A Regional Look at How IT Decentralization Is Shaping Business: A Podcast With the EIU

In this final of a four-part podcast series, explore the regional differences arising from IT decentralization.

New research sponsored by VMware and conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) reveals that tech-savvy business users worldwide are increasingly buying, managing, and deploying their own tech solutions without going through the IT department. This decentralization of technology is delivering business value but stressing overwhelmed IT departments.

“What we’re describing here is the long-standing dispersal of IT decision-making and power across the organization,” says West Coghlan, senior technology editor for the EIU. “In order to stay competitive, business users are taking IT into their own hands and setting up their own mini IT shops.”

Asian Growth Stresses IT Departments

Decentralization is taking place most quickly in Asia. The region’s strong growth coupled with a comparatively small number of schools producing qualified candidates means a more acute shortage of skilled IT professionals than other regions. Business users are building or buying their own tech out of necessity.

“Decentralization is putting extreme stress on IT departments across the globe,” says Coghlan. However, the findings indicate that Asian IT departments are feeling the most stress and pain.”

Europe Focuses on Security

Cyber security is a universal problem, but the data shows that Europe is the region most focused on security issues.

“It’s the Europeans who have the most anxiety about this,” says Coghlan.

IT departments everywhere are worried about how best to secure a decentralized IT environment, but the research shows Europeans are the most fixated on cyber security.

One reason for this may be because European IT departments are also the most concentrated on empowering business units to adopt their own tech. In Europe, these collaborations are often forged over common standards and security, highlighting the heightened emphasis on cyber security.

Americas Setting the Pace

The Americas are moving at a steady pace toward decentralization, and although IT departments are experiencing the same pain points, the effect of decentralization on the Americas seems less severe than on other regions.

“The dynamics aren’t different,” says Coghlan, “but the United States, in particular, has a broader base of people to work on this problem.”

Still, Coghlan emphasized, this dynamic is stressing IT departments in the Americas, too. For IT departments, the decentralization of technology in the enterprise doesn’t reduce workloads but rather quadruples or quintuples the amount of work that needs to be done.

A Way Forward

Competitive pressures outside of the firm will continue to make products and services more interwoven with technology in the future. Decentralization is changing how business gets done, and while this presents a number of business challenges, it simultaneously paves the way for innovation.

Listen to the podcast “Digital Disruption: A Global Trend With Regional Differences” to learn more about what‘s driving IT decentralization and what businesses can do about it.