Three Key Takeaways from the 2016 State of IT Report

As 2015 winds down, IT leaders and their teams are looking at internal needs and external conditions in formulating plans and setting budget priorities for the coming year.

The recently released 2016 State of IT Report from Spiceworks provides a wealth of information about how IT teams are formulating plans for the year ahead.

The report covers IT budgets, spending and staffing plans; the trends and concerns keeping IT pros up at night; and a look forward at technology adoption trends.

Among the abundance of facts and stats presented, here are three noteworthy findings, along with additional observations.

IT pros will “need to keep doing more… with less.” (Here’s one strategy to help.)

One of the key top-level conclusions reported by Spiceworks is: “IT pros don’t expect their IT staff to increase in 2016, which means they’ll need to keep doing more… with less.”

How IT can do more with less

At the same time, more than half of IT organizations say “end-user need” is a key purchase driver.

Continue reading “Three Key Takeaways from the 2016 State of IT Report”

Looking Back: The Top 20 at 200

As the Kinetic Vision blog approaches another significant milestone, its 200th post, here’s a look back at the top 20 most-read posts since the blog’s launch in March of 2011.

Not surprisingly, the phrases that occur most frequently in the posts below indicate readers are most interested in industry research about request management (that’s what we do), its applications (service catalogs, employee onboarding, BYOD) and its benefits (cost savings, process automation, risk management).

Request management blog posts: - top 20 at 200It’s also not surprising many of these are “evergreen” posts; these are articles with a long “shelf life” that continue to draw significant numbers of views month after month. The most-read post so far in 2015 (How IT Will Change by 2020 – Research From HDI) narrowly missed the list below, coming in at #23 all-time.

Here then are the top 20:

Continue reading “Looking Back: The Top 20 at 200”

Top 10 Service Request Management Posts of 2015 (So Far)

CIOs and other IT leaders are confronted with rapid and significant change on all sides: digital disruption is transforming business models, cloud computing is transforming infrastructure, and consumerization along with the increasing influx of millennial workers are transforming expectations of IT and its role in the enterprise.

2015 Top 10 Service Request Management Blog PostsIt’s no surprise then, looking back at the top 10 posts here of 2015 so far, that current trends and predictions for the near-term future dominate the topics.

The top three posts all present research findings pertaining to technology trends and their effects on the future of IT service management and support. The fifth-most-read post even asks if the term “IT” is still appropriate (or whether “business technology” should replace it).

Continue reading “Top 10 Service Request Management Posts of 2015 (So Far)”

Cloud Computing and Legacy Applications: Why an Evolutionary Approach Works Best

While change is a constant in IT,  there’s no question that the technology developments of the past couple of years and what’s in store for the coming year are…different. The confluence of cloud computing, BYOD, consumerization, shadow IT, low-code platforms, the Internet of Things (IoT), and big data, among other trends, is creating challenges that are bigger, faster, and more disruptive than ever before.

Mainframes remain vital in the cloud computing era
Image credit: Enterprise Tech

In IT Leadership 2.0: Transform Yourself or Fade Away on CIO Insight, Frank Wander writes:

“A giant wave is crashing over IT as we know it. Our industry is one where waves regularly come and go, each one pushing something we held precious into the past. We have come to understand that technologies have a limited life span. It is an accepted notion in our industry. But this current wave is different—it is a tsunami, and IT leaders are in danger of being swept away.”

Continue reading “Cloud Computing and Legacy Applications: Why an Evolutionary Approach Works Best”

The 10 Most Popular Posts on Kinetic Vision in 2014

Our goal on the Kinetic Vision blog is to help business and IT professionals keep pace with changing technology, business practices and user expectations, and to improve operations by applying enterprise request management (ERM) and business process automation strategies.

Top 10 request management blog posts of 2014Total visits to the blog this year increased nearly 60% from 2013. The results are gratifying, and a reflection of the strong interest in improving business-IT alignment, the user experience, and bottom-line results using evolutionary, agile approaches.

Here are the ten most-read posts on the blog this past year. While these posts cover a range of topics from support to employee onboarding to BYOD policies, and range in date from March 2012 through September of this year, most address one common theme: Continue reading “The 10 Most Popular Posts on Kinetic Vision in 2014”

What’s Under the Tree This Year for CIOs?

CIOs have help with innovating in networking, infrastructure, and security on their wish lists this year, though cloud adoption is at the top.

That’s according to CIOs Face Internal Hurdles in Innovation Efforts, a research study on top tech priorities published earlier this year by CIO Insight. This post won’t unwrap that entire package, but will peek at a few of the goodies inside.

CIO top tech priorities for 2015

Information gap:  “Nearly two-thirds (of CIOs in this survey) say their organizations are only ‘fair’ or ‘poor’ at documenting, retaining, and putting ‘tribal knowledge’ about technology to use.” Continue reading “What’s Under the Tree This Year for CIOs?”

Six Key Takeaways from the HDI – itSMF USA Service Management Report

IT service management (ITSM) principles are being embraced in shared service functions (HR, finance, facilities, etc.) in an increasing number of organizations. Whether applied within the enterprise or by service providers, ITSM tools and practices are helping to improve processes and reduce service costs. The results are better alignment between IT and business functions, faster service fulfillment, and happier end users.

ITSM isn't just for IT anymore Continue reading “Six Key Takeaways from the HDI – itSMF USA Service Management Report”

Practical Ways to Bridge the Gap Between IT and The Business

Every successful enterprise, obviously, relies on a range of skillsets within the organization: strategic, financial, promotional, technical, managerial, inspirational, and interpersonal. But why is the “technical” component–IT groups in particular–so often criticized for being disconnected or out of sync with “the business”? In contrast, no one ever complains that their company’s accounting department is holding back the organization’s forward progress.

Mark Thiele, in the InformationWeek article Sync IT And Business Like A School Of Fish, writes:

How to bridge the gap between IT and the business“Keeping IT and business in sync is not a new goal — it’s been discussed for years…Even when the business removes political and functional barriers, there are serious limitations in how quickly and effectively IT can respond. The limitations of legacy IT relate to the difficulty of effecting change…The fact is, businesses have historically always acted faster than IT, and new digitally driven business models will only widen the chasm.”

His recommendation is an approach he terms “composable IT”–essentially, basing the delivery of operational capabilities “on services outside the enterprise datacenter” in order to more deftly adapt to  “mobility, cloud, SaaS, wearable tech, the Internet of Things,” and other emerging trends in this era of disruptive IT change.

The recommendations in this article are, for the most part, thoughtful and productive; particularly in terms of how training and incentive systems will need to change in order to accelerate adoption. But discussions of the “chasm” between IT and the business too often paint IT professionals as resistant to change, or even opposed to new business technologies.

That’s nonsense, of course. Everybody in business (that includes IT professionals) wants to be the hero: to exceed expectations, improve the bottom line, bring new capabilities to the enterprise, enhance productivity, reduce costs, and still be home in time for dinner.

Given the wave of new cloud-based and mobile capabilities washing over the business world, IT groups undeniably need to evolve practices to be more nimble and agile. But business leaders and users in other functional areas also need to understand that sometimes there are extremely valid reasons to wait, or at least proceed with caution, that are indeed in the best interests of “the business.”

Here are three practical ways to productively bridge the perceived gap between IT and other business functions, and move forward in ways that embrace change without discarding prudence.

Recognize the importance—to the business—of system and data security. As noted here previously, the attitude of IT groups in general toward the BYOD trend changed dramatically in just 24 months; in some companies, from forbidding the use of employees’ own devices for work to demanding it.

IT leaders weren’t wrong to be cautious of employees using their personal devices to access business systems back in 2011 when data security, anti-theft, data backup, and device management tools were weak or lacking, any more than they’ve been wrong to shift to a more embracing approach as those tools have matured (though somesecurity concerns remain).

Data security is a business concern, not just an IT worry. The average cost of a data breach is $3.5 million, and includes not just direct loss but also loss of customers (and customer confidence) and, in many cases, negative media coverage.

The challenge for IT leaders is to communicate the risks of poor data security in business terms. It’s not that the latest mobile business intelligence app isn’t really cool and useful, it’s that CIOs don’t want to risk millions of dollars and the company’s reputation on an untested and insecure connection to corporate data.

Don’t “throw out the baby with the bathwater.” Without delving into the origins of that idiom, in this context it means: don’t presume it’s best to throw out those dusty old legacy applications and replace them all with cloud-based apps. In many mature enterprises, core legacy applications remain vital in storing customer and financial data and running fundamental business processes.

That said, applying intuitive, web-based, mobile-friendly systems of engagement to legacy management and control systems of record increases enterprise agility and flexibility, as well as the speed with which IT can respond to changes in the business, without the difficulty and risk of modifying core legacy application code.

Empower business users to create their own solutions (using approved tools). One example of this is in enterprise request management (ERM) rollouts; graphical mapping tools enable business process owners in any department (e.g., HR for PTO requests, facilities for conference room reservations) to design, test, optimize, and deploy their own workflow processes–with minimal IT assistance.

ERM represents, in many ways, the ideal approach to the new IT paradigm; give users information about the options, capabilities, and costs of different approaches to solving business problems, then enable them to choose from a (tested and approved) set of alternatives.

To respond to rapid change, in both business practices and technology, IT groups need to adopt approaches and processes that support speed and flexibility. As Thiele and other authors point out, some old beliefs and practices will need to be discarded. But prudence, maintaining a clear-eyed view of data security, and leveraging existing investments wherever possible will never become obsolete.

Next steps: