The Evolution of IT
Create value by integrating applications and data for the entire enterprise.
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It was great having the opportunity to speak with Rajesh Ganesan, Vice President of Product Management at ManageEngine, a division of Zoho, at their user conference in Dallas following his keynote on "Riding the Digital Transformation Wave."
Rajesh is a bit put off with the term "digital transformation" since businesses have always had to transform due to weather, culture, competition, and market factors. Business owners today see transformation being driven by technology and they look to their IT department to do the same for their business without identifying the business problem they're trying to solve, the customer need they're trying to fill, or how their business model needs to change. Technology is not a silver bullet though it can solve a lot of problems. However, the problems must first be defined.
Cell phones and mobile apps are an interesting model of evolution for every business owner to consider. They have gotten smaller and more powerful as they have fulfilled more customer needs replacing: cameras, video recorders, voice recorders, land-line phones, walkie-talkies, radios, portable music players, alarm clocks, watches, stopwatches, pedometers, calculators, flashlights, GPS, scanners, compasses, calendars, address books, notebooks, money, letters, and more. Using less energy, taking less space, easier to carry anywhere you are going thereby eliminating geographic boundaries. Cell phones are proof that technology enables new ways of doing business and meeting consumer needs.
I was surprised to learn the problems he's seeing with clients are pretty granular, but it's still their pain points - hiring, training, dealing with regulations and certifications, reducing the number of tickets that come through the help desk. Businesses know the importance of privacy, but employees don't want to take time from their jobs for security and privacy training.
“By 2020 25% of customer interactions will not involve a human” – Gartner
During his keynote, Rajesh announced the general availability of Zia, Zoho's AI assistant which can serve as a virtual IT support agent. Zia can triage trouble tickets, automatically resolve the 80% of issues that do not need to be escalated, and then route the 20% of tickets that need to be escalated to the appropriate IT service technician. Zia can also be programmed to remind employees not to open suspicious attachments or send or store customers' personally identifiable information in insecure places or modes of communication like chat tools.
I asked Rajesh what suggestions he has for the developer community during these times of tremendous change. He suggested developers take ownership for all of the change taking place and enjoy the new responsibilities as you are now in the middle of all the action and have access to all of the organization's data. Think like a developer, as well as an operations person, about how to integrate all of the data and applications in the enterprise to solve business problems.
As you are evaluating solutions, look for platforms that enable you to integrate all of your frameworks and tools with extensibility, scalability, and customizability. Look for low code options that will save you time.
Rajesh agrees that culture is a huge issue when it comes to a company transforming and thriving. From his perspective, culture is part of a company's DNA of which the foundation is its beliefs, convictions, and values. Tech problems are the easiest to solve in an organization, business problems are challenging to solve, but people problems are the hardest to solve. Rajesh believes in modeling the values, treat everyone as an individual helping them grow and evolve. Setting the right example and providing the right culture takes care of people problems. Employees feel more secure and trust their employer when they see how their colleagues are being treated.
As a lifelong IT professional, Rajesh sees IT at the forefront of all the action, and as a business, sees IT as always needing to reinvent itself. Traditionally IT was thought of as the back-end operation for other enterprise functions (i.e. technology enablers). Suddenly IT finds itself in the middle of all the action – with more influence, control, access to data, people, and business processes that govern how people access and use data. In addition, IT has the responsibility to 1) transform CX; 2) address business challenges (e.g. competitors); and, 3) respond to external factors (e.g. malware).
Rajesh outlined ways to unleash the potential of IT:
IT has to blend applications and data across the enterprise including R&D, operations, finance, and customer support teams. Questions need well-informed answers, bugs in software need to be fixed, customers may need bug fixes, tickets need to be triaged, prioritized, and addressed. IT has evolved from just keeping records to governing data for the entire enterprise.
ServiceDesk Analytics Plus helps IT blend data from multiple locations while providing out of the box support for several hundred third-party applications. IT is also able to discern user entity behavior analytics to reduce attack dwell times and manage internal attacks, account compromises, and data exfiltration with continuous and comprehensive behavior profiling. IT is able to move beyond helping with data queries to recommending actions.
Personal Data Protection
When IT has to go out of the way to protect personal and corporate data from flowing freely beyond boundaries, they need to strike the right balance between freedom and control allowing users to access corporate apps from any device and from any location yet exercise control over security and privacy of information. ManageEngine believes the best way to educate employees about privacy is by stopping people from doing what they are not supposed to do while they are doing it. Real-time, in situation learning, is more effective than training or videos. IT has moved from securing data on-premises to championing privacy and security throughout the enterprise.
Single Pane Control Center
When IT has to bring monitoring, detection, diagnosis, and remedial action together to empower response teams they need a single view of the situation so they can detect, respond to, and remediate IT issues before end users notice them. Multiple teams are able to log into ServiceDesk Plus to collaborate and solve problems.
When IT has to deliver a first-class UX to all customers, they can receive contextual recommendations on how to improve with the Zia technology that is built into ServiceDesk Plus. When someone submits a ticket, Zia is able to determine if it violates an SLA and who should work on
By enabling with Zia chatbot IT can also receive recommendations to improve the ability of operations based on deep learning. Every department in the organization is able to use its own language and it can be customized using natural language processing so IT moves from contributing value to creating value for the organization. IT can now own the end-to-end experience of their customers.
Between the keynote and the one-on-one interview, Rajesh provides a lot of insights. Here are the keys I took away on the changing role of IT.
IT is moving from > to:
- Keeping records > building an integrated approach to data > to governing data
- Helping with data queries > discovering the meaning in data > to recommending actions
- Securing data > cultivating a private data culture > to championing privacy
- Implementing processes > creating a highly responsive system > to designing process flows
- Building a network > closing the gap between stakeholders > to building relationships
- Contributing value > owning the end-to-end experience > to creating value
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