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IT management strategy for 2017

On a side note, as a follow on from last week’s article on mobile security, I have been reminded that current Windows 10 Phones are currently unable to be infected by malware, and do not need an anti-virus solution.

How? Simply, the latest Windows 10 phones (previously Nokia) have an operating system that cannot be overwritten by an external program, and nothing can be installed without your knowledge.

Most applications loaded on this phone come from the Windows Phone Store – where they are first secured by Microsoft. F-Secure – the well know anti-virus provider– has reported that Windows Phones have the most secure mobile platform on the market.

Please note the word – currently. I have no doubt there are malware creators currently beavering away at producing a successful malware attack on these phones.

Over to 2017 and the recent Gartner reports. Gartner is highly respected and the world’s leading information technology research and advisory company with analysts in 26 countries.

Any corporate that uses IT to a competitive edge – and I am not sure if I know of any that do not – pay great attention to their research findings.They recently opened their 2016 Symposium and ITxpo on Monday October 16.

Their findings should act as a blueprint for senior Information Officers everywhere – yes – even Malawi. IT is no longer a localised solution – we are all part of the IT global village, and need to adapt fast to maintain business parity – if not superiority. So – what are some of their predictions for 2017 and onwards?

Firstly, they talk about the disappearance of localised data centers – as cloud services offerings become more readily available. I recently met with an IT executive of a local bank who was very wary of using the cloud for their confidential business critical data – and appeared to be happy to wait on the sidelines until they saw other banks first adopt this technology.

In other words – avoid the risk of taking on new technology as an early adopter. When security is a concern, this is commendable.

However, whilst early adopters are perceived as risk takers, ask yourself the question – how many of them are business leaders in their industry because of this approach?

The competitive edge gained from investing and committing – from the top – to changing technology is immense.

Another change in perception that they recommend is to look at IT investment as an asset and not as just costs. Likewise, with the in-house IT teams.

Their jobs should be reviewed – no longer are they there to react to IT problems or maintain systems. They need to be used in a more proactive way to add business value to the company.

Removing the day to day tedious tasks of support and backup procedures, enables them to be actively assessing new technology, applications and architecture to add business benefit and competitive edge.

Suitability for this changing role amongst IT professionals needs to be assessed, and is necessary, supplemented by ongoing training. The day of the network administrator sitting at his desk until called out to troubleshoot – are gone.

Space does not allow me to talk in detail about the rest of their findings and predictions, but at the base of their studies are the following main issues that must be factored in to ongoing IT strategy.

Alignment of IT with business is essential. Enabling IT agility and flexibility reflects agility in business. Very simply business agility allows organisations to react speedily to take advantage of immediate and unforeseen business opportunities.

Ask yourself the question – how quickly can your organisation respond to a sudden opportunity? Time to market is the key.

Security and cyber security considerations are essential. Other areas to look at are cost reduction and controls and productivity and efficiency issues.

These subjects alone deserve a column on their own – and I shall endeavour to re-visit them soon. The message to all It executives remains the same – look and plan for change now. Do not sit on your laurels.

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