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6 Ways IT Still Fails The Business

IT leaders should prepare their teams to avoid these mistakes in 2013.

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The harsh truth is that everyone remembers IT's mistakes more than its victories. So in that spirit, we're looking back on some of the problems we've written about in 2012 in hopes of purging those demons in the year ahead.

Sure, IT teams are doing a lot of things right. Cloud is a great example -- IT teams are increasingly not just open-minded to cloud software and infrastructure options, they're also starting to become the lead advocates for it. And a lot of everyday victories are things that never happen: systems that stay up. But every good IT leader has a spirit of constructive dissatisfaction, looking for ways to get better and test new boundaries.

So here's a list of six ways IT is still failing the business, with survey data and examples to back up why we see these risks.

1. IT Is Still Underestimating Mobile's Impact

Only 53% of IT teams are very or extremely involved in creating a mobility policy for their company, including bring-your-own-device, according to our InformationWeek IT Perception survey. This response is identical for IT and non-IT respondents, one of the rare areas they're in agreement.

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That means almost half of IT shops are sitting out -- or are cut out -- of the mobile discussion. IT leaders need to insert themselves in this conversation. They need to help companies make the most out of mobile devices, not just help manage them. Too often, IT has been caught napping in the mobile revolution.

First, too many IT shops missed the iPhone revolution by initially fighting their use by employees rather than seeing the potential and rolling up their sleeves to solve security problems. Then -- fool me twice -- they missed the iPad revolution, with too many seeing it, at best, a "niche-y" gadget. In 2010, almost 70% doubted that even 10% of employees would get tablets; in our just-completed InformationWeek Outlook 2013 survey, it's down to half. Our survey finds that 35% of companies have mobile device management software on their project lists for the coming year, but only 26% are creating mobile apps for customers, and a mere 18% are creating mobile apps for employees.

chart: IT Projects For 2013

Too many IT shops got caught like this forward-looking IT operation that nevertheless didn't move fast enough on tablets for the sales team: "Mobile computing has been a key component of our IT strategy for several years. We've delivered on initial focus areas, building mobile applications for customers and enabling employee personal mobile device access to company email. Our mistake was in not anticipating the dramatic surge in popularity of the iPad commensurate with the release of the iPad 2. Sales force demand to leverage company-liable tablets rose suddenly, requiring us to be uncustomarily reactive. IT quickly bridged the gap, setting policy and implementing mobile device management, which enabled the company to mitigate financial impacts. However, we're still working to regain the full confidence of our sales executives."

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User Rank: Apprentice
12/13/2012 | 11:42:22 PM
re: 6 Ways IT Still Fails The Business
Funny, but reasons #2 and #3 are why SAP has pre-packaged hundreds of its modules for rapid deployment. For more on Rapid Deployment Solutions, see Disclosure: bitly:
User Rank: Apprentice
12/13/2012 | 7:46:18 PM
re: 6 Ways IT Still Fails The Business
Good insights, Chris. Seems so simple yet so many long-standing challenges that still elude IT management. Do you think it's generational or more inherent in the type of person who goes into IT?
Nathan Golia
Nathan Golia,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/13/2012 | 2:48:24 PM
re: 6 Ways IT Still Fails The Business
I am shocked that IT can be described as "underestimating" mobile's impact -- at least in insurance, everyone wants to talk about mobile, mobile permeates conversations about seemingly unrelated subjects, and mobile-related stories are our most popular. But I guess that begs the question -- how much is theorycrafting, and how much is an actual search for strategic insight?

Nathan Golia
Insurance & Technology
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