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September 18, 2013

IT Goes From Support to Strategy

Posted by Ravi Kumar S. (View Profile | View All Posts) at 8:19 AM

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) - first steps for business [Source:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xXcQ0wXj4jM]

"The Untouchables" is the name of a group of law enforcement officials who took on powerful bootleggers in 1920s Chicago. But it could just as well be a name for a certain part of every company during the past two decades: Information Technology.

No matter your industry, sector, or position, you've most likely crossed paths with members of the IT department. Up until recently, their ranks were filled with people whose function it was to support everyone else in the company. The IT department has always held a rarefied place within every organization. We all have at least one recollection of when the earth seemed to stand still until someone from IT came to the rescue and the organization could get up and running again.

With that kind of power and specialized knowledge, IT departments naturally became their own version of the Untouchables. CFOs - and all finance people, for that matter - came to believe that this was the one area of the company where you didn't challenge the department head come budget time. IT got whatever it needed to keep the organization running smoothly.

Everything, however, comes to an end. In America, the Untouchables disbanded when the government repealed Prohibition. In the present day, global enterprises have largely stopped looking at IT as a support function. It no longer stands in its own silo, kept separate from all the cost centers within an organization. Now IT is as accountable as every other department when it comes to lowering costs and operating as efficiently as possible.

Part of that transformation is the consumerization of Information Technology. Instead of IT standing on its own, it is an integral part of every other corporate function. Then there's the Bring Your Own Device trend that is revolutionizing the workplace. Every employee within a company is rapidly becoming his own IT department. Your colleagues can access external IT solutions faster and more efficiently than what it would take to wait for the in-house IT help desk 10 years ago. This is good news to the millions (and counting) of people who telecommute.

Another reason is that people outside IT understand its function a lot better than they did when it was relatively new. Instead of supplying those who devise corporate strategy with support, IT (when wielded properly) becomes an indispensable part of the strategy itself. Don't think for one minute that I'm forgetting to mention the importance of the Cloud. IT no longer takes up the kind of real estate it did even a few years ago. One of the many propositions of the Cloud is that vast amounts of data storage take place outside the walls of an organization's headquarters.Enormous servers in air-conditioned rooms already seem a bit quaint, don't they? Whereas storage was one of the prime support functions of IT, public, private, and hybrid Clouds have, well, stolen IT's in-house thunder.

If the IT department has made such a startling transformation in just a couple decades, it's clearly destined to become even more ingrained in every aspect of tomorrow's enterprise. So before you call up the help desk, consider the fact that your IT colleagues are working on an array of new projects. Such projects might include your department supporting them. A fascinating transformation, indeed.

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