Hybrid IT: The crossroads of agility and governance

Don’t sacrifice the needs of the business by discarding a centralized IT model if governance and security are among your organizing principles.

“If you consider the needs of your internal customers, you move from a customer relationship to a true partnership very quickly.”

—Eric Johnson, CIO at Informatica

Debate persists in many organizations about IT operating models. The bottom line? Let your needs guide your way. Writing off centralized IT may seem empowering, especially if you have a beleaguered department perceived as old-fashioned or top-heavy. However, new integrated business service models may require you to sacrifice security and governance for agility.

IT continues to come under fire as a cost center, so you may be looking for novel ways to deliver greater value to your organization. “There are a lot of conversations taking place around the evolution of IT,” says Eric Johnson, CIO at Informatica. “We are rethinking where and how IT can provide the most value to the business.”

In fact, a recent Forrester Research report stated strides are being made in IT innovation. A new business operating model, which it calls integrated business services, is emerging with “persistent, small, multiskilled teams that drive and own business outcomes—integrating capabilities from multiple organizations' functions and processes.”1

Global priorities

Centralized IT may skew toward too much governance and can fail to meet the needs of the business. There are risks associated with an integrated business services model, however, as well.

“There needs to be a balance,” says Johnson. “There are some centralized IT services that need to be governed globally—services such as security and network management. And then there are services that are very region-specific that need to be managed locally.”

Johnson points to data privacy and security laws in the European Union and United States. He notes that these rules and regulations differ wildly from one region to another. “Not having a strong local IT presence in different geographies can cause significant challenges, especially if you’re trying to run IT from one central location. You risk overlooking the intricacies of what’s legally required in that particular geography.”

Let needs drive the organization

The solution, says Johnson, may be a hybrid model. For example, IT leaders would be wise to create a centralized IT model for activities such as security and network management. For more local concerns, such as data privacy, integrated business services is a good choice.

Either way, Johnson says the evolution of IT “is requiring CIOs to rethink their organizational structures and be creative in how they deliver services. This way, they’re meeting their customers’ needs both efficiently and cost effectively. It doesn’t happen overnight, but if you consider the needs of your internal customers, you move from a customer relationship to a true partnership very quickly.”

Read “Cloud Integration for Hybrid IT” to learn more about driving your business with a hybrid approach to IT.

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