I’m just guessing here, but for the average dinosaur, the year before the big asteroid hit the earth and wiped out most life forms, it probably didn’t seem like that big a deal that some of the stars in the night sky were steadily getting bigger. Then, yoicks. Hello disruptive change, goodbye brontosauri.
Enterprise IT is on the threshold of disruptive change, but in the present instance, there will be a lot more rearranging and a lot less extinction. This is not something that people haven’t been talking about. Mobile devices, and particularly employee supplied mobile devices, are rapidly wresting control of budget and decision making from monolithic Information Technology departments. Consider this:
• Today, more than half of all enterprise mail is received via web mail, often accessed by tablet or smartphone, as opposed to a desktop based email client.
• Enterprise Mobile app development is projected to outpace desktop targeting app development 4 to 1 by 2015.
We can already see enterprise IT realignment taking place. Highly centralized IT departments are losing staff, budget and Solomonic discretion over what software and hardware tools enterprise users adopt to do their jobs. Line of business managers and even individual employees are doing more independent decision making about sourcing technology. If you stop reading here, the story sounds bad. But it’s not. At least, not mostly.
Remember how the big, bad asteroid story actually ended? Pruning away a lot of enormous, sharp toothed, ravenous reptiles made it possible for bunnies and ponies and – hold onto your hairnet—people to emerge. Likewise, CIO-lead organizations and IT professionals will evolve, thrive, and endure. Here’s why: While the shift to mobile device based business processes certainly makes users’ lives better and can make businesses more competitive and adaptive, enterprise mobility can neither invent, manage, nor support itself.
At enterprise scale, the mere fact of mobility doesn’t make technology simpler to integrate, secure, or manage for returns on investment. Count on it: A year from now, we’ll be reading cautionary tales about what happened when some company simply turned out the lights in IT and let users fend for themselves, BYOD style. Chaos isn’t very accountable, but unfortunately, anarchy does scale pretty well.
There has never been a better case to be made for adequate and intelligent mobile technology management. Going forward, I see enterprise IT departments being reformatted as consultative organizations with strong mobility biases. In-house mobile IT experts will:
• Help users make sourcing decisions for cloud services, mobile solutions and the like;
• Develop custom mobile solutions for tablets and phones;
• Assist in creating customer facing engagement and brand building experiences; create and manage enterprise app stores;
• Be tasked with myriad other very complex, mission critical functions.
There won’t be any time left over to lament all of the cumbersome centralized IT technology that passes into the cloud or the fossil record. However, nostalgia isn’t completely out of the question. Perhaps someday there will be a kid’s TV program starring a mainframe. It’s not impossible. Barney got his own show.