With the continued adoption of cloud and cloud-based solutions across the organisation, departments within the enterprise are finding it easier to realise the benefits that this new technology brings. The advent of cloud, however, has made certain technologies more accessible to corporate departments and personnel.
Factor in consumerisation of IT and the fact that employees want to use the technologies they are comfortable with and give them the most functionality and the technology buying cycle is certainly different from what it was just a few years ago. How then does this impact on the IT department?
While many have suggested the role of IT in procuring technology is lessening and the department’s control is waning, I believe that it is merely the next phase of technology procurement, one that is characterised by greater collaboration.
With many technologies becoming cloud-based, such as CRM solutions, ERP products, or digital marketing tools, organisational departments are finding it easier to access new technology products, try them out and ultimately evaluate their effectiveness.
This ease of access is prevalent in so-called freemium models, such as work efficiency tools like Evernote or storage solutions like Dropbox, that offer either a free trial period or limited functionality with a free version. With no infrastructure requirements – other than network capability, for example – assessing different IT products is more efficient and can easily be done by the department that has the requirement.
Along with greater accessibility, comes greater involvement. Corporate divisions, such as marketing, are better informed and positioned to evaluate new solutions and can effectively work with the IT department in determining suitability, and participate more in testing and the actual buying cycle.
What You Don’t Want
The key phrase is greater collaboration as opposed to self-procurement. There is the danger that if organisational departments do purchase technology solutions without consulting IT – effectively shadow IT – the deployment may fail, cause wider issues and ultimately waste money.
IT Still Has A Role
A lot of departmental teams are using technology that doesn’t fall into remit of IT – for example digital marketing suite – especially those solutions that are cloud-based. It doesn’t, however, mean that these teams are making these procurement decisions by themselves. Instead, IT still plays a crucial role in assisting the internal teams, refining their requirements, and determining a product’s suitability. This closer collaboration then frees up the IT to focus on internal integration and service deployment within the organisation.
There will be obvious differences in the procurement behaviour for large and smaller businesses, with corporates subject to tighter IT policies and procedures, especially regarding employee or customer data. However, what must also be considered is the organisation itself, its requirements, security protocols and the product in question. Closer collaboration between IT and departmental teams in purchasing new technology effectively means that neither one has complete control. Therefore the technology chosen is better suited to its task and fit for purpose.