“Line of Business” may be one of the most confusing terms you’ll see in business management. That is largely because no two people have the same definition of it. Line of Business, would typically get you to think of the process that allows an idea to become a tangible product or service that someone would pay money for.
When talking about software, however, line of business applications are the specific applications any business or organization uses that allows them to run their business the way that they run it. For example, if you run a salon, your line of business software is your scheduling system, your point of sale software (which today are often bundled together), and any specialized software that you may use to provide value to your customers.
For many businesses, their line of business applications are the key to their business and their relationships with their customers, and are typically utilized by staff in certain ways that may not always be conventional. This presents a lot of problems for IT administrators, who are tasked with designing, deploying, managing, and supporting secure and reliable IT infrastructures, but in the course of doing so may hinder staff in the application of their jobs. To remedy this specific problem, a lot of companies have begun to move some of their LOB applications to the cloud in an attempt to mitigate the problems employees are having.
Your Staff Knows More Than You Think
Let's face it, today’s worker knows more about IT than any other worker in history. Even the people that can just pluck around their iPhone know more than many people about the way that computers, cloud computing, and remote mobility work. We often don’t give them the credit they may deserve because they are constantly getting fooled by the Amazon phishing emails (to be fair, they are getting more and more sophisticated). What your employees absolutely do know is how to do their jobs. They may use an application that hasn’t been whitelisted by your IT department, they may try new software to see if it can help them be more efficient and effective, they may even use an application designed for one purpose for an entirely other purpose because it works for them.
For the IT administrator, all these scenarios are no-no's and should be avoided, right? Well if it gets the job done and revenue in the door, it is already doing more than the stuffy IT admin whose whole position, while crucial to the endeavor as a whole, is for practical purposes more a defensive measure. Since these workers know what solutions work for them, cloud-based software as a service (SaaS) has begun to become workers’ favorite method of deploying LOB applications. Employees gain the access and the flexibility they like, while getting full-featured programs that allow them to be more productive. It seems like it is a system that would work fine, but why then are so many IT professionals, business owners, and executives averse to meeting in the middle?
One Simple Answer: Security
Every organization wants their employees to have the tools they are proficient with so they can be their most productive. The issue becomes when IT isn’t consulted before a software decision has been made. Most businesses, even the ones that function primarily in the cloud, have some onsite resources, and if there would ever be problem with the security of your organization’s technology assets, rest assured, IT would bear the brunt of those issues.
In order to get a reliable and secure IT infrastructure, your IT staff should be in on, and really running point on, any technology investments your company is going to make. This allows them to do their due diligence and make sure that there isn’t a better solution, or one that works better with the resources that your organization already has in place.
Your IT department has to understand specific business requirements, the workflow of the employees, their own expertise with industry best practices, and what types of regulatory compliance the organization is going to have to meet (and the corresponding changes that have to made for that). Simply put: you can’t manage IT systems without IT technicians; and, any technician worth his/her salt isn’t going to allow major IT projects to falter, security to be lapsed, and downtime to pile up, so that their co-workers can be comfortable using software that may or may not be best-suited for the task at hand.
Collaboration Typically Brings Success
While staff can’t be allowed to use whatever software they see fit on the company networks, when it comes to making LOB application purchases, IT has to have a conversation with workers when it’s evident that your organization can benefit from a certain software implementation. By working across the organization, everyone can get what they want. Most cloud-based software doesn’t lack security, but for an IT department there is often much more at stake than for an individual.
If IT can choose how to deploy the solutions that the work for everyone, a company can harness the power of cloud computing, which is sure to speed businesses up by delivering seamlessness of information, the flexibility from where and on what device a worker wants to be productive, and if they choose a private cloud solution in which to do this, the control over the system that hosts the application itself.
At XFER, we know how much cloud computing can do for any small business looking to speed up business and be more productive from more places. We also know just how important it is to be able to monitor and maintain crucial Line of Business systems to keep them up and running, as they are the lifeblood of your business. If you are looking for a way to get the applications you depend on, while focusing on reducing downtime, eliminating threats, and promoting data, network, and infrastructure security, call the IT professionals at XFER today at 734-927-6666 / 800-438-9337.