Industry Updates

Where does the budget for technology lie?

31 Jul 2014

The growing trend towards consumerisation of IT means that former IT responsibilities are now falling into the hands of others, with business managers slowly acquiring more control of technology budgets. Gartner predicts  that by 2017, Chief Marketing Officers will have a higher budget for new IT spend than most CIOs.

In the past, IT controlled all technology spend because it was seemingly complex and technical, says Richard Henn, CEO of Kathea, the master distributor of Polycom for South Africa. Discussions were about speeds & feeds and bits & bytes, and very little to do with hardcore business outcomes. 

The first battle that IT lost was when the iPad was introduced by Apple. This was the true beginning of the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) phenomenon. This tablet brought about a revolution of sorts and a shift in power from the traditional IT gatekeeper to the senior Line of Business (LOB) executive. These execs demanded access to company email and other corporate applications on their personal devices.  IT had little choice but to concede.

While corporate applications like email made their way onto our personal devices, the trend soon moved the other way. Consumer applications like YouTube forced their way into our work environment. These devices have excellent processing power, high speed internet connections, high definition screens and a front facing camera, so it did not take long before the IT department was flooded with demands for corporate collaboration tools, such as video, to be made available on the iPad. This drive from connected smart devices spilled over to desktop video applications, which in turn drove greater demand for room based video conferencing.

Instead of trying to hold back the tide, bold CIO’s need to make the move towards open standards in an attempt to cater for the wide range of vendors pushing applications onto their network. However, CIOs need to stand firm against pressure from client facing LOB executives who may have a hundred varying ideas;  CIO’s need to adopt a standard, and implement a roadmap which takes into account the desires of the client facing decision makers. In this way they can channel multiple sources of dispersed budget back under their guidance, they can cater for these demands, but in a controlled environment, as they will ultimately be held responsible for the maintenance and support of these applications.

As video commoditises further and the barriers to entry of high prices decrease, CIOs will continue to come under greater pressure to support every latest disruptive technology, no matter how immature.

While senior executives will continue to push their own choice of technology and budget allocation with give them ever increasing control, access to the network will always remain the responsibility of the CIO.

About Kathea

Kathea is South Africa’s most established and respected visual collaboration specialist provider, with a history that extends back to 1996, when the first seeds of interactive video conferencing were conceived. Kathea is the master distributor of Polycom in Southern Africa and the only provider offering the full range of Polycom solutions.Kathea is a leader in innovation and their success is reflected by the caliber of their customers, who include SME’s, public sector organisations and more than 90% of South Africa’s Top 40 listed companies.
Bianca Gardella
071 350 2478