IT & Operations

Business transformation and new IT auditor requirements

October 13, 2014

The dynamics in organizations have increased considerably in recent decades. Change has become the norm. Not a day goes by without technology making progress. This offers new possibilities, but also places new demands on IT auditors.

Every year, the Executive Master of IT Auditing program at the TIAS School of Business and Society organizes a seminar. The topic of this year’s seminar was business transformation. The seminar was also the farewell seminar for Professor Han van der Zee (Dr. Ing.), a lecturer in the program. Han has helped shape the Executive Master program almost from the start. In his farewell speech, however, Han did not look back on the last twenty-five years, but looked towards the future.

He took us to the “eco era”, where the focus is on the Internet of things. This period is heralded in by organizational discontinuity, a world where connectivity, computer power, content and usability come together, a fascinating reality in which devices are linked via the Internet. What began in the 1990s as tracking with the help of RFID has grown into a phenomenon that continues to develop. Google Glass and driverless cars are great applications of technology with lots of potential. But this technology really becomes interesting when applied to the business-to-business world. Companies optimize the supply chain, the ultimate just-in-time concept. Agrarian companies use sensors to track the grown of their crops online. Public information is regulated with sensors, resulting in lower energy consumption and promoting safety.

Business and IT transformation goals

Han also talked about the goals of business and IT transformations. For organizations, increasing efficiency, agility and growth is essential. The following aspects are important to this: systems, policy, processes, organization and the design of business operations. IT transformations began with a focus on infrastructure. Back then, this primarily involved rationalization and standardization. The emphasis then shifted to applications, with considerable attention to modernization and automation. Nowadays, the focus is mostly on business. It is IT as a Service that is the order of the day. Choice and orchestration are the keywords. The new world is virtual and formed by a central pool of computing power and storage capacity.

A supplier ecosystem as the answer to unsuccessful outsourcing relationships

Michel Hofman, a Digital Transformation consultant and former CIO of Robeco, also shared his vision on business transformations during the seminar. He explained the continuously changing role of the CIO, where the focus was primarily on opportunities and challenges. Michel argued passionately in favor of trust: a supplier ecosystem as the answer to unsuccessful outsourcing relationships. Only those organizations that work together with the suppliers on innovation can survive in the digital world. Michel also talked about cloud computing. The risks are not always evident, but the possibilities are unprecedented. But good architecture forms the basis for linking cloud computing solutions in a responsible manner. Yet the legality of such solutions continues to be an issue. In light of the new legislation - the European Privacy Regulation (EPR) - privacy issues in particular are increasingly more important.

Fortunately, all of these dynamics make it anything but boring for IT auditors to assess the automation and organization of the automation process.

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