The future is blended, IT has changed

The future is blended : how the IT service delivery and consumption mix is evolving fast ? Arnaud Bacros, Country Manager of EMC Belux, gives his point of view.

July 31, 2014

The future is blended : how the IT service delivery and consumption mix is evolving fast ? Arnaud Bacros, Country Manager of EMC Belux, gives his point of view.

Enterprise IT is not what it used to be. It keeps evolving from asset-centric to service-centric. The result? Internal IT departments need to act as an advisor and broker of best-of-breed solutions to business units. So it certainly came as no surprise that our EMC sponsored global survey of executives, conducted by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), exposed how the IT services delivery mix is changing fast.

From followers to advisor

With so many external services known and available, it is no wonder that line of business users (LOBs) want to – and can – control IT more and more. They are no longer the docile and clueless followers of all things bits and bytes that they used to be. They are more informed than ever and now order their very own tools. The EIU survey uncovered that the main reason for this kind of shadow IT is actually rather prosaic: 46% of the respondents did it because “comparable services are not available from corporate IT”. Followed by 29% who do it because corporate IT was too slow in delivering services.

But tech-savvy as LOBs are becoming, they are still not ultimately responsible for driving competitive advantage through digital innovation. Whenever business units order their own third-party IT infrastructure, it is mostly for operational solutions: communications (59% of surveyed respondents), storage and backup, (54%), servers (48%) and web hosting (44%). LOBs fully expect technology to innovate and offer a competitive advantage, of course, but the ones in charge of this, are still pretty much the digital experts. Obviously because of their much deeper understanding of how technology works and how it relates to business processes, not only at the departmental level but for the organisation as a whole. But now, rather than developing solutions internally, CIOs increasingly outsource technologies and third-party IT services whenever this is the best option.

Change the focus and responsibilities of CIOs

LOB’s rising IT empowerment and the increased adoption of external services however, will never result in IT departments scaling down or losing power. It also does not mean that LOBs and CIOs will start neatly dividing IT responsibilities in half. Instead, greater adoption of external IT capabilities – whether directly by the IT organisation or by the business unit –will change the focus and responsibilities of CIOs. Respondents expected significant expansion of CIOs’ roles for information management and analytics (25%), IT services management (23%) and vendor management (21%).

One of the most positive findings of the report was how both LOBs and CIOs recognise the need to work more closely together at both the tactical and strategic levels. Only then can they drive value together for the business. Both completely understand that a siloed approach is no longer an option. They are prepared to exchange talent and directly embed specialists within each other’s departments in order to learn each other’s needs and capabilities.

Simplicity & customer experience qualifie IT

They comprehend the need for common service definitions and common policies for IT security, compliance and other organisational standards for information systems and data. And they both agree that measuring the value of IT ought to be done by means of business performance metrics.  We used to measure IT in terms of operational efficiency (cost per stored megabyte, cost per transaction or IT availability). Today, we should appraise it in terms of enhancing the customer experience, simplifying the businesses or helping to win and retain customers.

Only with such a perfect fusion of organisational and technology innovation and intense collaboration across departments can organisations reach a well-balanced, blended model of IT service delivery and brokerage. One that merges internal IT capabilities with third-party services in just the right dosage for driving the business-unit needs.
Read the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) report that EMC sponsored here, if you want to learn more.

Watch video

In the same category