I was eleven when I saw the original Mad Max. Young and impressionable, I was drawn to the fearless hero who had nothing to lose. The one scene I won’t ever forget is when Max plays ‘chicken’ with the arch-nemesis leader of the psychotic bike gang. They race directly at each other at full speed, both betting that the other will swerve at the last half-second. My eleven year old self found this scene so inspiring that I convinced my young brother to recreate it in our neighborhood streets with bicycles. Presumably, the loser of a game of ‘chicken’ is the one who panics and swerves first. I didn’t lose, technically, but I did end up in the hospital with a broken thumb from my brother’s handle bars.
Whether you’re a daredevil kid or an innovative business leader, Mad Max is an appealing character. The desire to drive fearlessly into uncharted and lawless territory is strong and even necessary for innovative and disruptive thinkers. With this territory, though, comes the real danger of uncalculated risk.
One example of Mad Max recklessness is the emerging trend of ungoverned business-led software-as-a-service (SaaS) integration without the involvement of IT. Innovative business users are moving into uncharted territory doing SaaS integration on their own, which is an agile and forward-thinking move. The Mad Max approach, though, is brash, and moves forward recklessly without careful and collaborative calculation.
Business-led SaaS integration is the future; no doubt about it. As companies feel increased pressure to move faster, connecting cloud applications becomes crucial for customer onboarding and the creation of new revenue streams. Consequently, SaaS offerings now allow business users to do integration projects without the assistance of IT, and the impulse is to drive headlong into this newfound freedom with Mad Max adrenaline-pumping fearlessness.
This impulse, however, has the real potential to destroy the value the projects were supposed to achieve in the first place. Without IT guidance and support, business users risk unexpected maintenance difficulties including process inconsistency, duplication of data, and increased rework and transition costs. It could even be possible for business users to increase the company’s security risks — as in, business users may not understand the full implications of giving a partner API access to their cloud application, whereas IT certainly would. The collateral damage of these difficulties can, in turn, negatively impact the enterprise and hurt relationships with trading partners and customers.
Resist the urge to go it alone. Don’t take the Mad Max approach to SaaS integration. Business-led SaaS without IT collaboration and IT oversight is unnecessarily reckless. It is crucial for IT to stay involved in SaaS integration in order to maintain data governance and security. Ultimately, IT needs to provide a framework for SaaS integration that will act as a guardrail to keep the company safe without slowing business users down.
As for me, I’m still going to go see Mad Max: Fury Road for the sake of nostalgia. It looks more hardcore than ever, so for the sake of my thumb, I’m going to have to make sure I don’t get carried away again.