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The CIO and the extended enterprise

It’s a given that the days of worrying about only what is within your four walls are long gone. Outsourcing took care of that a long time ago. The reach of the CIO domain is going beyond even that relationship, however, and into the “extended enterprise,” as some are calling it.

External customers, internal employees and partners are dragging data further and further away from the confines of a given data center or desktop PC and into the realm of mobile apps, social forums and the cloud. In a tip running on SearchCIO.com this week on securing the extended enterprise, Forrester Research Inc. security expert Chenxi Wang explains the extended enterprise as follows:

“Today’s businesses must constantly create new products and services, expand their geographic presence, streamline operations, and deliver topnotch customer services. To do this, your business will increasingly use third-party and cloud services to reduce cost and increase speed to market. Your business will unleash the creativity of your employees and customers with mobile, social and rich media technologies. More and more, devices — meaning cameras, cars, home electronics and even musical instruments — come equipped with microprocessors and will become conduits for businesses to deliver services and engage customers. To stay relevant, your enterprise must extend itself continuously to include new peripherals and meet new business scenarios. Forrester Research defines this vision of business as the extended enterprise, one for which a business function is rarely, if ever, a self-contained workflow within the infrastructure confines of the company.”

The term “extended enterprise” nicely ties together many of the topics we’ve writing about for the past year, the most prominent one being the consumerization of IT or, as our Senior News Writer Linda Tucci likes to call it, the “democratization of IT.” Regardless of what it is called, it is yet another opportunity (some might call it a can of worms) that CIOs are in charge of securing and navigating for the business.

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