Sometimes, it seems IT departments exist primarily to keep the lights on – monitor and maintain systems, protect against data breaches and attacks, and repair or replace computers. And, far too often the customer is not center stage. With the advent of third-party cloud services and modern new technologies, IT has begun to break the shackles of mundane maintenance and monitoring, and CIOs are seeing new opportunities to take a strategic role in the business.
In 2015, we’ll see this shift blossom and grow in the everyday lives of enterprises. This will be the year CIOs make dramatic strides, including truly servicing the customer and leveraging cloud-based applications, scalable cloud-based resources and hybrid premise and cloud application development in a meaningful way. Four examples:
IT will start to become more customer facing (yes, customer facing): With the Time to Impact of an IT issue affecting an end-user becoming instantaneous, there is no longer the convenience of time for organisations to work though layers of IT, business, customer relations and communications before communicating issues to customers. By that time, call centers will be inundated with inbound calls of complaint.
Better and more granular monitoring tools will allow for automatic and proactive notification of customers when issues arise – letting them know they may experience issues before they feel it themselves. In 2015, we will see an uptake in service providers offering service notifications to customers – not only as a differentiator, but likely as a value-add service for which they might even charge additional fee.
Operational data will become business intelligence (BI): With so many business processes – internal and customer facing – relying on the underlying infrastructures that support digital business, system performance metrics will conjoin with action-based traditional business data to create a new type of Business Intelligence. “Dumb pipes” will provide contextual information and artifacts allowing business and IT to correlate performance to business outcome better, and in a more direct fashion. In 2015, we will see at least a dozen new vendors emerge fully focused on turning operational data into BI.
The Year of BYOA. That’s not a typo. In 2015, I predict we’ll stop hearing so much about BYOD and start hearing about BYOA, Bring Your Own Applications. CIOs will embrace and enable the adoption of Shadow IT applications in 2015, accepting their role in fostering innovation. Where they will draw the line is where personal or business-sensitive data is put at risk.
CIOs will handle this problem through access control via single sign-on into the firewall to cut off dangerous activity. The coming year will also mark the beginning of Build Your Own Applications. The availability of the cloud, virtualisation and read/write APIs will enable technology leaders from CRM, Finance, and other departments to create applications to suit their needs.
Old school IT and modern IT will better co-exist: Traditionally, a split has existed within many IT departments between steady and reliable (old school) and fast, creative and cloud-savvy (modern). In 2015, IT departments will find themselves choosing between the two or, more likely, a hybrid model that Gartner calls “bimodal IT.” In this model, “doing it right,” with an emphasis on efficiency and safety, co-exists with “doing it fast,” supporting prototyping and iterative development, rapid delivery and value to the business.