The consumerization of IT, the rise of agile software development and the explosion of cloud computing technologiesare three big trends that today’s CIOs must embrace, a group of analysts at Forrester Research Inc. said Tuesday.
Speaking to global CIOs in a virtual panel discussion, the research firm argued that these emerging trends are important cogs in information technology’s shift toward “business technology” and none of them should be resisted.
Sharyn Leaver, a research director covering IT leadership with Forrester, said this shift will drive CIOs to expand IT’s focus on business enablement. This will change IT from a project management organization to a consultant or broker to the business, she said, which means the delivery of services might not necessarily be coming from the IT department itself.
The influx of consumer products in the enterprise has been staggering over the last decade, with smart phones and laptops now being joined by social media and collaboration tools like Google Docs, Twitter, SmartSheet, and WebEx.
Ted Schadler, a principal analyst focusing on real-time collaboration tools with Forrester, said avoiding this trend and trying to prevent these technologies from entering the organization is a career-limiting move for any CIO. He added that Forrester research has found employees typically use online apps to get access to features and functions they need to do their job and to solve customer problems.
“I asked you for help, you’re unable to help me, but here’s the Web site that can do what I need,” he said, referring to a frequently recurring discussion between employees and their IT shops.
While it’s important not to simply “release the hounds” and let everything into the enterprise, the CIOs that outsource some of this app procurement to employees will be the most successful in the future, according to Schadler. When you have 450 business units, it’s impossible to pick the right apps in all areas, Schadler added.
“Outsource it to employees,” he said. “What you need to do is draft an inventory and make sure you know what’s going on.”