Determining the right IT infrastructure for an enterprise has always been a little like shooting at a moving target. But lately, it has become harder than ever to hit the bull's eye.
The biggest challenge used to be dealing with pace of change, famously defined in the 1970s by Moore's Law. Today the problem is more complex. It is no longer solely about how quickly technology is moving, but where it is moving to? And the answer is that it is moving everywhere!
In fact, the next stage in IT evolution - ubiquitous technology - has already begun. The global frenzy for information, automation and anytime anywhere access means the world is "always on." And phenomena such as cloud services, big data, social media and data mobility are irrevocably changing the way technology is consumed.
IT organisations that are interested in unlocking the full potential and productivity of their organisations must transform the way they perceive IT in order to support it effectively.
One visible result is that organisations of all sizes and industries are now calling for a broader spectrum of choice in the technologies necessary to support increasing expectations of tech-savvy customers, line-of-business owners and employees. Prevalent within that spectrum is workplace mobility, which translates into the freedom to work beyond the desk and the desktop by using mobile devices.
A recent study of 600 enterprise businesses found that 95% already have employees who rely on personal mobile devices and apps for work. The same survey also revealed that 92% of organisations recognise mobile apps as a way to gain competitive advantage.
For many companies, the new reality is that, if content does not exist on a mobile screen, then for all practical purposes it might as well not exist at all.
The Business Dilemma for IT
So how is all this mobile ubiquity affecting IT? The answer is dramatic!
The always-on world is ever changing. The speed of data movement, collaboration and the appeal of the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend are outpacing the capabilities of most IT organisations to control these developments. This, in turn, poses an increased risk to the data assets accessed through these mobile devices.
Managing the data itself might be an even bigger challenge. Unstructured data within businesses is growing not only in volume, but also in variety. According to Gartner, in most enterprises it is increasing by 40% to 60% a year, often driven by the most mundane of activities such as files shared via email.
This can lead not only to a bewildering number of copies sitting on user devices, in backups and on file servers, but also inefficient storage and network utilisation, content duplication and higher costs for storage, backup and data management. Not to mention other worries about control and governance of sensitive data.
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