IT is accustomed to mediating the conflict between accessibility and security. But the pressure from both sides is about to get more intense: Emerging technologies like SaaS (software as a service) and enterprise mashups are smashing traditional barriers, while scrutiny from regulators, auditors and compliance officers is getting more relentless. Our big challenge for 2007: Implement strategies to protect data without choking off business processes.
New software technologies are making that job harder. If your organization isn't yet investigating SaaS, for example, it likely will be. Thirty-nine percent of very large enterprises already use SaaS, according to Forrester, while 24 percent of large enterprises and 22 percent of midsize companies use or are interested in the strategy (see "SaaS Adoption Rates by IT Dept. Size" below, left). And, vendors are working to let even the smallest organizations get in on the fun.
Meanwhile, Web 2.0 technologies like mashups draw business users like moths to a flame. IBM created a proof-of-concept mashup for a home-improvement chain that combines real-time weather forecasting from the National Weather Service, Google Maps and the company's inventory database. If a snowstorm is predicted for a particular region, the retailer can tweak inventories of rock salt, shovels and generators for stores in that region. Try countering a sales pitch like that.
Click to enlarge in another window