Are IT Users Driving Anarchy or Progress?

Avaya GM tells Interop that the collaboration and virtualization technologies can give CIO's their jobs back.

By Sean Michael Kerner | Posted May 11, 2011
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LAS VEGAS. The consumerization of IT is a hot topic at the Interop conference this year. Steve Bandrowczak Vice President and General Manager at Avaya Data Solutions delivered a keynote address here today giving his view on the topic. Bandrowczak's background is 20 years of experience as a CIO, a job that in his view is changing due to users and that consumerization of IT.

"IT today is a technocracy," Bandrowczak said.

He defined technocracy as a system of governance where those who have knowledge, expertise or skills compose the governing body. Bandrowczak added that in many organizations, management views IT as a tax. The challenge in his view is for IT to become a unit that delivers value, which is increasing difficult it today's environment.

"Our users today are driving more of the IT decisions," Bandrowczak said. "Is this anarchy or it progress?"

Bandrowczak said that as a CIO he used to have big training programs for users to figure out how to use applications.

"Now our end users go home sign up for a service like Google Apps in two minutes," Bandrowczak said. "Where is the user manual, the training and the testing? Reality is that things are changing."

With communities like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIN, Bandrowczak commented that they are fantastic knowledge bases, but how do link to security and policy?

"You need to embrace it and you need to adopt, adjust and bring value to those trends," Bandrowczak said. "You need to wake up and understand what's going on."

Bandrowczak added that enterprises need to leverage what they do understand and centralize technology, pulling it into their own infrastructure. Those social and collaborative technologies should then be federated to enable interoperability with enterprise systems.

"We need to deliver to an end user in the way they want to communicate," Bandrowczak said. "You need to make sure it's results driven, you have opportunity to drive productivity and to drive revenue if you embrace collaboration and tie to backend business processes."

From a product perspective, Bandrowczak highlighted Avaya's Flare system as one such technology that can help with that process.

"You can change from being the IT tax and that changes the game," Bandrowczak said. "IT that embraces collaboration will be the IT organization of yes and CIO will stand for Chief Information Officer, once again."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.

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