Consumerization of IT
The Royal Bank of Scotland’s (RBS) IT failure was one of the most highly publicized IT failures this year, underscoring the increasing dependence that financial service institutions, and other industries, are placing on their respective IT organizations. Some, including the bank’s CEO, have blamed the failure on the need to dedicate more resources to maintaining and updating the legacy systems and applications that so many of the bank’s critical processes have become dependent on.
What ultimately triggered the problem may end up being largely irrelevant, as no system is 100% foolproof. But what the RBS IT failure highlights is that with IT dependence comes risk. In order to mitigate that risk, IT organizations must earn to more quickly incorporate current and rapidly developing business challenges into the IT infrastructure.
What do I mean by “rapidly developing business challenges?” The consumerization of technology means consumers are continually looking to access a businesses’ services online more and more, adding complexity to IT environments and adding more pain to the IT management headache. This is difficult not just because of the increasing complexity of IT environments but also the difficulty associated in updating, maintaining and managing the complex dependencies between these various systems.
For example, a bank teller making a one-off mistake while interacting with a single customer is one thing, but incorrectly managing the complex interdependencies can have a domino effect that can affect thousands is another.
Adding to this is the speed at which IT systems are expected to operate. Consumers now operate in a near real-time environment, and this creates pressure that IT departments are struggling to keep pace with.
So if the RBS IT failure shows anything, what is needed is more effective management of systems, management that combines intelligent software platforms with intelligent people. In the end, the huge volumes of updates and complex interdependencies across heterogeneous environments is making IT automation a necessity.
But not just any automation, more of what I’d call “intelligent” IT automation. Workload and IT process automation cannot be effective unless the solution is able to recognize that an error has occurred, where it has occurred and what the impact will be. Compliance and control, alerting, error handling, they’re all critical components in allowing IT to effectively govern and audit the automation of processes to drive speed and efficiency, all the while preventing errors like the one RBS experienced from happening.