Tech Procurement Roles Evolve as 3rd Platform Adoption Surges

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The FINANCIAL — Over 60% of Gulf-based CIOs now believe their IT functions are well aligned with the aims of the broader business, but an interesting shift is underway in the procurement of transformative 3rd-Platform technologies including cloud, mobile, social media, and big data analytics, with line-of-business heads increasingly becoming involved in the final decision.

This is according to the findings from IDC’s latest annual CIO Summit Survey, which this year focused on the investment priorities of IT leaders in the Gulf and sought their views on the challenges they face in relation to 3rd-Platform adoption.

The 2015 edition of the consulting company’s flagship Middle East CIO Summit ran under the theme “When IT Meets Business”, and this concept was a prominent feature of the accompanying survey, with IDC questioning more than 200 of the region’s most prominent IT executives on their relationships with line-of-business leaders across their organizations. Their answers suggest that an evolution is taking place in the roles played by IT and other departments as the boundaries that traditionally separate them begin to blur. 

“While IT departments typically remain in charge of procuring 3rd-Platform technologies, line-of-business leaders are playing an increasingly active role in the process, with CFOs and CMOs, in particular, becoming key influencers,” says Megha Kumar, senior research manager for software at IDC Middle East, Africa, and Turkey. “Social media and big data analytics are the main areas in which lines of business either procure solutions or heavily influence the final decision, while our survey also showed that they are most likely to procure solutions based in public clouds, as these technologies require little or no IT involvement.”

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The majority of the CIOs surveyed perceive their most critical challenges to be around IT governance, risk, and compliance (GRC), which has become increasingly complicated due to the recent proliferation of devices, applications, and regulations. Adding to the complexity of GRC is the prevalence of shadow IT, when businesses seek out their own technology solutions without involving the IT department. This phenomenon has become increasingly common as 3rd-Platform uptake rises across the region, with almost 50% of CIOs now either aware that shadow IT exists in their organizations or believing that it does.

“Shadow IT creates major compliance and security challenges for the CIO, and in order to avoid these issues it is critical for IT departments to align closely with the lines of business,” says Kumar. “As such, it is becoming increasingly important for CIOs and their IT teams to develop an in-depth understanding of other departments’ operations, as this approach facilitates more practical and holistic procurement strategies that both bridge the needs of business and IT and enhance the functionality of the overall organization.”


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