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[August 03, 2014]
IT officers facing key industry challenges [Gulf Daily News (Bahrain)]
(Gulf Daily News (Bahrain) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) MANAMA: As many businesses in Bahrain target not just regional but global growth, technology is playing a larger role than ever in advancing these organisational aspirations.
Business Monitor International forecasts the total size of the Bahrain's IT market to grow by 3.2 per cent to $358 million this year, up from an estimated $347m last year.
In this scenario, the role of the chief information technology officer in Bahrain has become increasingly important. But this role has changed fundamentally over the past decade.
In an era of cloud computing, big data and increasing dominance of mobile devices, the way an organisation interacts with IT is now very different.
According to Gartner, the last 10 years have seen IT change from the department that takes care of technology to support the business, to an era where the chief information technology officer is increasingly expected to play a key role in achieving competitive advantage.
The research company said while in the past, the chief information technology officer's role was primarily to run the IT organisation, in the future, it will be to ensure that the enterprise, as a whole, achieves strategic value from the use of technology and information.
Data management solutions vendor CommVault Mena's senior technical account manager Allen Mitchell said a key component of the new chief information technology officer's role is the ability to proactively encourage the business to embrace innovation at a time of fundamental technology change that is creating significant upheaval and disruption.
"How can an organisation exploit new social network models, ubiquitous broadband and limitless storage? "What is the best way of using the plethora of new devices to improve productivity and performance - both within the organisation and through collaboration with business partners? "How can a data driven organisation transparently share data and ensure self-service access for every employee? "And, critically, how can innovation and collaboration be achieved without compromising essential compliance requirements? "One thing is clear: the next generation digital business is completely dependent upon and enabled by real time, anywhere access to high quality information.
"Organisations cannot achieve innovation and competitive differentiation without IT; but to understand the true potential and opportunities requires a complete, accurate and end-to-end view of information and processes throughout the enterprise," he added.
The chief information technology officer is in an excellent position to identify and create value from enterprise-wide synergies in these areas.
But before any chief information technology officer can go to the business with ideas for innovation that will deliver competitive advantage, the underpinning data infrastructure has to be in place.
And that requires a very different approach.
In the past, IT was doing its job if systems were running well across all locations - timely backups were taken and data stored securely on disk.
Gradually, this evolved to a centralised strategy where IT exploited more sophisticated and efficient storage to migrate data to central locations and impose greater control.
This is no longer good enough: IT needs to ensure that all end users - and increasingly business partners - can not only access data efficiently but also collaborate with that information in real time.
From the construction workers requiring real-time access to 3D models on their tablets whilst on site, to the rescue workers relying upon accurate geographical data when responding to an emergency, fast access to trusted, accurate information is key, Mitchell said.
This fundamental reliance upon real-time, anywhere access to information via a huge diversity of devices, combined with the pressing requirement for innovation, changes the emphasis for the officers and IT department.
Ten years ago, the chief information technology officer was reactive, responding to demands from the business to determine ongoing strategy.
Today that role has changed fundamentally: successful chief information technology officers are increasingly adopting a consultative approach, proactively engaging with and educating the business to demonstrate opportunities for competitive differentiation enabled by the digital economy.
(c) 2014 Al Hilal Publishing & Marketing Group Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc. (Syndigate.info).
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