Do LOBs really sidestep IT? They certainly have more reasons for doing so. According to CIO India's Mid-year Review 2014 survey, the incidence of lines of business bypassing IT departments is going up--despite the fact that IT departments are trying to work more closely with them. One in every six Indian CIOs report that LoBs are directly funding new IT projects.
"While CIOs are part of the conversations, they come at a much later stage," says Samir Bodas, CEO & co-founder, Icertis, a start-up that sells 'ERP surround' software on cloud.
Icertis has companies like Genpact, KPIT Cummins, Mindtree and Lupin as their customers in India and Bodas can vouch for the fact that 9 out of 10 transactions they do are with business users.
Bodas says that the LoB-IT divide is much wider in the North American market, where the company has been selling for many years. But he is seeing a similar trend emerging among Indian enterprises now. "Businesses are looking for ease of implementation, ease of use, and agility," says Bodas.
The challenge however, he says, is when it comes to convincing IT. "CIOs talk tech. They have their own vendors whom they are comfortable with. With business users demanding value for their time and investment, with easy to use cloud products available in the market, IT is beginning to lose their strangle hold on IT purchasing decisions. The power is moving to the LoBs," says Bodas. But he sees the scenario changing as more and more CIOs are readily embracing the change, rather than resisting it.
Interestingly, Icertis claims that it has been winning against many established players in the ERP surround space, including the likes of SAP, Oracle, and IBM. Bodas believes it's because the business users prefer agile vendors who are responsive to customer needs and provide newer ways of doing things, than traditional vendors who will take years to change their organization and technology setup.