Well, maybe hate is a strong word. I like IT. On some level, I actually consider myself IT. I got my first computer in 1980, and it was a PET Computer. My mom got it when she took a computer class at the local college. The picture to the left doesn’t do it great justice, because it is missing the sweet cassette drive where the data was stored. Within a few days of the computer’s appearance in my home I was able to scroll my name across the screen, and I hacked the space invaders game that came with it. My hacking resulting in making “my guy” invincible to the enemy’s bullets (Don’t know why I did that, because it really made the game no fun). Cassette drives and space invaders aside, technology has come a long way. Therefore IT (better known as Information Technology) has come a long way within businesses. My concern is as end users we may get what we ask for, which is less IT. Because I deal exclusively in Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) or web-based technology, one of the quickest and most positive reactions I get from accountants when trying to automate their AP and payment processes is to the statement, “IT will not be involved in the implementation”. I was again struck by this no IT notion when I recently read an article called, “Cloud decisions are no longer in the IT department’s hands – the suits have taken over” The article states, “In the UK, (because it was a UK-based study) business units make decisions on cloud 45 percent of the time, in comparison to IT with 44 percent and third parties with 11 percent.” However, the quote and article is only half of the story. It was the responses to the online article that I found interesting, and they were none too happy about the “suits taking over”. Here are a few highlights:
Then they can handle all the support too just like their BYOD devices that they bring in all broken and infected that they expected fixed for free because “they use it for work”
The suits have always made stupid decisions that the IT department is thence made responsible to fix and support, no matter how idiotic or inappropriate that decision may have been
In the spirit of “where is this all going”, I must say that even though this trend seems like it is ANTI-IT, I very much believe the real result of this trend will help IT concentrate on other issues that cloud-based software can’t solve. That’s why using the cloud for automating the accounts payable or payment process is a wise choice, because automating a process is something that works well in the cloud. One of the big things to keep in mind when automating the process and using Software as a Service is the service piece. Too often the service side of Software-as-a-Service is forgotten or misunderstood because there is so much emphasis on the bells and whistles (i.e. Software).
In my book, “The Argument to Automate” I spend a lot of time giving a perspective on how to evaluate the service side. Here are a few ideas:
(1) Know your “New Time” number – that’s the amount of time that is freed up when automating a process
(2) Do both kinds of references – the ones the service provider gives you and the ones you find on your own
(3) Know you ROI, without a solid Return on Investment that is based on the service, the software is going to be a pure expense