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The New World of IT: Cloud, BYOD, Social Media's Impact on Corporate Networking

Changing the way IT works.

Over the past few years, the tech industry, that for the previous two to three decades was operated in organizations as the Management Information System (MIS) department or Information Technology (I.T.) department, has undergone a drastic change.  And presentation after presentation, I’ve seen those in the industry talk about the impacts and effects of the change, but not a single person has gotten to the root cause…until now!The importance of understanding the root cause for this major shift in organizational operations is that the leadership team addressing the operational and technological changes in enterprises can’t begin to address the change, until they clearly understand the impetus for the change.I have been in the tech industry since the 1970’s, living and breathing the very essence that has built this industry from its very beginning.  However I’ve also spent a lot of my time in the classroom in the world of academics through Masters and Doctoral programs studying and teaching economics and organizational behavior.  It is the academic side of me that shook me awake one evening on a long transpacific flight that had me clearly realize what was going on in our industry.The popularity of “the cloud”, the notion of “bring your own device” (BYOD) to work, the immersion of “social media” in the work place weren’t just coincidental consumer driven technology introductions into the work environment, but clear signs that our little computer industry has grown up.  We’re no longer in an industry where tech is just for techies, that I.T. had to be run by I.T. professionals, and where complex I.T. integration is a good thing.No, in fact what is crystal clear, that an Econ 1 student learns in their first week of class, is that successful businesses (and industries) have their competitive advantage, a barrier to entry, and is driven by an economies of scale, which the Tech industry had crossed the barrier into its next realm of its operational existence.BYOD is simply the users of technology confirming that given the right device, they don’t need I.T. to “image” a system for them, hand them a pre-configured device, and to be handheld through the process of using new tools and applications.  Much of the entering workforce in the past half-decade were born into a world of computers, technology, and the Internet.  The entering workforce has gone through school using the Internet as their information library, as they enter the workforce, they don’t need someone to show them something new and fancy like email, word processing, or Web applications.  Those already in the workforce have been using computers and technology for at least a decade if not two or more.  BYOD is simply the workforce saying “thanks, I got it…”Social Media goes far beyond users saying I want something like Facebook at work, rather the workforce saying, “give us a say in what we do”.  We know that having “big brother” watching after the workforce, and top down management structures as not being the core structures in the most successful businesses today.  Instead, the most successful businesses are those where employees at all levels in the organization are empowered to make critical decisions, or at a minimum have a valued say in how things are done.  THIS is the foundation of Social Media in the workplace.  It’s the enablement of communications throughout the enterprise to ask for input, and listen to the input in the decision making, business processes, and operations of successful organizations.The impact “the cloud” has had in the shaping of the marketplace is that as much as Google, Salesforce.com, Amazon, Microsoft, and Twitter are the quintessential examples of the cloud, they as businesses aren’t what have defined the driving force of the cloud in business enterprises.  In fact, it was the “sales pitch” that every early cloud provider used that drove the cloud into the changes in the Tech industry.  It was all of the promises executives heard early on that the cloud provides the flexibility and agility to grow and shrink I.T. on demand, which ultimately helps organizations lower costs of I.T. operations.  Early adopters of the cloud never saw those lower costs materialize, but what is very clear is that executive leadership at the very top of enterprises (CFOs and CEOs) want options for I.T. other than what they have been getting in-house.  And when Sales and Marketing departments “go around I.T.” and setup their own Box.com accounts or Salesforce.com accounts, it is their message to I.T. that they want options, not the “old way I.T. has always been done.”With internal I.T. built on such complexity with year to year rising costs and multi-year long implementation and integration of “systems”, the crystal palace that I.T. has built has to change.  Cloud promised cheaper and better options, and while the cloud may or may not deliver it (the jury is still out on that one), what I.T. organizations have to realize is that between BYOD, Social Media, and the Cloud, I.T. MUST build a path to address the root factor driving the changes in the industry.I released a book that clarifies the changing forces in the I.T. industry and businesses I.T. serves of these driving initiatives within I.T. operations, and provides a path how organizations can build their environments to meet the needs of the new (and evolving) workforce.  The book focuses not on addressing BYOD and Social Media as fads and factions that “have to be dealt with”, but rather as core changes in the needs, expectations, and requirements of a more tech savvy workforce, and leveraging that savviness to empower the workforce to do better and greater things through the leveraging of technology, not locking down tech savvy workers and limiting their potential.

This is an executive level (non-technical) guide focused to Chief Information Officers (CIOs), Vice President's of Information Technology, Chief Financial Officers (CFO)s, and Chief Executive Officers (CEOs).  The book is titled "The New World of I.T." and is available both in print and in Kindle format off Amazon.com

End of the day, the goal, expectation, and requirement of I.T. is that it needs to bring down the barriers that it has spent a couple decades building, and instead simplify I.T., making it more accessible to users, and truly driving the costs of I.T. down, whether that’s through leveraging cloud-based solutions, or internally building up I.T. with built in economies of scale to optimize the costs of I.T. operations.It is the I.T. leadership’s ability to understand and embrace the changes in the marketplace, and leveraging that knowledge in transforming I.T. into a business enabler that can reach far into the evolution of the 21st Century business environment.

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