​INSIGHT: Is IT empowering or risky business?

​INSIGHT: Is IT empowering or risky business?

"Business is all about taking calculated risks gambling, if you will, with the assets of the organisation to create an increase in overall wealth."

Talent management came out almost the last priority for 2015/16, according to the IDC C-Suite Barometer 2015, and yet in the IT world there is a huge shortage of suitable candidates able and ready to run the new breed of systems that businesses demand.

Business is all about taking calculated risks gambling, if you will, with the assets of the organisation to create an increase in overall wealth.

Business risk, however, comes in many shapes and sizes, whilst IT risk manifests itself in many colours of the same risk - information risk.

The risk that the systems will be unavailable, that results in many disaster recovery offerings, is really about providing business with unobstructed access to the information they require, as and when they require it.

IT security is that the information will either be stolen, lost, misplaced or otherwise inaccessible to the business. For the purposes of this blog, I will ignore project risk, although this too can be partially addressed in a differing, innovative approach to overall IT risk avoidance.

A new risk is entering the Asia markets that many are experiencing but few are knowledgeable in how to address. I am referring to resource risk: the inability to locate, hire and retain the right kinds of IT resources currently required in the markets.

The three most highly publicised IT professions that are in shortage are enterprise architects, security professionals, and data scientists.

Because of these supposedly varied issues of risk around the IT department, and due to the nature of the audits that legislation has imposed on a number of industries, the governance, risk and compliance part of the business frequently falls on the IT team.

And yet the risky part of the business, the one that defines where the investments are being made across the organisation, are rarely involved or engaged in an IT risk conversation.

Things must change, and the first place is to look within the organisation to see where the systems and processes are leveraging a 2nd Platform or older technology stack.

These older systems are usually more difficult to maintain, to secure and to resource and, by definition are of higher risk of becoming a drain on the organisation.

These older systems will be barriers to adoption of new, more competitive technologies and will become drains on the organisation very soon.

Whilst it may not be possible to retire a system, it is certainly easier today to find ways to architect a more efficient business continuity and disaster recovery plan for these, and all systems.

When it comes to leveraging the latest managed cloud services, such considerations should be a far simpler proposition than in the past as cloud technologies have significantly matured over the years, and by so doing frees up resources to focus on more rewarding areas.

Once these first steps are taken and the fear of the unknown broached, the risks can then be far better understood and overshadow the current and mostly uneducated view.

This will also help a transforming organisation make far better risk-based IT decisions on infrastructure architecture and placement. And not forgetting an increase in the ability to find the right levels of outsourced skills that will continue to be in shortage in the Asian markets for some time to come.

This lack of focus on talent, as indicated by the IDC C-Suite Barometer 2015, is something that has the potential to be overcome, if partnering with the right kind of service organisation is included in the IT strategy.

By Simon Piff - Associate Vice President, Enterprise Infrastructure, IDC Asia/Pacific

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