Archive for the ‘IT Strategy’ Category

Rogue IT is rife but that’s OK say IT managers

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2007

About to be released to trade press and on the Blue Prism website, since readers of this blog contributed to the survey (thank you), here is an advance copy of the press release.

Rogue IT: Survey highlights rogue users in 67% of organisations. 

Budget and resource constraints and a focus on strategic projects inevitably lead to pockets of rogue behaviour.

A strong governance model where collaboration between IT and the business is encouraged would help control rogue IT behaviour according to 75% of IT respondents in a recent survey conducted by robotic integration company, Blue Prism.  The survey highlighted that almost seven out of 10 (67%) organisations see elements of rogue IT behaviour from business users as a direct result of IT department budget and resource constraints and a necessary IT focus on strategic rather than tactical projects.

Despite the traditionally held view that all IT departments hold a dim view of rogue behaviour by users, the survey highlighted that IT fully understands why pockets of rogue behaviour exist, yet is pragmatic when asked for the best way of dealing with it – suggesting governance (75%) rather than introducing measures to eradicate it (10%).

So why does rogue behaviour exist in organisations? IT has the unenviable task of managing strategic, business critical projects while at the same time helping the business user with tactical change requests, so this mismatch between user expectations and IT focus is perhaps the answer.  Over 52% reported that working on strategic projects was the main focus for their department with 40% saying that delivering day to day business change requests was their priority.  The survey also highlighted that users expect projects to be delivered to ever shorter deadlines, with 86% of IT respondents believing this to be the case.

However, satisfying all business needs is often not possible given the strategic focus of IT teams versus the volume of change requests required by the business.  More than 71% of respondents cited IT department resource constraints as the reason why they are not able to satisfy all requests from the business followed by 67% of respondents who believed that IT department budget constraints were the key factor.

Of those surveyed however, 52% believed that they are able to satisfy over 75% of change requests and only 10% of respondents felt that they were able to manage fewer than 25% of requests.

Commenting on the survey findings Alastair Bathgate, Managing Director of Blue Prism said “The perennial problem in enterprise IT is how to manage the day to day demands of the business and business users within the confines of departmental budget and resource constraints and the pressure to deliver high level strategic projects. In this environment it is tough to find the budgets and resources necessary to address the raft of small changes that business users want.  It’s good to see the IT community acknowledge that users should be given the power to work on their own solutions, although there is a salutary warning from the survey that this should be done with tools approved by IT under an appropriate governance model.”

The survey also explored the question “What do you consider to be Rogue IT?” The following table provides this summary. 

    % of respondents
1 Vendor application installed without IT knowledge 100
2 Installing personal software 83
3 Locally written scripts in VB or other language 56
4 Local Access databases 50
5 Complex Excel spreadsheets 39
6 Using SaaS solutions like salesforce.com/Google apps 39
7 Macros in Word/Excel etc 28
8 Terminal emulator software macros 28
9 Other 11

32% of IT Managers say “Stamp out Rogue IT”

Wednesday, June 27th, 2007

My final sneak preview of the results of the Blue Prism Rogue IT Survey measures IT attitudes towards Rogue IT.

I was a little surprised at the 32% who agreed with the statement “Don’t allow it: Users should be restricted to only the tools the IT department gives them”.

However I was encouraged that these “enforcers” were more than balanced by the 52% of “pragmatists” who chose the option “Sometimes it’s OK: IT governance is important but business users need to have some local control and influence”.

The final 5% (let’s call them the “liberals”) suggested that “The IT department is just another supplier: Users should have the freedom to implement any solutions they want.”

What are your experiences of Rogue IT?  Do you encourage or restrict its use?  Do you take the laissez-faire approach or the draconian guard’s view?

The full survey is out next week.

Is SOA success down to the business/IT relationship?

Tuesday, June 26th, 2007

Clive Longbottom writing at The Register asks is SOA dead or alive?

Clive contrasts successes in Scandinavia against failures and lack of adoption in the UK and puts this down to the difference in the IT/Business relationship.  In Scandinavia the relationship is more aligned and this has resulted in an incremental approach to SOA based on solving one business problem at a time within the context of an overall long term aim.  In the UK, the IT function has seen SOA as a massive corporate wide infrastructure upgrade which leaves the first local project with disproportionate upfront costs to swallow into its business case.  This often results in the business choosing to go for cheaper packaged solutions or worse still, the oxymoronic (and plain moronic) “tightly coupled” SOA implementation.

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Enterprise 2.0 – is missing something?

Thursday, June 21st, 2007

I really like the idea of bringing the concepts of Web 2.0 into the enterprise.  Giving this the badge of Enterprise 2.0 may be helpful (although most people I know who work on the business side of the enterprise would not understand the term Web 2.0 so maybe it’s only helpful to the IT community).

Anyway, Ross Mayfield has an interesting transcription from the Enterprise 2.0 Conference which leads on collaboration (via wikis, social networks, blogs etc) as the big idea replacing the concept us old hacks might call Knowledge Management (KM).

All the talk I have seen from the conference is about harnessing corporate knowledge and combining the efforts of human beings.  In the Web 2.0 world, collaboration via wikis, blogs, RSS, social networking tools, bookmarking etc, have been great for individuals. But I think the enterprise is more complex than a group of social individuals in control of their own destiny. 

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Small ISV takes on the enterprise……

Friday, June 15th, 2007

…….and loses (more often than not).

Why is it so hard for small companies to sell to enterprise customers?  Ed French has an interesting insight in relation to vendor financial stability, and the high failure rate of enterprise implementations generally, pointing out that:

“A vendor that’s still around for a project that failed is perhaps no more useful than having a successful implementation where the vendor has gone out of business!”

However, financial risk is only one of many buying criteria and, whilst this is largely outside the control of the vendor, other criteria are more addressable.

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IT vs The Business – The IT View (and it’s grisly)

Thursday, June 14th, 2007

Blue Prism recently sponsored a survey on the use of Rogue IT in the enterprise (the results and conclusions are still being compiled).  I would like to thank the readers of this blog who contributed responses.  All respondents who left their name will get a copy of the results hopefully before the end of June.

In the meantime I have seen some sneak previews which I can selectively leak.  One series of questions dealt with the perceived expectations of the business – bear in mind that all respondents worked in enterprise IT – so this is the IT view.

Respondents were asked to agree/neutral/disagree with a set of statements.  Some highlights that surprised (or depressed) me:

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ROI of Application Development

Wednesday, June 13th, 2007

Just read an interesting piece from Sunjay Pandey arguing that ROI measurement for application development is too soft.

This is of interest to me on two counts.  As the head of a software vendor, I have to argue for and demonstrate ROI to my customers.  Conversely, as the head of a software vendor, my technical team needs to demonstrate ROI to me for any new developments in our product.

In both scenarios I have been guilty of not paying sufficient attention to the importance of ROI.  Whilst I don’t claim I have learnt every lesson, I would like to propose one addition to the list of 5 ingredients suggested by Sunjay for successfully evaluating and subsequently delivering the best ROI.

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Jeux Sans Frontières from IBM

Saturday, June 2nd, 2007

According to Wikipedia, Jeux Sans Frontières was a game devised by Général Charles de Gaulle to encourage better relations between French and German youths.  In the 1960s there was still presumably a slight legacy of post-war frostiness between the occupier and the occupied country but at the same time a renewed optimism about European Union having signed the Treaty of Rome in 1957,

Following the Enterprise Software wars of the 1990’s and 2000’s a frostiness and lack of understanding developed between the Business and IT.  So in the post war optimism of the Software Optimised for Agreement (SOA) era, can IBM help repair the damage with their new Innov8 game?

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IT and the business (yet again)

Wednesday, May 30th, 2007

In the short history of this weblog, common topics have included business agility, agile software development, arguments against big bang projects, and commentary on the relationship between IT and the business.

So I was interested to read Another Sideways Look At Agile in which JP Rangaswami pulls these threads together.

“there’s no Agile without active and enthusiastic business participation”

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Big Bang = Big Bucks

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2007

Good to hear others arguing against big bang  implementations…I have just subscribed to Andy Piper’s Blog.