Five Disruptive Forces Changing the Role of the Systems Integrator

Disruptor No. 1: CFOs seize control as the IT decision makers

Thanks to the cloud, there has been a fundamental shift in power from the chief technology officer (CTO) to the chief financial officer (CFO) in terms of tapping innovative technology to drive business process optimization. CFOs are now key technology decision makers, and innovative SIs need to refocus their approach, skills and offerings on specific solutions that address core business process challenges. These range from unified financial budgeting and planning to effective measurement of business growth.

Disruptor No. 2: Big IT implementations face extinction

Tedious software evaluations and drawn-out implementations are an expensive and unsustainable practice. To compete in today’s dynamic business environment, SIs must move away from large, upfront fees and focus on harnessing new revenue streams from packaged, repeatable solutions. Growth for progressive SIs will increasingly come from selling configurable solutions that address specific cloud-to-cloud or cloud-to-premise implementations and integrations.

Disruptor No. 3: IT budgets go flat

Most companies spend the majority of their IT budgets on maintaining IT systems rather than business innovation. In fact, tight IT budgets are driving businesses to look for agile, proven IT solutions without high upfront costs to fulfill new technology requirements. To ensure their spot in the cloud-era evolution, SIs must become the ongoing IT caretakers and assume traditional IT maintenance responsibilities such as upgrades and integration so that client IT departments can focus more time on innovation. SIs will also need to continuously customize their solutions to meet shifting needs and keep pace with business change.

Disruptor No. 4: IP rules keep changing

IT purchasing behavior has also changed intellectual property (IP) rules. Companies are turning away from $100+M Oracle and SAP implementations and embracing iterative, agile implementations. This shift is opening new SI revenue opportunities. SIs must invest in repeatable IP, turning their deep understanding of unique business processes into products with recurring, repeatable revenue to drive down implementation costs. SIs’ unique IP will become the foundation for sustainable, long-term growth for their business.

Disruptor No. 5: Cloud systems create new silos

The purchasing rules continue to blur as line-of-business leaders now have access to new applications in minutes thanks to cloud technology. This has created another critical business challenge – the rise of cloud-system silos. As businesses clamor to bring together the islands of data now housed in a variety of cloud applications, the top opportunity for SIs in the coming years will be to integrate that data. SIs will be increasingly tasked with bringing all of that disparate data into one central nerve center to drive responsive businesses.

The new SI model for the cloud era

To make the most out of today’s cloud reality, SIs must become partners to the business. Driving the rapid adoption of proven, business-specific solutions that remove cloud silos, SIs will empower IT to reap the rewards of the integrated cloud.

Focusing on IT strategy, flexible design and long-term technology architecture will help their enterprise customers thrive today and better prepare for tomorrow. It’s a brave new cloud, and innovative SIs will be its champions.



The growth of the “integrated enterprise” depends on connecting disparate cloud systems to make them work for today’s dynamic business environment, and innovative systems integrators (SIs) will be the catalyst. The cloud is transforming the SI focus from implementation/customization to long-term business solutions that deliver the agile, future-proof technology roadmaps that today’s C-level executives demand.

Executives from top business consulting firm Armanino and data integration experts from Scribe Software share their take on the five disruptive forces changing the game for leading systems integrators and how they need to evolve to make the most of the new cloud realities.



Top Five Epic Fails of Enterprise Endpoint Backup

Retrofitting existing server backup

Server backup vendors have tried to retrofit their own solutions to capture a share of the booming backup market. But this approach almost never succeeds because it doesn’t give organizations what they need; it requires human intervention, is unreliable and doesn’t scale appropriately. Backup needs to happen automatically, transparently and frequently. If business users have to manually initiate or manage the backup of their data, it likely won’t happen.

Restricting/prohibiting data save on endpoints

Some organizations take a completely different approach and opt not to install an endpoint solution at all. Instead, they create policies prohibiting or restricting users from saving data to their laptop or desktop.

Unfortunately, this approach hinges on users changing the fundamental manner in which they work – which effectively guarantees it will not succeed. By employing a safe endpoint backup solution, all endpoint data can be protected without IT admins creating restrictive policies.

Tape-based backup

Some companies attempt to back up endpoint devices to tape, but this approach has many shortcomings. Tapes are a fragile medium, subject to damage from both heat and light exposure. Doing a full restore may require multiple tapes and it could take days simply waiting for the right tapes to arrive.

After a failure, the backup is now the only copy of the data. If an organization only writes backups to tape, and for whatever reason the organization can’t restore from that tape, it will have lost all of its data.

Manual, user-initiated backup to external drives

Surprisingly, many companies still attempt to protect endpoint data by asking or requiring employees to manually back up their data to external drives. This approach can be very costly, especially if the company has thousands of employees purchasing these devices and subsequently charging them back to the company. And once the users obtain the drives, they tend to forget or refuse to back up their devices. Additionally, these drives are frequently lost or stolen, thus compromising the data they were meant to protect. As a best practice, enterprises should keep a minimum of two copies of data backed up in separate locations.

Gluing together different solutions

The last – and most common – approach is trying to leverage multiple existing or disparate technologies to piece together ad-hoc endpoint backup. What usually results is an inconsistent, unreliable tool that doesn’t protect everyone or every platform, and is a nightmare for both users and desktop admins.


Traditionally, “backup” referred to protecting and storing information on a server in an onsite data center. It was a predictable task, and business data lived in a controlled environment that underwent regularly scheduled updates by IT.

Fast forward to today: Enterprises have experienced a major shift in where data lives. Driven by bring your own device (BYOD), the consumerization of IT and a highly mobile workforce, critical enterprise data has moved from the data center to end-user endpoints (and seemingly beyond the reach of IT). The reality is that IT administrators are facing an unpredictable, de-centralized environment in which they have far less control and visibility into what’s happening with enterprise data.

Some have made the shift to the edge successfully, while others have not. In this slideshow, endpoint data protection and management provider Code42 outlines five of the most common mistakes and outdated methods associated with protecting endpoint data.



Five Steps to Protect Your Passwords Before It’s Too Late

Pay special attention to your email credentials

A lot of users fail to recognize that their email account can be a front door to their entire digital life. Think about how many times you may have reset your password on some other site and the recovery link is sent to your email account. In addition, avoid opening emails from unknown senders and clicking on suspicious email attachments; exercise caution when clicking on enticing links sent through email, instant messages, or posted on social networks; and do not share confidential information when replying to an email.

Change passwords on important sites

It’s a good idea to immediately (and regularly) change passwords for sites that hold a lot of personal information, financial details, and other private data. Cyber criminals who have your credentials could try to use them to access more information on these accounts. This is particularly true if you have used the same password on multiple sites. Attackers will often try to use stolen credentials on multiple sites.

Create stronger passwords

When changing your password, make sure that your new password is a minimum of eight characters long, and that it doesn’t contain your real name, username, or any other personally identifying information. The best passwords include a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.

Don’t re-use passwords

Once a hacker has your account information and credentials, they’ll try to use it to gain access to all your accounts. This is why it’s important to create a unique password for each account. If you vary your passwords across multiple logins, they won’t be able to access other sites with the same information.

Enable two-factor authentication

Many websites now offer two-factor (or two-step) authentication, which adds an extra layer of security to your account by requiring you to enter your password, plus a code that you will receive on your mobile device via text message or a token generator to login to the site. This may add complexity to the login process, but it significantly improves the security of your account. If nothing else, use this for your most important accounts.


Reports of data breaches, online accounts being hacked and passwords being stolen have become so commonplace, users are no doubt becoming numb and complacent to the real dangers these threats present. Even so, it’s essential that organizations and users take proactive and ongoing action to protect their sensitive information.

For instance, recent reports detail the alleged theft of 1.2 million usernames and passwords by a Russian cyber crime group. While on the surface this appears to be a massive breach, it’s a breach that took time, maybe even years to accomplish. So while it’s important to respond to incidents such as this, it’s just as important – or maybe even more important – to establish strong password best practices that take a proactive rather than reactive approach to dealing with breaches.

In this slideshow, we take a look at five steps, identified by Symantec, that organizations and individual users should take now to protect their most sensitive password-protected information.