As the CIO of one of the “Big Four” accountancy firms, Matt Peers has to look out for the interests of Deloitte’s employees, as well as its clients.
Peers told Computing that Deloitte’s customers have been taking security increasingly seriously, and have been asking Deloitte to tailor solutions for them. And the firm has adopted a flexible approach to security, rather than make an effort to lock down an enterprise to the point that productivity drops.
“My team is set up in a way that we do a lot of things in security, but what we’re not able to do is just give clients a complete overview of what we do.
“We are quite malleable, but it is impossible to replicate the model of flexibility across thousands of clients,” Peers said.
“So we try to strike a balance of ensuring that there is usability in the right places, because people don’t want Big Brother watching them on their laptops – so we have certain technologies that we’re running on our machines that monitor activity, but you can’t have that stopping people from serving clients or making them unproductive,” he said.
Alongside security and flexibility, Peers said that all new IT solutions need to incorporate simplicity and should be easy to use.
“I can’t put solutions in place that rely on just one or two individuals in the IT function, I have to put something in place that can be supported by any person on any day because our business is 24 by seven,” he said.
Some businesses, Peers said, “get excited about having lots of apps” but only use a very small number of them. He compared enterprises that create too many apps for mobile devices to those who added unnecessary applications to big back-end systems in years past.
For Deloitte, he said, the right app strategy is not to be “mobile first”, but “mobile aware”.
Peers has also found a workaround for problems with developing apps for iOS, although he believes it is a problem that Apple has worked on fixing itself.
“Apps should be written in HTML5 so that they can work on any device and on a web browser. I also think that the changes that have been made since iOS 7 was launched make a lot of app development simpler; there are a number of incremental features available that will make development in that space easier for people who are doing native development on those devices,” he said.
Peers added that the best example of an internal app that Deloitte has developed is one that isn’t based on HTML5, but works both online and offline.
“We did extensive research when we launched our reporting app to understand when people would want to complete their timesheet information, and what we found was that people would be doing it in a taxi or on the Underground or on a plane, so we made an app available offline,” he said.
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