Saturday, December 17, 2011

From ReadWriteWeb: CIOs see consumerism as threat

Read this on the ReadWrite Enterprise site and see if it doesn't sound familar:

CIO survey: consumerism threatens the enterprise cloud

One quote in particular is comment-worthy:  "Consumers just have unrealistic expectations for the levels of services that IT departments are capable of delivering, say 74% of CIOs surveyed worldwide and 81% of U.S.-based CIOs. As a result, IT departments are having to be tasked with delivering functionality levels and multiple device support that they're not even ready for."

This is exactly what we've been discussing in the "era of you" series, and is a natural corollary to the conversation I reported with Podio's Ryan Nichols.  The IT organizations as they exist in most enterprises, and by association the businesses they serve, are threatened by the expectations of their users, and by the services those users can deploy themselves without an IT department at all.

The quote from CIOs has a hidden prefix: "As we operate today, if we don't change, we can't meet consumer expectations."  The logical extension of that quote is this: "we have to do things differently in order to meet those expectations."

Three things to start changing today: the big ideas

  1. Get your services house in order.  Structure data, infrastructure, ERP, and other elements that are mission-critical but unrelated to competitive advantage so they can be delivered as reliable, repeatable, recomposable services.  Manage complexity here to enable the flexibility you need at the user level.  This is hard work, but it's crucial to your success. 
  2. Get out of the business of managing devices.  Virtualize users' desktops, adopt stateless devices, sunset old client-server technology wherever possible, require new applications to be web-enabled.  Secure your data and quit thinking that securing the device is your responsibility.  Once you are stateless, every app and all the data lives in the cloud, and the device has virtually no security risk anyway.
  3. Organize for less command-and-control, more responsibility moved to individuals and teams. No organization can compete well in an era of empowered users when everything is subject to committee, cover-your-ass stagegates and approvals, and "I can't budge until I'm 100% certain I won't be blamed for doing the wrong thing" thinking.  
The fears about consumer demands are very real.  Moreover, in an improving economy, those consumers inside your company and without will vote with their feet, and take their skills and their business to those who implement the action points above.  

How much longer do you think you can get away with inaction? 

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