IT in 2011: We’re Managing Information, Not Just Technology

The Corporate Executive Board anticipates that three key focus areas will emerge for IT in the next 12 months. These three areas are:

  1. increased business-partner control of IT;
  2. improved information management; and
  3. implementation of end-to-end business services.

Attention will be directed to these three focal points by CIOs who are looking to make their IT organizations as flexible as possible, while redirecting resources toward growth–all without undermining hard-fought gains in data integration and cost control.

Control of IT: Building a Real Business Partnership

Demand for increased business-partner control of IT is coming from opposite ends of the workplace spectrum: senior business executives and frontline end users. Business leaders are able to make technology decisions as IT services become increasingly easy to procure and as software as a service (SaaS) matures. End users are demanding unprecedented levels of choice, they’re bringing new devices into the corporation–with or without IT approval — and they have expectations of responsive service.

CIOs will need to support this changing dynamic by helping non-IT professionals make the right technology decisions. To do so, we advise CIOs to take these three steps:

  1. Build a common understanding of critical business capabilities. Create a coherent approach to diverse demands from different business leaders through the shared language of business capabilities. IT should aim to equip business partners to define the needed capabilities and insist that architecture, delivery and security teams use these capabilities to shape planning and prioritization.
  2. Become a coach in SaaS selection decisions. Leading IT executives and applications groups in the enterprise should adjust how they operate with vendors and business partners. Some applications groups are taking on the roles of concierge, coach and integrator, for example. These roles enable them to work fluidly with those business-side colleagues within the organization who are moving aggressively to meet their own department’s technology needs.

  3. Experiment with ways to securely allow a growing number of devices into the corporation. Infrastructure organizations will increasingly allow people to bring their own devices to work and will need to adjust governance and security to accommodate this diversity. Successful organizations will allow pockets of end users, or “microcolonies,” with different governance structures to manage access and security issues for various devices. Successes with these experiments could be brought to the larger corporation in a controlled manner. In anticipation of increased device diversity, CIOs will want to look for flexible, device- and platform-agnostic access-management solutions, such as virtual desktops, as well as second-generation content filtering systems such as data loss prevention (DLP) tools.

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