Decentralisation of IT is changing business operations in SA

A VMware report reveals that 69% of respondents believe IT has become increasingly decentralised in the last three years, which has both its benefits and challenges.

This is according to a survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), sponsored by VMware, of 2,000 senior IT and business executives, including 100 in South Africa, to explore escalating complexity driven by decentralisation.

Decentralisation of IT is when any employee within any business department of an organisation, other than the IT department, is making IT purchases or installing or maintaining software.

It can also include employees using non-IT approved software, such as Dropbox, without the involvement of the centralised IT department.

The study found that executives believe that decentralisation may benefit them, but they also feel concerned that it will disperse decision making, fragment standards, and duplicates IT asset.

As such, many respondents questioned whether its a positive change or not, specifically when it comes to security.

According to the research findings, more than half (57%) of the surveyed South African business leaders believe the management of technology is shifting away from IT to other departments.

This is due to lines of business take charge of technology-led innovation in organisations to drive speed, innovation and responsiveness, and it is delivering real business benefits, including:

  • The ability to launch new products and services to market with greater speed (61%)
  • Giving the business more freedom to drive innovation (59%)
  • Increasing responsiveness to market conditions (59%)
  • A shift in technology ownership beyond IT to the broader business, which increases employee satisfaction (63%)
  • The ability to attract better talent (52%)

“The rise of Cloud has democratised IT, with its ease of access and attractive costing models, so it’s no surprise that lines of business have jumped on this opportunity,” says Matthew Kibby, Regional Director at VMware Sub-Saharan Africa.

“It’s ‘transform or die’ for many businesses, with a tumultuous economic environment and a radically evolved competitive landscape upturning the way they operate.”

Nevertheless, organisations considering transformation also face escalating costs and compromised security as a result, and leaders from across business believe that:

  • The shift is causing duplication of spend on IT services (51%)
  • A lack of clear ownership and responsibility for IT (58%)
  • The purchasing of unsecure solutions (68%)
  • The movement is happening against the wishes of IT teams who want IT to become more centralised (58%) – specifically core functions, like network security and compliance, private Cloud-based services, and storage.

“Too often, we’re seeing this trend left unchecked and without adequate IT governance, meaning that organisations across EMEA are driving up costs, compromising security and muddying the waters as to who does what, as they look to evolve,” adds Kibby.

80% of South African organisations believe that IT should enable the lines of business to drive innovation, but must set the strategic direction and be accountable for security.

This highlights the balance between the central IT function retaining control while also allowing innovation to foster in other, separate areas of the business.

“This isn’t ‘Shadow IT’ anymore, that’s yesterday’s story – this is now ‘Mainstream IT’. The decentralisation movement is happening, driven by the need of speed in today’s business world,” continues Kibby.

“By recognising these changes are happening, and adapting to them, IT can still be an integral part of leading this charge for change. The latest technology or application will only truly drive digital transformation when it’s able to cross any cloud, is available at speed and with ease, within a secure environment.”

As a result, there is a move to Cross-Cloud as a solution, which can enable the agility to respond to ever-changing business demands, as well as visibility across data centre operations.

“Cross-Cloud gives our business the freedom of choice in data centre location, while ensuring operations deliver a top-class service irrespective of whether the service is delivered on a private, hybrid or public Cloud,” says Johan Marais, Virtualisation Manager at Discovery.

By introducing Cross-Cloud Architecture, VMware has taken Cloud services to the next level, according to Rohan de Beer, General Manager at iSanity.

“VMware is providing improved flexibility fr customers to access services from different Cloud providers and still be assured that they are in control and that their Cloud environment is secure, no matter where it resides,” he concludes.

For more information, visit the VMware website.

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Decentralisation of IT is changing business operations in SA