Take Your IT Department Forward By Putting End User Development At The Front

Here’s a wake up call for the IT department – end-user computing will definitely become dominant; it’s just a matter of time. Proof comes in the form of modern business practices. Increasing numbers of executives are now saying that time to market is absolutely critical. A slow moving organisation is one that loses.

For many firms, the ability to move quickly is underpinned by technology. The pace of change and centrality of IT to contemporary business means every organisation, whatever the sector, relies on technology to help maintain information flows and to help its employees deal with customers.

Such reliance should be good news for the traditional technology team. But there’s a significant catch. The business wants to make changes and add products quickly. Technology, as the underpinning structure, should be set up to create speed.

Unfortunately, this simply is not the case for many businesses. The integral nature of IT to business processes means that line-of-business executives have to go through IT when they want to make changes.

In many organisations, the traditional cycle of IT delivery is far too slow. One step forwards – in the form of the business’ recognition of the need to create a new product offering – is often several steps back for the IT department.

Rather than being able to respond with agility to business need, IT development takes place across an elongated cycle, where each change needs to checked, re-checked and checked again. Businesses, if they are going to be agile, need to stop such lethargy.

Focus remains on the IT department – and the focus has to be on technology because it is at the core of modern business practice. But smart executives are beginning to ask what can be done so that business change can swerve round the elongated cycle of IT delivery.

For technology workers, such transformations might seem like a coup d’etat. But there is no need to be scared. IT workers that embrace the change and help the business move towards end-user computing will not be overthrown.

Your role should be at the higher level, helping the businesses to understand how web interfaces – the new desktop – can be used to help executives avoid the traditional IT cycle of checking and testing.

Employees want to be able to create instant changes to text that can help inform customers. They want to be able to manage data using their own business rules, creating drop down lists of crucial information.

Permissions need to be granted and re-granted; workflow needs to be easily manageable, so that the business can use the web to drive agile processes. True agility comes in the form of end-user development.

And the forward-thinking IT department will recognise it needs to help drive the end-user revolution, not hold it back.

Dharmesh Mistry is the CTO/COO of Edge IPK, a leading provider of front-end Web solutions. Within his blog, “Facing up to IT”, Dharmesh considers a number of technology issues, ranging from Web 2.0, SOA and Mobile platforms, and how these impact upon business. Having launched some of the very first online financial services in 1997, and since then delivering online solutions to over 30 FS organisations and pioneering Single Customer View (Lloyds Bank, 1989) and Multi Channel FS (Demonstrated in Tomorrow’s World in 99), Dharmesh can be considered a true veteran of both the Financial Services and Technology industries.