The way that information is presented and consumed has changed dramatically in the last few years. The consumerization of information access through smartphones and tablets has altered how people interact with their systems. This new “convenient” mode of information sharing has been imposed on enterprises with the expectation that touch-friendly systems are no different to support than the existing systems; however, these activities represent monumental shifts for enterprise IT.
The speed of this transformation has forced enterprise IT departments to adjust all aspects of their information management within a very short timeframe. Users expect their personal devices to access enterprise software, which requires CIO’s to address the security and budget requirements of a BYOD (bring your own device) workplace. The BYOD and software changes have opened the door to reassessing how work processes are performed, and compelling CIO’s to engage users in extensive BPR (Business Process Reviews).
CIO’s must re-evaluate their core platform software, like enterprise resource planning (ERP) and records management systems (RMS), in order to support mobile devices in their enterprise. IT leadership manages a team that is composed of external vendors who may be slow to react (i.e., ERP systems that operate primarily in legacy Windows® client/server); senior management who may not understand the changes and expect reductions in IT costs; and a staff not adequately trained in the new system and processes. This type of transition is best handled by IT personnel experienced in change management who can serve as the voice of reason.
Epochal changes in IT are not new. In the early 1990’s, enterprises migrated from mainframes to client server systems. IT managers involved recognized that a well-planned architectural strategy with plenty of user contact experienced the most successful transition. Today, many new IT managers do not recognize the fundamentals of change. In their zeal to please the users, they have created an unsustainable strategy based on providing access to legacy enterprise applications through extensive development of iPad® iOS applications. This reactive short-term approach escalates IT costs rapidly since legacy systems must be maintained, while resources are funneled to short-term development projects. The result is that existing IT support staff become alienated, and senior management becomes apprehensive over rising costs.
The earlier mainframe to client /server transition faced similar challenges wasting millions of dollars in IT systems. This era of change is no different, and it is only through experience, IT leadership, and thoughtful planning that successful change can be achieved.