|By David Blair||
|September 7, 2013 12:00 PM EDT||
Anytime we in IT encounter a new paradigm, our natural reaction is block, control, stop. In many shops, our first response is to prohibit users from accessing websites that the company has not approved, including cloud-based software, mobile applications, and other "bring your own apps" candidates. Instead, we ought to put more of our attention on words like partner or enable. That's what IT is really striving for.
IT managers want to serve their company's needs and to enable employees to do their job better. But the perception of IT is that is has been on a long trajectory towards (let's face it) irrelevance.
First, workers brought in their own PCs, then they brought in their own mobile equipment (the BYOD issues you've been struggling with), and Shadow IT was born. Nowadays CIOs struggle to balance IT, business, and worker-respect with the newest challenge: cloud applications and the "Bring your own apps" (BYOA) movement.
I've been watching this trend for a long time, and my conclusion is that the way for IT to deal with the "bring your own" movement is to embrace the cloud.
It isn't as though you have a choice. In 2013, the public cloud services market is forecast to total $131 billion worldwide, up from $111 billion in 2012, according to Gartner, much of it in SaaS and cloud-based productivity applications (such as Google docs or CRM systems). Nielsen reported in 2012 that U.S. smartphones have an average of 41 apps installed.
That isn't just a dispassionate statistical trend: It's the story of your life. Every day, people in your office are bringing in cloud applications to get their jobs done. Need a video conferencing tool? A bug tracking application? Internet-based storage? Online recruiting tools? Anything that used to be installed on a desktop or server (with or without IT's permission) can now be found online. With a credit card and a modest expense account, an employee can source any IT tool to suit the need.
Most IT managers contemplate the security vulnerabilities of cloud-based software with the gut-wrenching fear of a parent watching her teenager go on a first date. (But I haven't checked out your destination! I don't know what you'll bring home! Who wants to take advantage of you?) Often, enterprise organizations decide to lock things down as a way to control the situation, which works about as well as it does to tell a 15-year-old she isn't allowed to date or get her ears pierced.
It isn't as bad as you fear. By "embrace the cloud," I don't mean that IT managers should give up and let people do whatever they want with their SaaS applications and mobile apps. I do mean that you should give them the toolsets they want, and also manage the cloud.
There are tools that can help you do what you aim to do: protect the company, make sure that technology helps the business move forward, and enable end users to be productive. They can even save the business money.
Years ago, in the desktop computing era, we had server tools that would examine user desktops to learn what software was installed, under which licenses. We would use those tools to compare the applications the business was using to the applications that met corporate policies, for which the business had site licenses, and which complied with the IT security guidelines.
Back then in the stone age - about a decade ago - we'd use these asset management network exploration tools to discover that, say, the company was paying for 200 seats of PhotoShop when only 100 were actually installed (aha! Budget savings!) or that one department had an eensy bit of a problem with installing software for which they somehow could never produce a license or sales receipt.
Nowadays, though, you don't necessarily know which applications the users are using because they access the cloud applications through a Web browser. We do know that users are employing cloud applications, and they aren't going to stop.
Employees aren't doing this to thumb their noses at IT. Primarily, it's because users are motivated to be productive. If a SaaS application is purpose-built for their needs, they're going to find it and use it. If they have a distrustful relationship with IT, they sure aren't going to ask for permission first (if it even occurs to them to do so).
It becomes worrisome to IT when corporate info is stored in the cloud: Is it protected? Is it secure? How can we make sure it doesn't get into the public domain? So it behooves IT to recognize what really is being used across the organization - which we can accomplish with appropriate tools - both to learn what's going on and to serve the business.
As with the old-school network tools, it pays to consider cloud applications as an asset management issue as well as a security concern. Perhaps the organization has a site license for GoToMeeting but you see people using join.me. Can you get a volume purchase agreement for the more-preferred application if everyone is using the same tools? Or is the officially sanctioned (and paid-for!) tool not meeting user needs? This data helps a CIO make better decisions.
IT absolutely needs to know what their users are using and to educate them about the organization's IT challenges, and it should be a two-way conversation. Most "worker bees" do recognize that IT has a job to protect the company. Understanding how cloud apps are being used helps them optimize their environment and give them the tools they want. Once an employee recognizes he isn't being denied his God-given right to watch cat videos on YouTube but is instead affecting the Internet access speed for the whole company, he may be kinder to the IT staff. Plus, a lot of employee-introduced apps, when chosen for the right reasons, are adopted by IT.
Quite often, it's possible to throttle a cloud application to protect the organization's data or its resources, without affecting employees' ability to get a job done. Paying for a cloud application from IT's budget is one way to a department manager's heart; of course, but it may also be possible for the organization to brand a cloud application with a corporate logo. Companies can standardize on cloud tools as long as they can have administrative control; security holes such as chat functions and file transfer functions might be turned off. Maybe the department wants to control costs by not incurring file storage costs, so the tools (and policies) can permit the organization to set a limit of data stored by user or department. That becomes a conversation: What if we set that at 10GB per employee? Or does it need to be more?
To get their mojo back, IT departments have to champion the business. Accept that the cloud is here, it's growing, and you have to plan for it.
The BPM world is going through some evolution or changes where traditional business process management solutions really have nowhere to go in terms of development of the road map. In this demo at 15th Cloud Expo, Kyle Hansen, Director of Professional Services at AgilePoint, shows AgilePoint’s unique approach to dealing with this market circumstance by developing a rapid application composition or development framework.
Dec. 20, 2014 11:00 PM EST Reads: 1,927
ARMONK, N.Y., Nov. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that it is bringing a greater level of control, security and flexibility to cloud-based application development and delivery with a single-tenant version of Bluemix, IBM's platform-as-a-service. The new platform enables developers to build ap...
Dec. 20, 2014 12:30 PM EST Reads: 3,197
"BSQUARE is in the business of selling software solutions for smart connected devices. It's obvious that IoT has moved from being a technology to being a fundamental part of business, and in the last 18 months people have said let's figure out how to do it and let's put some focus on it, " explained Dave Wagstaff, VP & Chief Architect, at BSQUARE Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 20, 2014 12:00 PM EST Reads: 2,523
The major cloud platforms defy a simple, side-by-side analysis. Each of the major IaaS public-cloud platforms offers their own unique strengths and functionality. Options for on-site private cloud are diverse as well, and must be designed and deployed while taking existing legacy architecture and infrastructure into account. Then the reality is that most enterprises are embarking on a hybrid cloud strategy and programs. In this Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo (http://www.CloudComputingExpo.com), moderated by Ashar Baig, Research Director, Cloud, at Gigaom Research, Nate Gordon, Director of T...
Dec. 20, 2014 11:30 AM EST Reads: 3,081
The Internet of Things is not new. Historically, smart businesses have used its basic concept of leveraging data to drive better decision making and have capitalized on those insights to realize additional revenue opportunities. So, what has changed to make the Internet of Things one of the hottest topics in tech? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Gray, Director, Embedded and Internet of Things, discussed the underlying factors that are driving the economics of intelligent systems. Discover how hardware commoditization, the ubiquitous nature of connectivity, and the emergence of Big Data a...
Dec. 20, 2014 11:00 AM EST Reads: 2,943
SYS-CON Events announced today that Windstream, a leading provider of advanced network and cloud communications, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Windstream (Nasdaq: WIN), a FORTUNE 500 and S&P 500 company, is a leading provider of advanced network communications, including cloud computing and managed services, to businesses nationwide. The company also offers broadband, phone and digital TV services to consumers primarily in rural areas.
Dec. 20, 2014 10:45 AM EST Reads: 2,869
“In the past year we've seen a lot of stabilization of WebRTC. You can now use it in production with a far greater degree of certainty. A lot of the real developments in the past year have been in things like the data channel, which will enable a whole new type of application," explained Peter Dunkley, Technical Director at Acision, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 20, 2014 08:00 AM EST Reads: 2,132
SYS-CON Events announced today that IDenticard will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. IDenticard™ is the security division of Brady Corp (NYSE: BRC), a $1.5 billion manufacturer of identification products. We have small-company values with the strength and stability of a major corporation. IDenticard offers local sales, support and service to our customers across the United States and Canada. Our partner network encompasses some 300 of the world's leading systems integrators and security s...
Dec. 20, 2014 07:00 AM EST Reads: 2,662
DevOps Summit 2015 New York, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete at launch. DevOps may be disruptive, but it is essential.
Dec. 18, 2014 09:45 PM EST Reads: 1,866
"People are a lot more knowledgeable about APIs now. There are two types of people who work with APIs - IT people who want to use APIs for something internal and the product managers who want to do something outside APIs for people to connect to them," explained Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at SOA Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 18, 2014 09:00 AM EST Reads: 2,292
Nigeria has the largest economy in Africa, at more than US$500 billion, and ranks 23rd in the world. A recent re-evaluation of Nigeria's true economic size doubled the previous estimate, and brought it well ahead of South Africa, which is a member (unlike Nigeria) of the G20 club for political as well as economic reasons. Nigeria's economy can be said to be quite diverse from one point of view, but heavily dependent on oil and gas at the same time. Oil and natural gas account for about 15% of Nigera's overall economy, but traditionally represent more than 90% of the country's exports and as...
Dec. 18, 2014 06:00 AM EST Reads: 1,340
The Internet of Things is a misnomer. That implies that everything is on the Internet, and that simply should not be - especially for things that are blurring the line between medical devices that stimulate like a pacemaker and quantified self-sensors like a pedometer or pulse tracker. The mesh of things that we manage must be segmented into zones of trust for sensing data, transmitting data, receiving command and control administrative changes, and peer-to-peer mesh messaging. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ryan Bagnulo, Solution Architect / Software Engineer at SOA Software, focused on desi...
Dec. 17, 2014 11:15 PM EST Reads: 2,249
"At our booth we are showing how to provide trust in the Internet of Things. Trust is where everything starts to become secure and trustworthy. Now with the scaling of the Internet of Things it becomes an interesting question – I've heard numbers from 200 billion devices next year up to a trillion in the next 10 to 15 years," explained Johannes Lintzen, Vice President of Sales at Utimaco, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 17, 2014 11:00 PM EST Reads: 2,264
"For over 25 years we have been working with a lot of enterprise customers and we have seen how companies create applications. And now that we have moved to cloud computing, mobile, social and the Internet of Things, we see that the market needs a new way of creating applications," stated Jesse Shiah, CEO, President and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 15th Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 17, 2014 08:00 PM EST Reads: 2,254
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built to optimize Microsoft workloads, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Gridstore™ is the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built for Microsoft workloads and designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Gridstore’s hyper-converged infrastructure is the industry’s first all flash version of HyperConverged Appliances that include both compute and storag...
Dec. 17, 2014 06:30 PM EST Reads: 2,190
Today’s enterprise is being driven by disruptive competitive and human capital requirements to provide enterprise application access through not only desktops, but also mobile devices. To retrofit existing programs across all these devices using traditional programming methods is very costly and time consuming – often prohibitively so. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO, President, and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., discussed how you can create applications that run on all mobile devices as well as laptops and desktops using a visual drag-and-drop application – and eForms-buildi...
Dec. 17, 2014 11:45 AM EST Reads: 2,354
We certainly live in interesting technological times. And no more interesting than the current competing IoT standards for connectivity. Various standards bodies, approaches, and ecosystems are vying for mindshare and positioning for a competitive edge. It is clear that when the dust settles, we will have new protocols, evolved protocols, that will change the way we interact with devices and infrastructure. We will also have evolved web protocols, like HTTP/2, that will be changing the very core of our infrastructures. At the same time, we have old approaches made new again like micro-services...
Dec. 16, 2014 11:45 PM EST Reads: 2,223
Code Halos - aka "digital fingerprints" - are the key organizing principle to understand a) how dumb things become smart and b) how to monetize this dynamic. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robert Brown, AVP, Center for the Future of Work at Cognizant Technology Solutions, outlined research, analysis and recommendations from his recently published book on this phenomena on the way leading edge organizations like GE and Disney are unlocking the Internet of Things opportunity and what steps your organization should be taking to position itself for the next platform of digital competition.
Dec. 15, 2014 11:45 PM EST Reads: 2,617
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
Dec. 15, 2014 10:30 AM EST Reads: 8,203
As the Internet of Things unfolds, mobile and wearable devices are blurring the line between physical and digital, integrating ever more closely with our interests, our routines, our daily lives. Contextual computing and smart, sensor-equipped spaces bring the potential to walk through a world that recognizes us and responds accordingly. We become continuous transmitters and receivers of data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Andrew Bolwell, Director of Innovation for HP's Printing and Personal Systems Group, discussed how key attributes of mobile technology – touch input, sensors, social, and ...
Dec. 15, 2014 10:00 AM EST Reads: 3,337