5 Ways new Technology Trends will Impact the IT Function


The identity of IT within an organisation is in the midst of a seismic shift thanks to the myriad of developments in technology, consumer behaviour and business best practice.

These developments include:

  • The increasing desire for an Optimised, Uncompromised Technology Experience for staff and customers 'anytime, anywhere'.

  • The emergence of the Internet of Things which blurs the physical and virtual world to allow the IT landscape to dramatically grow. The Internet of Things includes technologies such as smartphones and tablets, wearable technology and smart buildings.

  • Increasing enthusiasm for Computing Everywhere and Advanced Analytics which equips organisations with the ability to manipulate, interpret and make informed decisions based on Big Data from countless and increasing sources.

  • The Consumerisation of Technology which shifts the balance of power away from IT as other parts of the organisation have increasing autonomy over IT spend.

  • Developments in Social Technologies and changes in Workplace Demographics and Attitudes which enable staff to demand more transparency from organisations and the democratisation of data.

  • The Proliferation of Data and connected devices increasing the threat and consequences of cyber-attacks.

The changes described above form the base that defines the digital business age. How the IT function must adapt to meet the changing demands of its stakeholders in a digital world is a different matter.

How will these trends impact the business and its IT function?

In this new digital era, organisations are asking whether their IT function is capable of meeting the expectations of the business and customer base while maintaining a focus on current priorities around security, maintaining BAU and managing technology risk. Whether or not IT matches this expectation and continues to deliver value rests on its ability to overcome the following challenges:

1. Two Speeds of IT

Innovation cycles are rapidly contracting. Think how quickly iPods become obsolete thanks to technological change, compared to the tapes and CD players that preceded it. Meeting the new demands of the business requires a much more agile approach to developing and producing ideas based on technology change. For example, it was necessary for banks to move incredibly fast to facilitate mobile payments into their customer offering, faster than the traditional IT Function usually moves.

And yet, the IT team cannot abandon its commitment to pragmatism, caution and low-risk tolerance. After all, a mobile banking error will have serious repercussions for the customer and reputation of the bank.

Does IT have the ability to operate at two speeds to remain innovative, agile and responsive to keep a high tolerance for trial and error, as well as deliver secure, risk-averse IT services and maintain business continuity? How will these two modes of the IT Function interact with each other?

2. Shadow IT

Other functions within the organisation, frustrated with the traditional IT department, are readily circumventing the IT Function thanks to the ease with which they can procure solutions through the cloud. Employees can easily implement anything from marketing analytics, tools to CRM and ERP solutions without the need to understand the technological implications. Putting sensitive company information on cloud-procured platforms, however, exposes the organisation to increased risk and the IT teams must keep up to be more aware of the tools staff need and install without permission.

Faced with a more peripheral role in purchasing decisions concerning technology made by the Marketing, HR and Sales teams, will IT be able to offer timely, strategic guidance and support without stifling creativity?

3. Business Relationship Management

Businesses have quickly realised the cost-savings made by outsourcing sizable chunks of the IT Function. Can IT Team remaining in-house adapt its approach from one of 'keeping the lights on' to one that can continually manage relationships with third-party and cloud providers and the rest of the business?

4. Breaking Organisational Siloes

With the proliferation of Internet-enabled devices and the increasing convergence of previously disparate technologies onto one network, how can the business and IT ensure that cultural and structural silos within the organisation do not inhibit progress?

For example, a truly smart building requires building management systems run by facilities management to run on the same network as Unified Communications which are run by IT. Are those functions equipped to collaborate with each other?

5. Business Process Automation

Digital software now available can eliminate or automate business processes across sectors. How will the IT team cope when the bulk of its current workload evolves from the status quo?

Today, almost all business processes are either enabled by some form of technology or could benefit from some form of digitisation.

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