Cloud // Infrastructure as a Service
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8/31/2011
02:47 PM
Chris Murphy
Chris Murphy
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8 Signs Your IT Team Is Too Slow

IT teams can't afford to get this reputation. What are your danger signs?

Trying to rev up your IT shop's performance? Attend this year's InformationWeek 500 conference, Sept. 11-13, to learn how fellow IT leaders are meeting IT's need for speed.

There are worse things for an IT organization to be labeled than "slow." But not many. IT pros take pride in keeping up with the rapid pace of technology change--constant change is what drew many to the profession. The challenge is meeting the expectations set by consumer tech while still providing systems that meet the reliability, scalability, and security the business needs. And do all that within budget.

Bad things happen if an IT organization gets a reputation for being slow. Business units then work around IT and don't consider broader company needs. And IT ends up coming late to initiatives where its expertise was sorely needed.

Here are eight warning signs that your IT organization is too slow-- or that business units are perceiving it that way. It's based on interviews with IT executives throughout this year--including CIOs of top companies in our upcoming InformationWeek 500 ranking, which we'll announce Sept. 13 at our conference and online, and in our magazine.

IT Is Left Out On Mobile Apps Mobile apps are the hottest area of enterprise software, so chances are that several business units are working on or thinking about smartphone and tablet apps for customers or employees. Now, IT shouldn't worry just because the company hires an outside firm to do the actual development. That's happening at many companies, since mobile app development involves some specialized skills that most IT shops haven't nurtured in-house. But if those business unit leaders want a mobile app and the first call they make isn't to a peer on the IT team, chances are they don't trust IT to meet their aggressive timeframe.

Security Trumps All Information security's one of IT's fundamental roles--if IT doesn't marshal it, who will? Nonetheless, if business units feel like there's no risk the IT organization will accept, that IT won't move forward until every security contingency is closed, they'll just start making those risk judgments without IT's input. And that's scary. Business teams need IT's security expertise, but they need to know IT will make risk assessments in a business context.

New Computing Capacity = Months Companies need a data center architecture that can react to changing demand and new projects. The simple fact is that Amazon can deliver server capacity in minutes, and internal IT will be compared to that standard. So the standard month(s)-long server provisioning process is unacceptable. Your organization doesn't need to match Amazon, and in fact a good answer might be, "Well, use Amazon if you really need generic server capacity in minutes." However, IT needs to map out the options, and help business colleagues understand where public cloud services do and don't make sense.

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