As end users bring their own devices to work, download apps and sign up for cloud services, it's getting harder for IT to maintain application visibility and control performance. In addition to introducing IT management blind spots, trends such as consumerization, mobility and cloud computing are also increasing business risk, according to a survey of CIOs from around the world.
"The age-old disconnect between business and IT is at risk of widening," said Steve Tack, CTO at Compuware, which commissioned a study into the impact of consumerization. "Employees are clearly hungry to use the same technologies in their business environments that they are already using in their personal lives. This is creating more challenges for those responsible to keep these technologies up and running."
GARTNER PREDICTIONS: More cloud, consumerization, loss of IT control in 2012
Among 520 CIOs polled, 77% said they worry that further consumerization of IT will lead to greatly increased business risks. At the same time, consumerization is blurring the lines of IT responsibility. At 74% of enterprises polled, CIOs said consumerization fuels unrealistic expectations, as end users start assuming IT will address tech issues that sit outside the core infrastructure.
Few IT departments have visibility into how services outside the corporate firewall perform, says Compuware, which specializes in application performance management (APM). Its tools help IT managers optimize the availability and quality of their applications, whether they're Web-based, non-Web, mobile or streaming or in the cloud. As application environments grow more complex, and as employee-owned smartphones, tablets and apps make their way into the business environment, the art of APM is getting trickier.
"Users now access applications via this intricate chain, starting with an array of browsers and mobile devices, traversing the Internet, cloud services, mobile or third-party providers, the corporate WAN and a multi-tier data center. At any time and any point, problems that jeopardize end-user or customer satisfaction, revenue and brand loyalty can arise," Compuware asserts in its report, The International CIO Study on Impact of IT Consumerization (available here).
A majority of the CIOs polled believe that having insight into how applications are performing for end users is important; it helps improve IT maturity, according to 86% of survey respondents. But a lack of transparency into the performance of cloud and SaaS providers is reversing that maturity, 64% of CIOs said.
For instance, more than half of CIOs said adequate support for employee mobility is almost impossible due to reliance on external networks, which make it much harder to control performance and the end-user experience. Likewise, 73% of CIOs said their IT departments are currently prevented from supporting SaaS and social media applications because they cannot provide associated SLAs to the business.
At some companies, a lack of application performance management capabilities will wind up restricting the consumerization trend (cited by 73% of CIOs). At others, end users will simply circumvent IT departments. At 64% of enterprises, for instance, CIOs said enterprise mobility projects are forging ahead without the full involvement of IT.
The International CIO Study on Impact of IT Consumerization was conducted by research firm Vanson Bourne, which polled 520 CIOs from large enterprises in the U.S., Europe and Asia-Pacific.
Ann Bednarz covers IT careers, outsourcing and Internet culture for Network World. Follow Ann on Twitter @annbednarz and check out her blog, Occupational Hazards. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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