The IT Archipelago: Fragmentation Stressing the Enterprise

In July and August of 2016, VMware sponsored a survey of 600 senior IT and business executives across a variety of industries and companies spanning the Americas, EMEA, and Asia-Pacific. The survey, conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), uncovered troubling concerns regarding IT complexity and fragmentation across today’s enterprise.

The survey concluded that IT is no longer a centralized function but instead resembles a fragmented ‘archipelago’ spread across the enterprise. This dynamic is the result of market forces, as most new business initiatives have a technology component and the proliferation of tech across business units. According to the executives, this is driven by companies purchasing or developing a broad range  of IT technologies, especially their own devices and multiple cloud networks. Indeed, the survey revealed that a typical enterprise organization is now running, on average, 8 cloud services—private and public.

Consequently, according to the survey, IT staff feel they can’t move fast enough to support these increasing business demands. Three out of four IT executives note that decentralization is making IT’s job more challenging, and nearly 70 percent say that decentralization is increasing strain on IT personnel.

More Complexity, Higher Costs, Increased Vulnerabilities

The survey found increasing fragmentation and complexity of IT has caused stress across the enterprise. Two-thirds of IT executives believe that decentralization has raised IT costs for the firm, 60 percent believe that multiple, duplicative systems make cross-enterprise collaboration more challenging, and 66 percent believe that fragmentation of IT decision-making has increased the firm’s vulnerability to cyber-attacks. In a previous EIU survey of C-suite executives and security professionals, also sponsored by VMware, there was broad agreement that the most vulnerable areas to cyber-attack were directly related to this decentralization—specifically cloud services, BYOD, and threats from unknown new vulnerabilities created via this decentralization.

A Call to Executive Leadership

This IT archipelago describes a fragmented chain of independent IT functions emerging across today’s enterprise. Given that data security is a universal IT priority, the trend toward fragmentation deserves more scrutiny by executive leadership. Read the entire report from EIU to better understand why senior leaders need to better understand these dynamics in order to push for a new balance that combines the effectiveness of centralized IT control with the need for technological agility in the business.

Download the executive summary of the EIU’s research report, The IT Archipelago: The Decentralisation of Enterprise Technology, and explore the infographic below for further insights into how decentralization of technology is affecting business.eiu-vmware-multicloud-infographic-9-13-16