I was lucky enough to participate in Ross Dawson’s Enterprise 2.0 Executive Forum earlier today and had the opportunity to discuss this question with a cross section of attendees – from CIOs to industry analysts.
This is an interesting issue to consider and I’ve come up with my Top 10 Challenges for IT departments around Enterprise 2.0. This is by no means an exhaustive list – it’s just my own perspective after a fascinating day thinking about Enterprise 2.0 in the light of my own experiences.
- Authentication & security – it is critical to understand the level of security required to protect corporate assets and to understand the cost/benefit equation around this area
- Business buy-in – without business buy-in and direction it is likely that Enterprise 2.0 will face an uphill struggle for adoption and perceived value
- Corporate data – protection of corporate data is necessary, as is a clear understanding of information that requires high levels of confidentiality and information which can be opened up at various levels; processes to manage this are key
- Cost/ROI – someone somewhere will want to know this and it can be a real challenge to retrofit this if it is not built into the implementation from the start for Enterprise 2.0 – an if the ROI is non financial then it’s best everyone knows this going into the deal.
- Production systems – how can production systems be protected from harm while simultaneously opening up other systems? This tension between secure, reliable and resilient core systems and a fungible set of morphing applications needs to be managed. Virtualisation can be of real benefit in solving this problem.
- Resources – if IT budgets keep getting cut who is going to manage all the new funky Enterprise 2.0 applications? This is where enterprise architecture and an understanding of the long term total cost of ownership really comes into play.
- SaaS – software as a service is both a risk and an opportunity for IT departments. On one hand it can ease pressure on IT department budgets and resources, but on the other it can cause integration and management problems (e.g. authentication can be a problem with externally hosted systems and single sign-on).
- Shadow IT department – this is the risk that business users don’t like the systems on offer via the IT department and use their corporate credit cards to access externally hosted applications (sometimes even putting core corporate data like financials at risk).
- Skills – the question of how an IT department with limited resources can keep skills up to date simultaneously with maintaining support for legacy systems can be a real challenge. I’m not even sure it is possible in the long run.
- Support – who is going to support all the legacy applications plus all the new Enterprise 2.0 applications? What levels of support can the IT department offer to users? How will it all be funded?