Brave New World for Applications: Is it IT + LOB, or IT vs. LOB?

IT and business should be working together, right? That’s not a rhetorical question. Rather I think it is an indication of a major shift taking place in corporations today. There is a key enabler behind this and it’s the public cloud, writes Pauline Nist of Intel.

Pauline Nist is GM Enterprise Software Strategy at Intel Corporation.

pauline_nist_tnPAULINE NIST
Intel

At a recent tech conference, I got to sit on two distinct panels. The first was focused on how business could use analytics (Hadoop) to derive critical insights that drove business impact. The second was on how IT could leverage Hadoop to derive a more complete picture, and analysis of their data.

I was intrigued as to how many people would attend both sessions, how the questions would vary, but mostly I was amazed that there were two different panel discussions. After all, shouldn’t IT AND Business be working together? That’s not a rhetorical question. Rather I think it is an indication of a major shift taking place in corporations today. There is a key enabler behind this and it’s the public cloud. When you can start experimenting with Amazon Web services for free, who doesn’t want to try it?

Cloud: Enemy or Enabler?

I have heard IT managers half seriously suggest that their corporations shut down the use of corporate credit cards to pay for cloud usage. They see it as a way to get control over data and security issues. But I would argue that’s the least of their problems. The challenge is that Lines of Business (LOBs) aren’t always getting timely responsive solutions out of IT, so they are hiring developers and data analysts and doing the work themselves. The credit card purchase at AWS is the end point, not the beginning.

Even Gartner is predicting that by 2014 at least 25 percent of new business applications will be built by end users. As Gartner suggests, IT will be better served if it acknowledges this trend, and manages the risks by educating and supporting programs that create a safe environment for end user applications developers. I must admit that I’m not seeing a lot of such support happening.

Attracted to Hadoop

Additionally, I see Hadoop as a real temptation, which encourages many LOBs to connect with one of the companies providing a Hadoop distribution, and then starting a project. In fact, one of my fellow panelists (from one of the Hadoop distro companies) at the aforementioned conference, said that he told his sales guys to only talk to the LOBs and not IT! (though not quite as politely as I have paraphrased it!).

This is an age old trend. Users want the compute cycles and control of the apps. It gave rise to minicomputers, Unix workstations, PCs, Client/Server, and now the Cloud. IT would be wise to support the process not ignore it.

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