There’s been a whole lot written about the changing role of IT lately. While IT’s job is to provide the technology resources the company needs to survive and thrive, all too often there are clashes between the marketing department’s need to deploy a cool new app quickly, for example, and IT’s need to ensure the security of the enterprise as a whole.
So it’s great to see one of our customers, Netflix, tackle this issue head on, providing IT with eight ways to fix its reputation. The advice appeared in the Huffington Post and was based on an interview on CXOTalk. Ironically, the message about how IT can be fixed comes from inside IT itself, via Netflix CIO Mike Kail. Three pieces of advice stand out in particular:
Embrace Shadow IT: Let departments know you’re not going to stand in their way of implementing the latest applications that help them do their jobs better. In doing so, a new level of trust will be reached between those departments and IT.
Remove friction by improving the user experience: By implementing a single sign-on (SSO) solution from OneLogin, Netflix was able to tie together all of its applications under one security umbrella. This ensures users have to remember only one password to access their applications, regardless of whether they are in the office or on the road and using a smartphone. Empowering employees with one-click access has removed a lot of friction because new applications can be added quickly and securely while remaining under IT purview.
Always think “cloud first”: Kail says he focuses on cloud wherever possible, using either best-of-breed SaaS apps or custom app development, which is then deployed in the public cloud. Nexflix’s goal for the year is to have 100 percent of corporate IT in the public cloud. We take a similar approach with SSO and enterprise identity management; in addition to being more cost effective, why place identity inconveniently behind the firewall when employees are working from their own devices outside the office (which Kail calls UAD, Use Any Device).
By embracing change within the Netflix IT organization, Kail has helped the streaming video platform improve its business efficiency, something on which IT might not be used to focusing. Kail insists IT has a real opportunity to take a fresh look at different areas, such as financial systems, and see how they can gain more efficiency compared to the status quo.
According to Kail: “IT’s charter should be … to move the business forward rather than trying to ‘protect employees’ or prohibit them from doing something.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.