A seismic change is shifting the traditional structures of IT within business. The proliferation of cloud and hosted services, along with the consumerisation of IT, means that each line of business – finance, HR, sales and marketing– is going to be responsible for its own procurement and management of IT solutions and services in future.
The most disruptive phenomenon is Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) – where businesses accept that employees can use their personal devices for work and give them the means to be able to do so. This can be a big step for many organisations, with the prime concern being security. A recent survey found that security is the biggest single barrier to implementing BYOD.
Yet, more and more companies are overcoming this concern, allowing personal smartphones and tablets for business. According to mobility service provider iPass, 46% of the workforce has access to BYOD, a figure predicted to rise to 50% in 2013.
The more widespread trend effecting business IT is the abandonment of in-house solutions for those provided remotely in the cloud. The business advantages of communications as a service (CaaS) and software as a service (SaaS), such as increased agility and flexibility as well as reducing CapEx, are proving attractive.
In its Global Information Security Survey 2012, finance group Ernst & Young estimates that nearly 60 per cent of businesses are currently utilising cloud services or are moving towards the cloud. Such a trend has been recognised by the industry, with research from IDC estimating that 80% of applications released in 2012 were available via the cloud.
These factors combined are making it much easier for lines of business to take responsibility of procuring and managing IT away from the IT department. Research analyst Gartner suggests 35% of enterprise IT for most organisations will be managed outside the IT department’s budget by 2015.
IBM predicts the relationship between the IT department and other lines of business in a company will change once it has made the transition to the cloud. Employees will no longer go to the IT department if they have issues or questions related to IT, instead they will go directly to the cloud provider.
For the IT department, the move away from buying hardware and one-off licence solutions towards commissioning on-going services, means there will be more of a focus on service level agreement management to ensure the strategic aims of the business are met.
There are those that hypothesise that the IT department of the future might be run as a micro-business within the business, with its own customers (employees), set targets and commissioning powers. In this model, the IT department will need to have greater involvement in the financial planning process and work closer with the relevant heads of department, whether in finance, marketing, sales or HR, to best meet their objectives.
Conversely, as line of business executives gain greater commissioning powers and responsibility for their own budgets, they will have to work closely with IT to make sure they are aware of all available options and the ramifications of each before making a decision on services and solutions.
As more and more people within the business become responsible for handling IT issues there is a need for these employees to increase and improve their knowledge of not only the issues surrounding IT, but also the market itself. This is needed so they can make informed choices about the technology, solutions and providers they intend to use for their department.