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Decentralisation of IT in Africa

Decentralisation of IT in Africa

Matthew Kibby, Regional Director at VMware Sub-Saharan Africa.

In its global surveys, VMware has found that more than half 57% of South African business leaders believe management of technology is shifting away from IT to other departments, as lines of business take charge of technology-led innovation in organisations. The research, among 2,000 IT decision makers and 2,000 heads of lines of business globally, including South Africa, Middle East and Turkey, finds that decentralisation of IT is delivering real business benefits.

Decentralisation of IT is when any employee within any business department of an organisation, other than the IT department, is making IT purchases or installing or maintaining software. It can also include employees using non-IT approved software, such as Dropbox, without the involvement of the centralised IT department.

The ownership for driving innovation within South African organisations is not disputed among business leaders.  The majority 80% believe that IT should enable the lines of business to drive innovation, but must set the strategic direction and be accountable for security.

This highlights the balance to be struck between the central IT function retaining control while also allowing innovation to foster in other, separate areas of the business. In particular, IT leaders feel that core functions like network security and compliance 50%, private cloud-based services 28% and storage 24% should remain in their control.

Upside findings

  • Ability to launch new products and services to market with greater speed 61%
  • Giving business more freedom to drive innovation 59%
  • Increasing responsiveness to market conditions 59%
  • Shift in technology ownership to business seen to increase employee satisfaction 63%, attract talent 52%

Downside findings

  • Shift is causing duplication of spend on IT services 51%
  • Lack of clear ownership and responsibility for IT 58%
  • Purchasing of insecure solutions 68%
  • Decentralisation happening against wishes of IT teams
  • Majority of IT teams 58% want IT to become more centralised

“It is transform or die for many businesses, with a tumultuous economic environment and a radically evolved competitive landscape upturning the way they operate,” says Matthew Kibby, Regional Director at VMware Sub-Saharan Africa. Managing this change is the great organisational challenge companies face. The rise of the cloud has democratised IT, with its ease of access and attractive costing models, so it is no surprise that lines of business have jumped on this opportunity.

Too often, however, we are seeing this trend left unchecked and without adequate IT governance, meaning that organisations across Africa, Middle East, Europe, are driving up costs, compromising security and muddying waters as to who does what, as they look to evolve. This is not Shadow IT anymore, that is yesterday’s story, this is now mainstream IT.

The decentralisation movement is happening, driven by the need for speed in today’s business world. The industry has never seen such a desire for new, immediately available applications, services and ways of working. By recognising these changes are happening, and adapting to them, IT can still be an integral part of leading this charge of change. The latest technology or application will only drive digital transformation when it is able to cross any cloud, is available at speed and with ease, within a secure environment.

By introducing its cross-cloud architecture, VMware has taken cloud services to the next level, providing improved flexibility for customers to access services from different cloud providers and still be assured that they are in control and that their cloud environment is secure, no matter where it resides.

Discovery innovates at a rapid pace and we require agility to respond to ever changing business demands. Innovation and expansion are part of discovery and, having visibility across datacentre operations is important for the organisation. VMware’s Cross-Cloud will enable this, as well as give business the freedom of choice in datacentre location.


As a global enterprise vendor driving cloud and digital transformation, is Africa getting left behind in the adoption of transformative platforms?