Why Some Businesses Bypass the IT DepartmentBy Samuel Greengard
By now, it should be apparent to just about every CIO that the role of IT is changing profoundly in the digital age. Today, just about everything in the enterprise touches and incorporates IT. Consequently, IT departments are no longer the sun around which all planets orbit. They're just another planet.
Increasingly, various departments make buying and usage decisions independently. In addition, shadow IT and a spate of consumer tools and solutions have invaded the enterprise over the last few years. Whether you like it or not, people are using Dropbox, Evernote or some other cloud or personal software to aid them in their job.
A study conducted by mobile software and workflow automation firm Canvas snaps the issue into sharp focus. Among nearly 400 business decision-makers, it found that 61 percent of organizations created a new mobile app in 2015 without any IT involvement. What's more, among businesses that developed apps with no IT support, a mind-bending one-fifth developed 10 or more apps.
Overall, 81 percent of businesses are "very comfortable" or "somewhat comfortable" building mobile apps without any help from the IT team and 76 percent of those surveyed were able to create a cloud-based app in one day or less.
Off-the-shelf tools for building apps abound and the ability to plug in cloud services is as simple as plunking down a credit card. The reality is that business groups can no longer wait for IT to tackle projects. The need for innovation and agility is "transforming everyday employees into citizen developers," noted James Robins, CMO at Canvas.
No less important: the study found that all of this is beneficial for the enterprise. Overall, 64 percent of respondents said that mobile business apps have improved their compliance processes, 92 percent noted that their organization has become more productive after adopting mobile business apps, and about two-thirds indicated that mobile business apps saved their organization five or more hours of employee time per week.
To be sure, clouds, mobility and greater processing power have redistributed power within the enterprise. While CIOs and IT departments will continue to play a critical role in advancing technology, it's increasingly about orchestrating and coordinating a mélange of systems. There's a growing need to focus on overarching standards, governance models, data frameworks, middleware and API libraries, enterprise security and privacy and, above all else, designing a strategic roadmap. The end goal is for an enterprise to evolve beyond a motley and disjointed collection of tools, technologies and solutions and achieve a mindset and approach that harnesses the full power of digital technology.