the company and to define standard interfaces for cross-sectoral access. After all, when each department goes its own way, who is responsible to put away the mess at the end? Right, the IT departments! This also providers of cloud services should understand.

IT departments need to work together with the LOBs to understand and implement the technical requirements. However, this means that IT departments need to become more communicative.

By Rene Buest

Rene Buest is Gartner Analyst covering Infrastructure Services & Digital Operations. Prior to that he was Director of Technology Research at Arago, Senior Analyst and Cloud Practice Lead at Crisp Research, Principal Analyst at New Age Disruption and member of the worldwide Gigaom Research Analyst Network. Rene is considered as top cloud computing analyst in Germany and one of the worldwide top analysts in this area. In addition, he is one of the world’s top cloud computing influencers and belongs to the top 100 cloud computing experts on Twitter and Google+. Since the mid-90s he is focused on the strategic use of information technology in businesses and the IT impact on our society as well as disruptive technologies.

Rene Buest is the author of numerous professional technology articles. He regularly writes for well-known IT publications like Computerwoche, CIO Magazin, LANline as well as and is cited in German and international media – including New York Times, Forbes Magazin, Handelsblatt, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Wirtschaftswoche, Computerwoche, CIO, Manager Magazin and Harvard Business Manager. Furthermore Rene Buest is speaker and participant of experts rounds. He is founder of and writes about cloud computing, IT infrastructure, technologies, management and strategies. He holds a diploma in computer engineering from the Hochschule Bremen (Dipl.-Informatiker (FH)) as well as a M.Sc. in IT-Management and Information Systems from the FHDW Paderborn.