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The Rise of Employee Self-Service Data – and IT’s New Role, Part II

The Rise of Employee Self-Service Data – and IT’s New Role, Part II

September 30, 2014 0 Comments

As mentioned in my first post, we’re exploring the 2 critical things holding businesses back from exploiting the power of big data.

Up first is data management.

Throughout the 80’s up until fairly recently, the role of IT in most large and mid-sized organizations was fairly well established. IT served as the gatekeeper of business data. This was Enterprise 1.0. The development and deployment of new systems typically involved IT from the get-go. Things like ERP, CRM and BI systems took eons to develop and deploy – and the reception from users was often tepid (at best). IT was intimately involved in every aspect – from software installation and basic troubleshooting to building custom reports and installing ETL tools  – it’s no surprise that everyone was concerned with bottleneck issues. The marketing analyst or customer support team member didn’t have the tech prowess to do even basic code generation and they certainly didn’t understand the concept of a database schema!

2 things happened that forever changed this frustrating scenario:

  • Lines of business got tech-ucated -- As consumer technology advanced from car phones in the 80’s to cell phones in the early 2000’s and finally the application-centric smart phones of today, users were all of a sudden able to speak IT’s language and in some cases actually do basic development and deployment.
  • Enterprise data analysis tools hit the big time – No matter how savvy today’s sales operations user is, she wouldn’t likely be interested in manually extracting information from a database or data warehouse using a tool forced on her because it’s the only one available. All the while worrying she’s going to accidentally bring down the system because she hit 0 instead of 1.

Today’s data visualization and analysis tools have improved by orders of magnitude on several fronts. They’re cheaper, easier to use and there’s a lot of them from which to choose (cloud, SaaS, open-source, etc.). The result? A more autonomous line of business user who achieves deployment nirvana almost instantaneously. Add to that a surge of open API’s, employees can now access, interpret and act upon terabytes of information in seconds, not days (or months).

These change agent technologies are causing a shift in IT’s role. No longer bogged down with the “simple” data-related backlog, there’s now time to conquer the bigger challenges, including enabling ESS within the organization while concurrently preserving security and availability of essential enterprise data and systems.

Tune in next week as we tackle the 2nd big issue with self-service IT: raising data-empowered employees through data discovery and employee empowerment.

Adam Breakey

View all posts from Adam Breakey on the Progress blog. Connect with us about all things application development and deployment, data integration and digital business.

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