Michelle Reid, Sales and Marketing Director at Telehouse Europe

Rewriting the legacy of the IT department

User empowerment- the new norm

Technology, by its very nature, is revolutionising the work we do and how we do it. With every day that passes we are seeing advances in cloud computing, embodied by trends such as BYOD, that are enabling businesses to not only save time and money, but to generate revenue.

The speed of progress is opening up a multitude of new possibilities for businesses; there is such rapid change but company culture is something that moves at a fraction of the pace of technology. As Telehouse has developed in the global marketplace, I’ve witnessed the emergence of the IT department from back office support to front line revenue generator and it hasn’t come over night. Some companies, partly due to the nature of their product or service offering have been quicker to bring IT to the forefront. Yet the speed in which new technologies are coming to market has changed the brief for almost every IT Department I interact with.

It takes minutes for a project manager to seek and implement a new cloud based software programme for a new initiative, as it does for the marketing team to use a publicly available FTP to receive files from their agency. The reality is that every employee within a business is now an IT Decision maker. Although it can be argued that this has been a decade in the making, I think very few would have comprehended the sheer amount of technologies being adopted; creating yet another buzzword- ‘Shadow IT.’

The IT department can offer significant value by harbouring these technologies to drive business performance, but it is how this is managed that will determine success. As things stand, some companies are riding the crest of the wave while other organisations are struggling to adapt. As the role of the CIO becomes vital in pulling all of these different IT use cases together, it’s interesting to take a view from both ends of the spectrum.

Let chaos reign, or reign-in the chaos?

It’s important to note that new technologies bring new advantages and improved user experience. It’s undoubted that user experience is maximised by empowering employees to follow the approach that works for them. Opening the floodgates would certainly reduce any distain towards strict governance associated with IT Infrastructure Management, which I have no doubt would give a very agile profile for IT within the business.

Yet in saying this, the core responsibilities of the IT department have not departed from the role of a business driver. The lights still need to stay on and a Laissez-faire approach is simply not realistic.

Enter the new generation of Enterprise class applications and services to help bridge the gap between security and user experience. For example, Gartner estimate that this year Mobile Device Management alone is now worth $1.6billion based on just 30% penetration.

Strike the balance and the future’s bright

The successful IT department and CIO will be one that which continues to innovate to bring flexibility; whilst maintaining the same level of integrity in an infrastructure. Innovation itself isn’t necessarily working with the latest cloud vendor, but understanding how to design and implement a system that fits the culture of the business.

Although the cultural impact of user empowerment in the modern enterprise is not yet clear, the outlook for the IT department and CIO is extremely bright. We continue to see new and innovative solutions adopted within our facilities, which are enabled through increasingly new approaches to underlying physical infrastructures. Breaking away from the status quo of highly regimented and controlled software isn’t easy; yet we are constantly reminded of the importance of maintaining accountability, which almost always stems from physical hardware (whether company owned or not.)

So, what does this mean for the Data Centre?

Using the data centre as a mission critical base remains a powerful tool for the IT department as it looks to drive forward business growth. Aside from assurances of uptime, the availability of physical connectivity to new and emerging technologies remains a key part of striking the balance between increasing efficiency and maintaining accountability.

With 532 connectivity, content and cloud software providers in the UK, Telehouse looks forward to continuing our support in this emergence to help shape the new role of the IT department. With over 25 years of expertise Telehouse also has the infrastructure to excel cloud service users forward in to the new age of big data, Internet of things, advancements in cooling, connectivity and hybrid ecosystems.

To find out more about our latest development: North Two, a new site for a new internet, click here.

For a tour of North Two or any of our other 46 data centres click here.

Look out for the next instalment of our Perfect Storm series, as Andrew Fray; Director at Telehouse Europe will investigate these themes further from the viewpoint of enterprise security- addressing both key trends and