Decentralizing IT – Software Choices in the User’s Hand
Since the development of
When infrastructure and data are hosted virtually, everyone in an enterprise can simply tap into the cloud to pull down software applications to upload and store documents and to share information from anywhere at any time. The next winds of change driven by the cloud, however, will bring a new interest in the decentralization of technology.
Typically, the IT department has served as an organizational interface between information workers and the company’s cloud environment. IT has built private clouds or connected the company to public clouds. IT personnel have decided which software suites to buy or to create themselves, how and when they should be deployed, how their use should be governed, and who should have access to them. This technical-expert approach to the cloud has been a natural evolution of responsibilities and talents that were required of an on-premises IT department, where complex networks, software, equipment and infrastructure needed to be highly secure and exceptionally reliable. The cloud is changing such conventional thinking.
The IT department’s domain—physical equipment, software, maintenance and updating— has been largely transported to the cloud, and that fact leaves room for users themselves to make the big decisions about which applications they need and how they will be used. The cloud, in fact, has enabled information technology to become a core part of every department in the enterprise. Anyone and everyone can use advanced computing capabilities today simply by reaching for the cloud.
Now, employees at the departmental level can select exactly the right software for their needs, accessing it through a subscription instead of an installation. Departments can scale up quickly to handle seasonal loads and demands around special events simply by adding subscribers instead of technically deploying and physically networking more computers. Financial planning, performance reporting, accounting and other functions can be carried out with real-time data that is stored in the cloud and retrieved by departmental managers, instead of awaiting the creation and distribution of customized reports from the IT department.
In reality, the IT department must retain a key role in policing the organization’s use of cloud computing. Technical specialists must set the stage on which solutions can be implemented and should serve as a resource for informing and influencing users who are making decisions about solutions.
In this new hybrid organizational chart, the "what" is in the hands of those who manage such departments as finance, accounting and HR; but because of the need for security, the "how" and "where" remains in control of IT.
Departments assume the power of selecting and using solutions, while IT determines how those solutions are to be implemented. The IT specialists now focus on the computing platform, security software and hardware, budgetary constraints and the company’s rules for using the cloud. What flows across the platform to and from the cloud is in the hands of departments, who will evaluate their own needs and individually deliver and use cloud-based solutions.
In customer care, for instance, the IT department may decide if CRM technology should be hosted in the cloud or in the server room; but after that decision is made, the implementation becomes a CMO-driven project, with marketers determining what the business process looks like and how it will respond to the marketers’ needs.
In part 2 & 3 of “The benefits of decentralizing IT: Going paperless and a mobile-equipped work force,” we will explore how this hybrid form of decentralization will impact the use of personal devices such as smart phones and tablets within the workplace. Finally, we will review the benefits of
By Nick Sprau
MetaViewer Paperless ERP for Microsoft Dynamics