IT, Integrations & Intricacy
By Amberly Dressler, Managing Editor
Nearly three-quarters of organizations do not have enough resources or staff to keep up with demand for information technology (IT) projects according to a recent Innotas survey (wsm.co/itpleas), which is a 61.3 percent increase from last year.
As Web professionals might imagine, there are plenty of people and products wanting to help specifically around getting one software system to talk to another.
While these numbers bode well for IT job security, it doesn't look good - nor is it to any enterprise's advantage - for projects to fail of which 55 percent of them do.
For Innotas, these survey results benefit what it's selling - project portfolio management - but it only takes minimal industry awareness to understand just how much pressure IT departments are under to make their brands more digital, and this is true regardless of where a company is in that process as software to sell more, personalize further, analyze deeper and optimize better becomes more accessible and appealing to all enterprises. Someone, however, has to manage all those integrations, licenses, relationships and more but don't expect the rate at which new technology is onboarded to slow down because of it.
The proliferation of software (most notably as a service) only stands to get more complex, according to Andrew Leigh, VP of marketing and alliances at Jitterbit who Website Magazine spoke with at NetSuite's annual conference.
This complexity is the reason, according to Leigh, why half of today's companies won't make the transformation to digital business because, in short, they can't connect the thousands of services they'll need to. Jitterbit has lived in that space for the last 10 years and with certifications for all the major applications, a repository of best practices and strategic relationships, it connects applications and websites to each other.
For instance, Skullcandy (a music accessories retailer) used Jitterbit to connect SAP By Design with Salesforce, Magento, SPS Commerce, Amazon, UPS and DHL. Think that's complex?
Going forward, Leigh believes there will be hundreds of applications within businesses that will need to be connected and disconnected to achieve business goals and those companies have to be able to do that without bringing IT in every time.
There is, of course, the worry from some that those integrations won't scale with the company using them, which is why companies like SAP Hybris, according to Johann Wrede, its global head of audience, brand and content marketing, take the position of offering a broad portfolio of solutions it can simplify and personalize to each company regardless of industry.
While the large, multifaceted software companies typically integrate with anyone (or at least try to) it's their common goal to be an enterprise's single vendor (even promising scalability), as can be seen in recent acquisitions (most notably Salesforce's pickup of Demandware for $2.8 billion). When that transition is made, however, it doesn't have to be a rip and replace, rather companies can slowly replace systems in one area like the front office, before moving on to the next. Wrede believes that, "by doing so, [companies] can shift their resources from integration work to innovation work."
All this can make anyone's head spin; the complexity and explosion of services and opinions about how those services should be managed to work independently or together, is why projects can fail and, well, IT can lag. Wrede makes a good point that IT was once structured for internal customers (accounting, finance, sales, human resources) and now chief information officers are serving the actual customers of their business, as these people demand intuitive e-commerce shopping experiences, expect questions asked over social media to be answered there while still being recognized as the same person on another channel and much, much more. What do marketers do? They turn to IT, but "in B2C the customer moves at warp speed," and IT has a difficult time keeping up.
This is why, says Wrede, there is a disconnect between vision and actual experience - just think about all the promises of omnichannel versus what happens out in the real world.
Clearly IT professionals need help to meet all the digital demands, but the options - go at it alone, use an integration vendor, move to an "all-in-one" suite or a hybrid approach - seem to be their only routes at this point and each have their pros and cons.