How the Role of IT is Changing in the Enterprise: Research

While a great deal has been written about how the role of IT is being transformed in response to disruptive technology change, recent research from Avanade and InformationWeek puts some hard numbers behind the words.

Reporting on those study results, Shelly Kramer notes that the traditional enterprise IT model is under pressure as rapidly evolving business needs and increasing tech-savvy employees demand faster, more flexible technology approaches.

changing role of IT in the enterpriseAs she observes, “it’s not unusual for the IT function to be viewed as something of an obstruction to be worked around rather than an asset to the business. This leads to the rise of alternative, external cloud solutions being adopted directly by other business unit leaders and a hodgepodge of unconnected ‘solutions’ being used by various factions within the company.”  Working around IT rather than with it leads to risks enterprises need to acknowledge and address.

Recognizing these risks, Kramer continues, ” It’s important for enterprise IT leaders and the managed service providers who serve them to recognize the threat that this evolving technical landscape poses to their futures and, equally important, the potential damage this does within the business itself, and take steps to move toward the frictionless enterprise that their company needs and demands.”  Indeed, it’s vital for enterprise IT groups to embrace new approaches in order to not only mitigate that “potential damage” but also increase speed and flexibility in optimizing business technology use.

Among the key findings Kramer cites from the research:

“Seventy-one percent of C-Level executives think they can make quicker and better technology decisions without the involvement of the IT function.”

The risks of rogue buying (or development) include wasteful/redundant spending, lack of integration with existing systems, and data security breaches. In its changing role, though IT no longer controls all technology acquisition or development, it can give business process owners the tools to solve problems in an efficient and secure manner.

“More than a third (36 percent) of time spent by IT staff is on managing legacy systems.”

There is still a tremendous amount of data and business value within these legacy systems, so they aren’t going away any time soon. As it takes an evolutionary approach to change, enterprise IT can give business users, via modern systems of engagement, new tools and methods for taking advantage of that business value.

“More than two-thirds (68 percent) of IT decision makers feel responsible for technology use and security, but consider that they don’t have sufficient control to manage these issues effectively.”

Implementing an enterprise request management (ERM) strategy—an intuitive centralized request portal integrated with back-end fulfillment process automation—can play a key role in addressing these issues. Provide users with cloud computing resources, low-code tools, BYOD device registration, and other services in a manner that leverages existing systems and supports enterprise data compliance and security.

Regarding the increasing popularity of SaaS products, Kramer states, ” Technology managers need to…prove to both internal and external entities that they have something to offer in sourcing, integrating, and maintaining SaaS products into the organization’s IT structure.”

Utilizing an enterprise service integration (ESI) approach is vital to connecting SaaS applications to on-premises and legacy management and control systems in a secure, scalable and flexible manner. The value is in maintaining a single “version of the truth” (e.g., a customer name and address) in one system, that can be used by any other application as necessary. This avoids data discrepancies and the time and cost involved in manually updating multiple systems with duplicate data.

And on the topic of mobility, Kramer writes, “Mobile provides another area of difficulty for IT, not so much in the customer interface but in the security and operability issues posed by the proliferation of so many different devices and operating systems…around two-thirds of organizations have a policy that allows employees to bring their own devices for work use…this widespread use of BYOD has brought a whole new set of challenges to tech managers and administrators. IT teams now need to be able to implement policies and develop…a mobile application strategy for both employees and customers.”

Enterprise IT groups are adapting support practices and redesigning processes to support mobile users and protect sensitive data. Developing a “mobile application strategy” again involves, in many cases, creating mobile-friendly systems of engagement to provide access to specific information, whether that resides in legacy systems, departmental management applications, or cloud tools.

As just one quick example: a global energy company wanted to reduce service delivery costs by deflecting more support phone calls to web-based self-service. (Gartner has estimated such savings at $22 per call deflected.) Upon releasing a mobile-friendly version of its online request portal, the company noticed an immediate 2% increase in self-service requests from mobile devices pertaining to laptop malfunction issues—previously, employees with malfunctioning laptops had no option but to call support. Given the organization’s size and support incident volume, that 2% increase alone saved more than $160,000 annually.

Kramer concludes, “by focusing on getting their arms around fragmentation, finding trusted managed service provider partners to help complement their own in-house expertise and focusing on innovative thinking to deliver solutions that demonstrate internally that the best solutions can and will come from IT—that’s the real key to success–both for the IT team, and the organization as a whole.” Hard to argue with that.

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2 thoughts on “How the Role of IT is Changing in the Enterprise: Research”

  1. Thanks for the shout out re my post and the research it covered. It led me to discover your blog, which I like a lot! And I’ll definitely check out the webinar mentioned here. Appreciate the heads up.

    1. You’re most welcome Shelly! The changing role of IT is a vital topic, and your research summary was a valuable contribution to the conversation.

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