How has SaaS transformed the role of Enterprise IT?
According to a recent Salesforce report, 71 percent of enterprise IT teams are transforming from “a technology-providing cost center to a value-based service brokerage.”
What does that mean exactly?
For starters, the IT department of the past was very much a reactionary operation. That’s not to say that IT teams were always playing catch up, but actually the opposite: The rate of technological change even just a decade ago was far less aggressive than it is today. As a result, teams had a fairly predictable list of problems and solutions that they’d deploy as-needed.
Often, IT would work with the business to decide on software and then implement it, not expecting to switch or change solutions save for a few product updates from time to time. Nutshell: Managing enterprise IT was simply more predictable, even just a decade ago.
Today, not so much.
Modern enterprise IT faces a wealth of challenges that have fundamentally changed the department’s marching orders. Now, teams have to be far more strategic, as a constantly evolving slate of network technologies are relied upon to prop up the business. Modern IT teams are now literally tasked with supporting the infrastructure that drives corporate success, and simply playing a reactionary role when so much is at stake could set the entire business up for failure.
Adding to that is the rise of SaaS and, in tandem, the concept of Shadow IT. Now, an increasingly tech-savvy workforce is less adherent to corporate policy and are increasingly “going rogue” with the tech they employ on the enterprise network. This is, in part, due to the ease at which new applications can be purchased and put into practice with no more than a web browser. Where enterprise IT historically played gatekeeper to all of the software and solutions that leveraged network capacity, teams now need to put strategies in place that keeps users satisfied and secure in spite of new tech.
While this has called for enterprise IT to themselves employ a wealth of new network monitoring and management tools to keep pace and plan ahead, the changes go beyond tech.
Here’s a rundown on some of the day-to-day changes impacting enterprise IT teams:
1. More cross-departmental collaboration
While many late-90s stereotypes of the office IT team depict these departments as insular and territorial, today’s IT needs to work closely with different lines of business to find the best technology solutions for their needs. While IT teams may continue building some of their own software and managing their own applications, they also need to get consensus from different departments about the critical SaaS technologies they should leverage from vendors. From there, IT needs to make sure they are beefing up their network infrastructure to support these tools and ensure end-user satisfaction.
2. Less control of the budget
SaaS budgets are now largely within the purview of each department at the business, not just IT. It’s increasingly on IT to work between departments to make sure there aren’t redundancies, for instance, in the capabilities of different SaaS tools that are employed between different departments, as well as unused licenses that could be used elsewhere. Rather than dictating budget outright, IT now has to be the bridge between areas of the business where SaaS spend could be needlessly uncoordinated, adding a new dimension to the job that didn’t exist in the pre-SaaS days.
3. More teaching and enforcement
One of the beautiful things about SaaS apps is that they can be setup with just a few clicks and require only network connectivity to run. And with departmental managers having authority to choose the apps their teams use day-to-day, it’s no longer on IT to “set up” all the new software employees require for them.
To that end, when issues take place with a program that land on the SaaS provider and not the enterprise network, it’s on that vendor to provide quick resolution, and on enterprise IT to pinpoint the fault owner for the issue and ring the alarm as soon as they can.
That means that in the absence of having complete control over the tools and workflows employees bring onto the network, enterprise IT needs to employ solutions that give them greater visibility into what these tools are and how they leverage network capacity. By being able to actively and passively monitor all traffic across the entire app delivery path (alongside having the ability to pinpoint the traffic type and users), enterprise IT can stay ahead of potential performance issues before they impact end users.