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A CTO's global test drive

A challenge keeps cropping up each time Suhas Kelkar has to work in an offshore office of BMC.

"Where are the meeting rooms, where are the printers? What is the wi-fi setting?" says Kelkar, Asia Pacific chief technology officer for the software company and head of its global incubation team.

"These are common IT challenges employees face because they are now becoming more and more mobile," says Kelkar.

Mining his experience and those of his IT colleagues, BMC's global incubation team took on this issue. Kelkar says the team also factored in what he calls a "collision path" between enterprise IT users and the evolution of IT services they use.

People are bringing their expectations of consumer technology into enterprise IT, he says. "Enterprise IT is struggling to keep up with those expectations."

This is confirmed by Joe Pucciarelli, vice president and IT executive advisor at IDC, who says the best consumer IT companies have taught people to expect a lot from their IT experience. But much of that is lost as companies strive to balance access with risk, and often without adequate resources.

"What employees receive instead is often compromised in comparison to what they have in their personal lives," says Pucciarelli. This results in an "IT friction" which he says can add up to 20 percent of employee workload.

The incubation group at BMC worked on what it calls MyIT app which Kelkar says is now on a 'test drive' with his team, and then to the company's 6000 IT staff across the globe before the year end. Commercial customers will be able to obtain it in April 2013.

He says the app is highly personalised, location aware and "smart enough to know" what solutions are needed by the individual user. "They don't feel they are not leaving the consumer world."

He says merging the two processes is like "giving a facelift to enterprise IT".

Kelkar says for the past 10 to 15 years, the company has been working on "industrialising the back end" of IT, standardising and automating IT practices.

"What we recognise in recent years is that we also now have to focus on the front end, the end users, because that is where the consumerisation of IT is happening."

"Employees want IT organisations that provide a modern 'store front' for IT services and information delivery and a 'genius bar' ability to manage and control the IT services and information they need to do their jobs. IT organisations must respond to this change," he says.

Kelkar says the uptake of mobile devices has highlighted this trend. "Everyone is adding more devices to their lives, and they all want to bring these into their work life. It is putting a lot of pressure on CIOs around the world" to meet these user expectations.

"It is consumerising the front end for enterprise IT, he says. "Most organisations are struggling and trying to do something in this space," says Kelkar.

As an early user of MyIT, he says that whenever he walks into any BMC office across the globe, the wi-fi configuration and local office map get pushed out to him. The configuration of the local printer is also done automatically.

In the past, he says, he has to request for a service as simple as setting the wi-fi or printer.


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