The End of “Old I.T.”

The evolution of technology in a business has led us to a very interesting time where non-I.T. departments are spending money on I.T. How does that work?

In the shadows

Some call this trend “Shadow I.T.” There are other terms used in the industry, but shadow I.T. does a good job in creating an image of technology living in the same “area” of everything else, just in the shadows. This type of behavior is caused by several various issues. One, and arguably the most prevalent, is the way I.T. organizations within a business have been running, slow, archaic, and expensive. It seems commercial, or end-user specific, technology has outpaced that of traditional technology professionals in this case. Some examples of these technologies are mobile devices and the cloud. Dropbox, for example, has been around for quite some time, helping individuals offload data from their mobile devices to a central repository that they can use to either share larger files (that the old email systems couldn’t mail due to size restrictions) or simply have easier access wherever they reside at the time. Despite such demands, many businesses refused to adopt the cloud, and even go as far as putting restrictions on the use of the cloud. This behavior hasn’t gone away, some companies still try and force employees to do these the “old way.” Unfortunately, for those slow do evolve businesses, retaining and attracting talent is proving to become more and more difficult. “younger” talent, usually defined as millennials, desire a mobile workforce with flexible tools and the ability to use whatever device they choose. Some research has even shown that mobility can lead to 30% better processes. This may seem to be very high maintenance (and it is), but it has driven enterprise technology providers to step up their game to meet those needs and make strides in developing new software and hardware that’s lighter, faster, and more in tune to what people of today require. It’s also important to remember that the millennial generation will soon account fore more than half of the total workforce and more than half are willing to move wherever they can to achieve the mobile life goals.

Work easier or work more?

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On example of such technologies, and mentioned earlier in this post, is dropbox. The once dreaded tool of all IT professionals has now become the new norm for most. Whether a company has adopted the business driven dropbox (really the same stuff with some security wrapped around it), or another technology, such as Box or Onedrive, to accomplish the same goals. Furthermore, mobile hardware technology from the consumer world has also bled in to professional IT. Earlier in the days of the iPad, years before the surface pro or any other windows based tablet, business simply couldn’t be 100% run from the tablet. The employee trying to force it in to his business routine was typically restricted to applications such as email, and maybe some word processing (if you wanted to embark on using the ipad keyboard). In recent years, however, applications have evolved to be supported nicely on either native tablet operating systems or via an easy to use HTML5 browser window, eliminated the need of Java. The push from a generation to work and live a certain way has truly benefited to progress of business applications and support. But at what cost? Are the generations that caused the easy-to-use and mobile workforce now simply forced to work longer hours since they can now work from home and on the weekends?

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