Business leaders have got more options that just the IT department when it comes to tech projects. That means the IT team needs to rethink its strategy.
Do you remember going to your Dad and asking for a biscuit, and then upon being told 'no' running to your Mum hoping she will give you a different answer?
I was reminded of that when reading a recent TechRepublic article on Lessons from the battle between internal IT and Shadow IT, which discussed how IT services are increasingly being procured beyond the IT department's visibility, and how this causes inherent issues and problems.
It is a good read, although I think it only partially addresses the key issues IT departments are currently facing.
IT is dealing with a changing world. Traditional providers of business services are increasingly providing technical tools and applications to better aid business departments in hitting their objectives. In addition, the demand for data within organizations (and via third parties) is insatiable and paramount to performing value-driven functions.
All of this blurs the lines of traditional IT and business ownership.
Furthermore, business owners perceive themselves to be increasingly aware and savvy about their technical needs as technology becoming a seamless part of their job function. This perception may not be the reality however it is still pervasive, especially among younger business leaders.
IT continues to struggle with demands and to manage requirements and scope of technology within the resources and methodology they deploy. As such IT has to enforce compromise when it comes to internal technology adoption, integration and requests.
But this compromise often leads to business owners believing IT is a roadblock to their ability to advance and deliver on their business goals.
It is a very real problem and one that snowballs into bigger and bigger problems as disparate technologies (and technology ownership) become entrenched across an organization.
The more disparate technologies within an organization become, the less able IT is to meet the demands of the business.
There are ways to mitigate this. IT departments need to focus on systems and methodologies that embrace engaged and agile delivery. Continually saying no or creating barriers to progress will only encourage business owners to go externally for their needs. Assess the value of each process you have and whether it is an enabler or a disabler in terms of delivery to your organization.
Develop business partnerships and trust where you assist departments in their choices and vendor engagements. Even if, from time-to-time, you allow for this external technology adoption to occur you can be at the table, and work to ensure integration and future developments are complimentary to these systems and applications.
Finally, sell to the organization a clear view of ownership as it relates to technology and data, one that aligns itself with the strategic vision of the business but ensures visibility and transparency exists and that who owns and manages these applications is clearly understood.
The ability to do this without alienating business owners is to develop credibility through engaged, agile and competent IT delivery and through developing appropriate partnerships and relationships.
Like any business case, if it is easier, faster and less costly for business owner to exclude IT from their application decisions then they will find a way. Our job is to add value, keep promises and to make sure that the business case to ensure an inclusive IT engagement process is more beneficial than not.
I am not sure we spend enough time on that. Sometimes we sadistically like to say no. However, now this means business turning outside the organization to someone who is willing to say yes.
If we don't give the business the biscuit someone else will.
he Naked CIO is an anonymous technology executive.
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