Over the past few decades, organizations have applied technology primarily to reduce costs. Faster computers, instantaneous global communications, and specialized software for every business function have dramatically improved productivity and driven costs out of the value chain.
But the days of cost reduction as the primary focus of IT may have ended. As noted here a year ago, “improving the effectiveness of business processes” has replaced reducing costs as the top concern of IT leaders.
As the mission of IT is transformed from driving out costs to driving business model innovation, IT’s profile is raised as well. Per the BPI research, almost two-thirds (65%) of enterprises “say technology has become ‘far more important’ to their organizations in the past five years. Another 28% see it as ‘somewhat’ more important.” Continue reading “How Service Catalogs Help Enterprise IT Innovation”
The role of the CIO has shifted dramatically in the past few years, from the traditional focus on “keeping the lights on” to playing a more strategic part in aligning IT with the business, as well as embracing trends like the consumerization of IT.
As Bruzzese writes, “The best CIOs, (Muller) says, know that results beat out technology. Having great technology doesn’t mean much if customers aren’t having a good user experience.”
Muller believes CIOs should not only contribute their expertise to efforts aimed at providing a great customer experience (for both internal and external “customers”), but to take a leadership role in this area.
He views IT leaders as uniquely positioned for this task, because CIOs “have total visibility across the organization,” and with that access, “have a golden opportunity to help develop innovative strategies and spur collaborations that will have a big impact on the organization’s overall success.”
The current state of the market for enterprise collaboration applications seems to present somewhat of a paradox. On one hand, leaders in business and government recognize the increasingly vital role collaboration will play in the future of work, and the benefits of apply the right tools and technology to facilitate that collaboration.
On the other hand, other than for simple point-solution tools (e.g., file sharing, team chat applications), actual adoption of enterprise collaboration technology remains low. They are often viewed as tools that are difficult for CIOs to “sell” within their organizations.
The tide may be shifting: a recent study by IDG Global Research found that “79% of all respondents consider internal collaboration to be of high importance at their organizations overall and 60% of all respondents consider external collaboration to be of high importance.” Furthermore, half plan to back up those beliefs with increased spending on enterprise collaboration technology in the coming year.
While there’s a great deal of chatter about team chat applications, actual enterprise adoption remains low. Why? Quite possibly it’s because enterprises won’t invest in new tools without a specific need; and when such needs are identified, team chat apps often lack the functionality required to address them.
From major retailers to news services to government agencies, headlines about major data breaches are now alarmingly common.
Of course, hacking is nothing new. Initially the province of underground hobbyists, hacking burst into public consciousness with the release of the 1983 movie War Games. Though it’s now quaintly nostalgic, clips from the film were actually shown in the U.S. Congress at the time as “a ‘realistic representation’ of the dangers of hacking,” and inspired passage of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) within a year.
Today, despite heightened awareness (and extensive investments in data protection technologies), the number and cost of data breaches continue to rise as foreign governments and cyber criminals seek to steal information for commercial and military advantage.
But while automation technologies broadly speaking (robots, “smart” machines, and software) may not destroy many jobs (if any) on net, they will certainly change the nature of the future of work.
The work of the future will be technology-assisted, data-driven, and collaborative. Simple, autonomous tasks (e.g., scanning a barcode) are easy to automate. Complex tasks requiring a mix of expertise (e.g., designing and developing a business software application) are far more difficult, and not candidates for automation any time soon.
All but the simplest processes in an enterprise require collaboration of some type, whether it’s two co-workers writing a document, or a cross-functional group of employees developing an application or resolving a thorny technical issue in coordination with external vendors and partners.
Email or file-sharing tools are often all that’s needed for simple projects. But for complex situations, enterprise collaboration tools offer more sophisticated, specialized functionality for communication and task management.
So why is it that CIOs “can’t sell enterprise collaboration tools” within their organizations, according to recent CIO magazine piece? As Matt Kapko writes:
“Enterprise collaboration is a dubious pursuit. You can almost sense its impending failure the minute it gets introduced to a workforce and becomes just another tool that employees are supposed to use…
When any portion of an enterprise network or data center fails, restoring operation as quickly as possible is the top priority. For complex problems, immediately setting up a virtual war room using online enterprise collaboration software is the most effective approach.
Data center downtime is horrendously expensive; while cost estimates vary widely by industry, some of the most comprehensive research concludes the “average cost of data center downtime across industries (is) approximately $7,900 per minute” while “the average reported incident length was 86 minutes, resulting in average cost per incident” of nearly $700,000.
Furthermore, outages are occurring more frequently. In addition to the increasing complexity and scope of operating systems and core management and control suites, as well as hybrid cloud network infrastructures, leading causes of outages include: