SAN FRANCISCO -- 2013 is pegged to be a major transitional year for IT when it comes to understanding how the cloud and big data (and everything related) will be shaped for the enterprise.
But certainly there are a few hurdles to jump over first. Analysts from Forrester and Enterprise Strategy Group addressed a few of the biggest ones during a panel discussion at Egnyte Firestorm on Wednesday morning.
Probably the biggest problem (or at least the loudest complaint) is that, in general, IT has arguably not been very fast when it comes to responding to new use cases.
Ted Schadler, a principal analyst covering CIO Professionals at Forrester, suggested that IT struggles for two important reasons: they're really busy, and they're making the transition for being responsible for deployment to working with a set of partners.
"It's a cultural transition to make, and suppliers need to step up and say they're willing to do that," said Schadler.
For example, one big piece of advice that Schadler said he emphasizes to CIOs is to not buy licenses for enterprise software but to now buy subscriptions instead for items such as hybrid cloud and Software-as-a-Service solutions.
Enterprise Strategy Group senior analyst Terri McClure commented that the cloud storage space is "certainly a market where we're seeing a tremendous influence" from employees (rather than IT departments themselves) on technology spend and adoption.
Due to that, McClure quipped that "it's a bit of wild west out there" about where data is going and being shared.
ESG surveys enterprise IT departments annually about where their budgets are going, and McClure cited that the most recent figure saw an uptick to 36 percent of yearly budgets being dedicated to new initiatives. Essentially, that consists of things such as new cloud deployments as well as addressing trends such as personal devices in the workplace.
McClure affirmed that "it's great to see the numbers moving in the right direction," but she stipulated that it's obvious that IT is being very picky in where they invest for new projects.
"The impatience we're seeing with IT's user base is democratization and pressure on IT to move quicker," McClure explained. "There's too much available to do outside of IT to wait for IT."
Schadler reflected that we should actually be happy that employees have not only figured out what solutions they want, but also that they have figured out what their requirements are, and that they've actually picked a supplier.
However, Schadler acknowledged it's that last part that makes IT uncomfortable because whatever employees picked might not serve business needs.
Thus, he continued, it's that third step in the process where IT needs to get involved with a business-ready alternative to the consumer solution. At the same time, IT needs to ensure that whatever they respond to employees with can run across all mobile devices and be readily available.
Otherwise, he warned, it's an uphill battle.
"Looking at this systemically, let's embrace it because employees are not doing it for the love of gadgets," Schadler remarked. "They're doing it to get work done."