Businesses see availability management move away from IT

By Danny Palmer
13 Sep 2012 View Comments

Managing the availability of businesses' customer-facing online presence is moving away from IT departments and towards marketing. That is according to a newly released report commissioned by SunGard availability services.

Delivering the Available Enterprise examines the challenges businesses face when attempting to keep customers and information connected. It suggests consumer desire for instant availability of services, be it online or via a smartphone app, increasingly means marketing is taking control of this area.

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"Historically availability has been seen as the CIO's problem, or the IT department's problem," Professor Nelson Phillips of Imperial College London Business School and author of the report told Computing.

"But now increasingly the marketing and sales people are becoming more concerned because they're hearing their competitors can get it more quickly, or can get it in a better way. And now it's also becoming top down, so the board and the CEO are getting more interested in this as a strategic problem."

Citing well-publicised technical issues for NatWest and O2 earlier this year, when outages meant customers could not access their data, Professor Phillips suggested IT is becoming a companywide issue and is no longer the sole domain of IT departments.

"What you're seeing is almost split equally in terms of what different companies thought about who was responsible; the CIO, the CEO, the board, it was almost equally split. I think that's part of an ongoing rethink in companies about how strategic this is; it's not just a technical problem, it has really big strategic implications," he said.

"As that's happening, responsibility is moving out of IT and becoming a joint responsibility of all the board, depending on the structure of the company," Professor Phillips concluded.

SunGard European executive vice president Keith Tilley agreed with the findings, telling Computing that IT is becoming more of a business tool.

"It also goes to show that companies are recognising that it's more than just an IT issue. IT is definitely a tool we use, but availability is across the business," he said.

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