Digital Disruption and the Influx of Technology Changes Global Business: A Podcast With the EIU

In this second of a four-part podcast series, explore how business people are leveraging IT disruption to drive innovation and growth. 

“There is no part of the enterprise that is escaping this phenomenon,” says West Coghlan, senior technology editor for the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

Decentralization Drives Disruption

The phenomenon Coghlan refers to is the decentralization of IT across the enterprise. Lines of business are increasingly circumventing the IT department to buy and build their own apps, purchase cloud and SaaS services, and authorize devices. This influx of technology via business units is driving innovation and challenging traditional roles across the enterprise.

A new EIU report, sponsored by VMware, looks more closely at these changes. The EIU survey targeted 600 people, distributed equally across the Americas; Asia-Pacific; and Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA). All the respondents were at or above the director level, from companies with an average revenue of $2.1 billion, and representing 20 industries. Half of those surveyed were business users and half were IT professionals.

“The business users were very senior, director and above, heavy on the C-suite. These are decision-makers who are savvy about IT,” says Coghlan. “And we asked them if they are taking more control over IT decision-making and they said yes.”

Disruption Delivers Benefits

Although this shift in traditional roles is stressing IT, business users see this evolution as a positive change, citing three main reasons.

First, business users have expertise. They point to the fact that, when it comes to choosing the best solution, understanding the business is often more important than understanding the technology. “Frankly, software’s gotten easier,” says Coghlan. “And younger generations are more tech-savvy, too.”

Second, they want to choose and install the solutions they are going to work closely with. They want to be familiar with the technology on a firsthand basis.

Finally, many respondents note that the IT department doesn’t have the bandwidth to serve their needs, so business users—who don’t have time to wait—are doing it themselves. Technology is no longer relegated to the IT department and business users are capable of applying tech solutions to specific business needs.

Business users also cite the positive benefits that technology—such as new cloud applications, SaaS, and cloud service—bring in reacting to the market, improving productivity, and speeding up the delivery of products to the market. Listen to the podcast for a deeper understanding of the changes reinventing business around the globe.