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Agile Computing: Blog Post

"Living IT": The Gap Between Management and Technology Is Shrinking

Interconnectivity and security, two sides of the same coin are the main drivers of 21st century technology

It seems there is a continual push and pull in the technology world between centralizing and consolidating technology vs. distributing and diversifying.  We've asked ourselves this question often of whether our clients will be better served with a single technology to support their needs.

This line of questioning typically leads to the evaluation of the trade off between a single multi-purposed technology that solves many problems but none well as opposed to a number of "best-of-breed" solutions.

In reality organizations seem to answer this perennial question with decisions that shift the balance continually.  These decisions and the resulting daily interactions with IT systems are what we refer to as "Living IT".  By acknowledging that technology within an organization is a dynamic entity allows for a whole new approach to solving business process and technology challenges.  A number of important factors are defining "Living IT" and it's place in the 21st century organization.

1. The gap between management and technology is shrinking

As the Cloud evolves and the explosion of advanced collaboration and business process tools continues, technology that previously relied on IT staff to deploy and support is becoming accessible directly to information and process managers.  Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) technologies such as QuickBase are a perfect example of tools that are narrowing this gap.  While QuickBase has the ability to handle advanced technological problems, the codeless development environment is used by managers with limited technical skills in tens of thousands of companies to deploy collaborative information gathering and process applications.

2. The costs and risks of change are shrinking as the benefits are growing

The 21st century company has to adapt quickly.  This means adding capacity and scaling quickly but also being nimble enough to shrink and shift directions nimbly.  In the "Living IT" environment companies need tools that are flexible, scalable and in many cases expendable.  QuickBase is again an ideal model for supporting change at a low cost.  The QuickBase subscription model is user based allowing organizations to develop as many platform applications as are needed with the scaling costs based on users only.  As organizations needs change applications can be retired without concern and new ones rapidly developed and deployed.

3.  Interconnectivity and security, two sides of the same coin are the main drivers of 21st century technology

Ubiquitous access to the internet has opened the doors to a new wave of collaboration between people and between technologies.  This new power of communication has also brought with it very real organizational concerns about security and accessibility of information.   QuickBase provides powerful tools to take advantage of collaboration but also manage the associated risks.

  • Domain/application user model: QuickBase users are registered with the QuickBase domain or with a private domain for enterprise accounts.  Application managers can then invite users who have registered in their domain to applications to allow access.  This simple but powerful model allows for easy collaboration with users inside and outside the organization without compromising security.
  • Role based security: within an application access is defined for each user by designated roles.  Roles can be easily configured for simple access rules or more complex data driven models.  This enables applications to effectively create different user and data experiences tailored for each application user.
  • Secure and capable API: QuickBase supports communication to and from external application via an HTTP API model.  The API enables interaction with all application tables for query, record add/update and import actions as well as more advanced interactivity.  All API interaction required authenticated sessions and for increased security, applications can enforce API token requirements.

The most important consideration in creating a true "Living It" environment is to embrace and not fear technology change.  Even very traditional technologies like accounting systems have to flex and change as the tax and other financial policies change.  Process and collaboration tools need to be even more flexible to support organizational evolution.  QuickBase is in ideal tool for supporting the "Living IT" environment due to it's ability to enable development of secure, collaborative process and information management applications.

More Stories By Govind Davis

As a Partner in MCF, Govind has played the lead role in designing custom business process solutions for MCF customers. The philosophy behind his methodology is to work closely with clients to develop a deep understanding of their unique business process culture and design solutions to fit their environment. This process has led to the successful deployment of more than 50 custom applications. He spent three years as a Web 2.0 architect in a multi-billion dollar consumer products company driving solutions through out Global Sourcing. His development efforts tied together multiple North American locations with 3rd party suppliers in Asia. Hundreds of millions in purchasing dollars have run through his internally developed web applications. http://www.mcftech.com

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