Analysis / Dave Baxter: IT Transformation raises some interesting questions for businesses’ IT

Dave Baxter: IT Transformation raises some interesting questions for businesses’ IT

If you have a question, there’s probably a conference designed to answer it.

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In the past year I have attended events on a slew of different topics: marketing, agriculture, business turnaround and even the future of the fingerprint scanner have all been addressed, debated and mulled over in front of me.

And though they may vary in quality, conferences can be a great chance for industry experts to come together, share their problems and discuss the future.

This was the case at yesterday’s IT Transformation conference, hosted and covered by the people behind Business Technology.

For our team of journalists, it meant a day of tireless live blogging, the results of which can be found on our site. We’re now packing away the iPads and mulling over a few of the key insights.

The highlights include department heads looking to drag newspapers into the 21st Century, some stark warnings about the “average” IT specialists capable of conducting the kind of leaks which made Edward Snowden famous, and an insurance CIO who laments that poor IT had been slowly but surely “choking” his business.

Discussions held both on the stage and behind the scenes will likely remind IT heads how much of a “make or break” element has been added to their job over recent years. While good IT can help revolutionise how a business operates, making it wildly successful, companies can be ruined by the threats now lurking in the shadows.

The security question is difficult to ignore. Firms can run operations more cheaply and efficiently by putting them in the cloud, but critical data or infrastructure can be lost if a cloud system is insecure or unreliable, or if the cloud provider fails and can no longer run its services.

Similarly, letting employees use their own devices at work can give a shot in the arm to productivity, but it means valuable data is at greater risk of theft.

More importantly, swift advances in technology mean industries are rapidly, and constantly, evolving. For an agile business able to make changes, this is an opportunity to stay ahead of the curve and conquer its market.

For others, the competition is fiercer than ever. Keeping up with the technology is more important than ever before, if only to survive. And continuing to mull over those important questions is vital.

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