It’s raining innovation


Did you see our recent post about whether or not IT people should place more emphasis on security by limiting employees’ ability to share data. Well, here’s a little something more on the subject, this time from a software company most of us have certainly heard of.

Microsoft, working with Forrester Consulting, has concluded that cloud based services are a good thing across all areas of business.

Two quotes from the report stand out as particularly interesting. They come from Rob Fraser, Microsoft’s CTO of Cloud Services. One is: “you might expect … the study would reveal a sort of “wild west” of IT, with un-sanctioned projects popping up all over the place and creating an unmanageable IT environment.”

The other is: “but the reality is quite the opposite. It shows that the most successful cloud deployments are those with strong alignment between business and IT.”

The wild west referred to here is about employees being able to access anything they like online from their work computer, or download whatever apps they like to use and work with, regardless of any attempts at security policies on the part of their employer.

The “strong alignment” referred to above is a welcome indication that far from laying yourself open to unmanageable risks, if your business is actively using cloud computing it’s likely you will be innovating too.

According to Fraser, 80 per cent of time spent on IT within any business is what he calls ‘keeping the lights on’ – making sure things are working, fixing people’s email troubles or password problems, that sort of thing.  The other 20 per cent goes on business management – or, put another way, asking questions like “could we run this business better if we used technology differently?”

There is an implication here, clearly, that the more time is taken up with the basics – password issues and the like – the harder it is going to be to become more innovative in your thinking and your processes.

Perhaps one goal for a business ought to be to measure the amount of time (and money) taken up by keeping the lights on, and trying to reduce it.

No one can force you to innovate, but it’s harder when you’re grappling with day-to-day problems.

Or are there other measures, or even other goals, that businesses should be aspiring to? If you’ve got an opinion on this topic, we would love to hear from you.

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