For as long as I can remember there was a well defined structure for how business users in an organisation engaged the IT department to run projects and deliver services. We had, and still have, University degrees, industry certifications, classes and courses all focused on well structured principles for IT to deliver projects to the business. The problem is no one really cares anymore. Like so many other industries that have gone before ours, IT is undergoing an irreversible shift towards consumerisation with traditional IT operations becoming increasingly less involved by the business. This is both a significant problem and significant opportunity.
Those who have seen opportunity have developed solutions that cater to a specific line of business and how they want to work. Leveraging the delivery mechanism of cloud, specifically Software as a Service (SaaS), whole companies have come to market to develop specific solutions for line of business in HR, Sales, Accounting, Finance and more. Excellent examples include companies like WorkDay who develop a native mobile/cloud HR solution targeted to HR Directors of organisations to have a beautiful, seamless and mobile ERP experience that replaces the clunky, legacy desktop bound products of yester-year. Most importantly, they used the cloud commercial model of subscription licensing, requiring no up front capital costs which enabled them to sell directly to HR Directors, bypassing traditional IT stakeholders. This has enabled the line of business user to start quickly at low cost and grow in their solution over time with no risk (from a business perspective). This is in stark contrast to what we have traditionally known for major ERP platforms which involved teams of software developers, database administrators, infrastructure engineers, project managers and more. This is all now delivered as a service, in an app on a mobile device that is downloaded and started in minutes.
This simple example of a HR specific application is a constant in every organisation we engage at airloom, the difference though, is that its more than HR apps. We are seeing this line of business cloud application adoption becoming more prolific each and every day across almost every business unit in almost every organisation we work with. Business users are running their own IT solutions outside the engagement and control of traditional IT.
Now the problem comes in, and that problem is both for traditional IT organisations as well as the business as a whole. The problem with this approach is that it lacks any kind of IT or commercial governance. Company data is being stored in cloud services which may, or may not, adhere to an organisations specific political, technical or administrative requirements, access rights and controls are lacking and if the person who started the deployment leaves the organisation the service can stop if their credit card is disabled.
Commonly referred to as “Shadow IT” this topic of business unit led IT services is receiving increasing press and focus at present. The problem is, its not necessarily a problem, we see it as an opportunity. This is our chance, as an IT industry, to understand what the business actually wants from IT and where we have been doing it wrong. It’s our chance to partner with the business and give them our advice, our experience and our support to make sure they can exploit the benefit these services bring whilst maintaining the right level of enterprise governance & control – both technically & commercially.
At airloom, we’ve invested a lot of time & effort in working out how we can help the Enterprise IT organisation have those discussions with their business stakeholders in a constructive way – in partnership. The first step is to actually discover what the business has been using in the cloud that they haven’t told us about. The airloom cloud visibility assessment service provides a structured way that the IT organisation can discover who in your organisation has been using what services in the cloud.
With the airloom cloud visibility assessment complete, lets go talk to the business about how IT can enable them in partnership.