The Gartner AADI Conference in London kicked off this morning with a keynote on how to bring IT organizations into the future. The first speaker, Gartner’s David Mitchell Smith, started off by asking the question, “Are you comfortable?” The crowd didn’t respond for the most part but Smith didn’t wait very long before following up with, “You shouldn’t be. The IT organizations I’m talking to aren’t comfortable at all.”
His question was a very good one to kick of a conference for IT executives. Most people within technology feel a healthy amount of concern about how they’ll navigate so many disruptive changes happening simultaneously. Each of what Gartner calls the Nexus of Forces, social, mobile, cloud, and information is highly disruptive on their own. Combined, these four trends meet up in places IT finds as unfamiliar ground.
Starting from behind
One of the biggest challenges facing technology departments today is a lack of control over what many call, “rogue IT.” These are the people in the organizations, mostly on the business side, who buy and use SaaS applications that may or may not be known to IT. Each of these applications represents siloed data and functionality that might duplicate what IT would normally create or fills in a blank that isn’t being delivered by IT.
Rogue IT, more than anything else, creates even greater integration challenges than IT already has. Most organizations still lack good integration of their application environment, what Gartner calls “good plumbing,” and rogue IT becomes a nearly impossible problem to solve. But there’s good news in the bad. Solving this problem is about being proactive and implementing readily available software that managed this. Consider this: If the organizations suffering from rogue IT had more mature integration to begin with, there would be less call for going around IT and keeping secrets from the people who have responsibility for security, durability, maintainability and…of course…integration.
Gartner’s model for integration security looks like this:
- Novice: App to app integration is common
- Practitioner: Integration is used to cut cost and scale up
- Master: Integration is key to supporting business initiatives
That third level is rare, if you listen to Gartner’s Dennis Gaughan. Most companies haven’t used integration as a proactive way to support their business. Unfortunately, most business decisions have shorter timelines for need than a non-integrated IT shop can deliver. It’s no wonder, then, that business people make the call to buy directly from a vendor without IT’s approval. IT may complain (and they do), but their lack of integration leaves the business with few other choices.