At the moment, we’re experiencing the most accelerated pace of IT change we’ve ever known. Cloud computing, big data/analytics, mobile and social are transforming the way we work and the way our businesses operate.
Yet, there remains a sense that the IT department has lost influence in the business in recent years, is unreliable or is a barrier to progress, lacking the necessary knowledge to tackle and implement new solutions and infrastructures efficiently.
These trends and the technologies that support them, however, represent a massive opportunity. In fact, we don’t think there’s been a better time for an IT manager to shine, delivering real value to the wider business and transforming the perception from cost centre to business enabler.
The secret is in the enabler bit. The rise of trends such as Bring Your Own Device and even Bring Your Own Cloud have led – quite rightly – to employees feeling increasingly empowered. They’re bringing their own devices into the workplace, using consumer apps for business purposes and sharing data externally using tools such as Dropbox.
The challenge is for IT to ensure that employees can continue to work how they want to (as this will often be the way they work best), but in a secure environment. As applications move around the data centre and out to the cloud, it’s easy for security and access policies to be accidentally swiped aside or ignored.
IT has to be in control, but that doesn’t mean restricting the company’s movements. IT pros need to talk to cloud, BYOD or security strategy with department heads and encourage them to put you in front of their team to better understand their needs and explain the central processes which they should follow.
The good news is that IT spend is continuing to increase. According to a recent global study from Gartner, global IT spending in 2013 will increase 4.2% compared with last year, reaching £2.28tn.
The IT heroes will be the ones who spend it wisely, enabling the business to carry on what it does best.
Nathan Pearce is senior technical marketing manager at F5, an cloud computing provider.