The Consumerization of IT, BYOC, and the (New) Role of IT Arrow to Content

September 11, 2013 | Leave a Comment

Nicholas G Carr

9 September 2013

Author: Brandon Cook

It has been a decade since Nicolas Carr published his controversial essay “IT Doesn’t Matter” in the Harvard Business Review. Back then, he claimed that companies weren’t really getting a competitive advantage from the technology advances – the bits and bytes – of hardware and software. Carr argued that IT infrastructure was becoming commoditized, and it was the business strategies using that technology rather than the technology itself that would give companies their competitive advantages.

Ten years later, Carr’s ideas really have become a reality. Now we are in the era of the consumerization of IT and Bring Your Own Cloud (BYOC), where individual workers and business departments rent hardware and software—the virtual machines, the applications, the storage capacity, the big data processing capacity, and so on. Often, they make these choices without IT’s knowledge or approval.

This shift from “own the infrastructure” to “rent the applications” leads to the next question: What is the role of the IT department now? If we no longer need this group to select, install and maintain the latest model server, do they still play a strategic role in the enteprise?

I’d like to share a real-world story that demonstrates that IT departments do have an important and significant role in the BYOC era. Not only does IT have the critical responsibility for protecting corporate data as it moves to the cloud and from the cloud, but this group also makes certain that the right cloud services are being used, in the right way (meeting company policies) and in a productive and cost-efficient manner.

Leveraging Skyhigh, one Fortune 100 company’s IT department gained visibility into the use of public cloud storage services by the company. On average, a company uses 19 different cloud storage services and this particular company was no different. Of course some services are more popular than others with workers, and the company ranked its top 5 cloud storage services by number of users:

  1. Dropbox
  2. Google Drive
  3. SkyDrive
  4. SugarSync
  5. Box

With 19 different services in use, how can employees effectively collaborate and share their work? The IT team polled employees and found they were struggling with managing multiple file sharing services and would prefer having one corporate standard.

Skyhigh analysis of their cloud storage use gave them necessary insight to understand which services were actively being used, by how many users, how frequently, for how much data and which ones people had signed up for but used less often.   The usage ranking was:

  1. Box
  2. SugarSync
  3. Dropbox
  4. Google Drive
  5. SkyDrive

The data revealed that Box was used most often. And Skyhigh’sCloudRegistry showed that Box was also the lowest risk service. Armed with this data, IT negotiated a corporate-wide deal with Box and set this as the company standard for public cloud storage services. An IT manager at the company told me, “By leveraging Skyhigh data, we are able to look through the landscape of file sharing services and understand employee usage. This presents a clearer and accurate picture, giving us a better context for decision-making that supports our employees.”

If you’d like to take a look at the file sharing services in use at your organization to understand the risk profile for each service and the usage beyond “user count”, schedule a free file sharing cloud assessment with Skyhigh(note: assessment results returned in 12 – 24hrs.).

And…if you attend Boxworks next week, make sure to ask Nicolas Carr, who’s speaking at the event, for his take on the role of IT in the BYOC era.

 

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