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IT risk: Does the "need for speed" increase risk, or can it paradoxically reduce it?


By: Ben Lovejoy


IT has never been a more pressured environment. Not only is technology central to the way almost every business interacts with its customers, but "speed to market" is a key focus. When facing demands to deliver solutions faster than ever, is IT risk bound to rise? Or can operating at a faster pace paradoxically reduce the risk of solutions that fail to deliver the promised benefits?


It might seem like a crazy question. IT has traditionally been conservative by nature: When your work underpins almost everything your organization does, you want to take the time to study, analyze, consider and plan. Evaluate options. Examine alternatives. Create contingency plans. Take a studied, methodical approach.


A hybrid approach to IT means an agile IT

The idea of rushing is one that horrifies the traditional CIO, their mind filled with visions of all the things that could go wrong — from bug-ridden software to insufficient bandwidth to an inadequate backup regime. They associate haste with carelessness, time pressure with IT risk.


Agile IT

The Agile Manifesto challenged that thinking, arguing that a more flexible, iterative and collaborative approach not only delivered faster results, but also higher-quality software and improved customer satisfaction. The old approach was to try to pull together all the requirements up front, produce documents that outlined the approach and proposed results, get approval and work in hierarchical teams using established processes to ultimately deliver the finished product. The emergence of agile software development showed that with the right approach, speed needn't equal lower-quality, less-secure deliverables.


The reality is that most organizations have found that a hybrid approach works best, incorporating the best of both methods. But the value of adopting that new hybrid approach has been thoroughly demonstrated through reduced costs, increased client satisfaction and ultimately, better delivery on business objectives.


A hybrid approach

Today, we're seeing a similar transformation in infrastructure. In the old model, we attempted to predict in advance how the needs of the business were likely to evolve over time, knowing there would be a substantial time lag between speccing up the requirements and having the capacity in place. If the assumptions of the business were wrong, or the market changed too rapidly, all that careful planning could fail to deliver what actually turned out to be needed.


The most forward-thinking CIOs take a similar hybrid approach to infrastructure as they do to software development. They probably still have some fixed capacity on long-term lease, but retain the flexibility to buy-in services on an as-needed basis, be that in traditional data centers, cloud services or some mix of the two. When circumstances change, they can respond quickly and easily.


The benefit is the same as that delivered by incorporating agile development techniques: an end result better tailored to the changing needs of the business, delivered faster.


No large organization threw away its established processes when agile development came along, but no successful one ignored the benefits of adopting the best of both worlds. That's a lesson being learned in infrastructure today.


IT infrastructure should play a pivotal role in delivering the responsive services and positive experiences demanded by the enterprise—serving as a bridge to a new style of business that integrates cloud, mobility, big data, and security.


For more information, check out this eBook to discover how to quickly fill the gap between end-user needs and business requirements.


How a user-centric infrastructure boosts employee productivity and customer experience



About the author

Ben LovejoyBen Lovejoy


Ben Lovejoy is EU Editor of 9to5Mac and 9to5Google and a freelance tech writer whose published credits include the Guardian, the Telegraph, the Sunday Times, the Express, and many regional newspapers. He's written for more than 30 computer & technology magazines, as well as numerous businesses, websites, and corporate clients.

About the author

Connect with Ben:

 Follow me on Twitter @benlovejoy

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Rafael Junqueira

I really enjoy the hybrid solutions, and I believe the key is " ... with the right approach, speed needn't equal lower-quality, less-secure deliverables." ;-)

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