IT's Role in the Cloud Era
IT today is about integrating data and applications as opposed to hardware.
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Great having the opportunity to speak with Raj Sabhlok, president of ManageEngine and Zoho, during the ManageEngine user conference in Dallas. During his keynote, Raj shared his thoughts on how the role of IT has changed as enterprises move to the cloud.
The adoption of the cloud has spurred several other trends: 1) the integration of data and applications; 2) cybersecurity; 3) cloud-native software development; and, 4) systems of intelligence.
Integration of Data and Applications
IT used to focus on integrating infrastructure. Today, their focus is on integrating cloud applications and data. We live in an API-first world and API are the connectors for all of the application and data integration tools with iPaaS platforms like Zoho Flow to manage the APIs and assist with the integrations. In addition to integrating applications and data, IT is responsible for the seamless and secure experience with respect to Identity and Access Management (IAM) and directory services with appropriate roles and single-sign-on access for all business applications.
In the rush to get projects done, security is something that frequently gets overlooked, particularly when those projects don’t involve IT. Since GDPR and well-publicized hacks, security is now top of mind for everyone in the organization including investors and customers. IT needs to establish a consistent approach to security with regards to secure authentication, access control, audit, and compliance. This includes the ability to understand forensically what has happened when there was a breach – who did what, when and where. IT must be able to answer these questions for all endpoints, remote access, and devices. AD360 is an IAM solution for IT to manage user identities, govern access to resources, enforce security, and ensure compliance. Vulnerability Manager Plus detects vulnerability at endpoints – servers, desktops, and devices. If updates and patches are needed, they can be done automatically.
IT used to responsible for developing, managing, and maintaining software. With the proliferation of SaaS solutions, IT is freed up to take on many other responsibilities but they are also required to be more agile and responsive. This has resulted in the rise of Site Reliability Engineers (SREs), a discipline that incorporates aspects of software engineering and applies it to IT operations. The tools used by IT must integrate to keep up with the accelerated pace of operations. Legacy vendors and their point solutions will not last in the next evolution of monitoring since IT will refuse to manage haphazard integration projects.
Systems of Intelligence
Systems of intelligence are highly focused analytical systems intended to solve business challenges and objectives. Web, mobile, and chat interfaces are today’s systems of engagement. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) will give productivity gains, new layers of AI/ML provide new levels of intelligence and business insights. During the keynote, Raj introduced Zia, Zoho intelligent agent, which allows users to use natural language processing to enable chatbots for IT service management (ITSM), password management, and password resets.
Leading IT organizations will be defined by their expertise in addressing these critical requirements.
Following the keynote, I had the opportunity to have a one-on-one conversation with Raj:
How has the culture of IT changed?
Today, IT departments must incorporate cloud into security, analytics, and performance management. At a macro business level, we're seeing IT settling in on the notion that they’re directly tied to the fortunes of the business itself. IT is an important contributor to the digital transformation process. IT has more business ownership than at any time in the past.
What do high-performing IT organizations do differently?
Be willing to adapt to change, be agile. They are able to keep up with the breakneck pace that's being driven by technology. IT has to take more direct responsibility for the success and failure of the business. Every business is a technology business even if they are just marketing and generating leads online.
What do developers need to do to stay relevant in light of these changes?
Our products offer automation and the ability to optimize tech infrastructure it also offers best practices across many facets of the business. It’s in their interest to implement best practices for security, network management, performance management. Look at the tried and true things proven to work. It just makes sense to adopt best practices. We sell software and best practices. Best practices help you scale without having to reinvent the wheel. ServiceDesk is all about best practices and how to handle an incident, how to roll out major technology in the org, best practices in the organization, security
What do developers need to know about ManageEngine?
Over time many IT organizations have gone off and bought disparate applications for managing infrastructure. ManageEngine enables you to bring it back together with end-to-end IT management. We're a point product provider with an integrated solution without all the enterprise suck. We offer an environment for IT organizations to come with what they have or look at an entire IT management platform.
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