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Double-Oh Zero: The Rogue IT Agent

By psstarkey ·
Is it common for people who work in a company's IT department for several years and then move into a client area and become an IT agent in the line of business (outside of corporate IT) to become the bane of those who remain in IT? I spent 10 years in our IT department and then moved into a group which provides application development, support, and business analysis for an engineering group.
Most of my colleagues still view me in the same light as when I was in IT, but many in IT management now view me as a rogue agent and want to limit my interaction with systems currently supported by IT. We have one system used by one of the departments my team supports and IT did the original development but does not have the resources to devote to performing needed enhancements. My team offered to take over the system and met with heavy resistance from IT management because we were not "in IT."
With many companies experiencing limited resources, would it not make sense to utilize anyone in the corporation who has the requisite skill set to support IT systems - even if they aren't reporting directly through the IT chain of command? Our team works hand-in-hand with IT on many issues including following IT standards for application development.
It's not like I am was an accountant for 10 years and now am trying to call myself a developer. I worked in the same company's IT department for 10 years and demonstrated the ability to support multiple applications under the IT flag. Why can't IT management allow me to continue providing that service to the company under some other department's flag?

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Threat to job security

by feral In reply to Double-Oh Zero: The Rogue ...

If IT hand over the support function of that particular system to your team they are giving away work.
If your team is successful in maintaining that system in a timely manner then management might get wind of this and think well hang on, if they can manage their own systems lets find people in other areas and get them to manage theirs and we can cut back the IT section.

Remember you are trying to take work off the IT department here and telling them and management that you will take this work on at no extra cost to the company.

You do not work for IT anymore and need to be careful and think about the impact your proposal may have now and in the future.
I acknowledge the fact you used to be in the IT department however "used to" is the operative here.

Careful who's toes you tread on my friend in an effort to make your departments life easier, because you are not doing your former colleagues any favours.

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Dominoes, standards, and such...

by Mr L In reply to Double-Oh Zero: The Rogue ...

First, I applaud your willingness (and your department's) to take on additional work to keep things moving. Having said that, there are some reasons why this is not a good idea: 1) As you know from your time in IT, standards and auditability are critical to long-term success. While you may well commit to doing all IT-like functions in a manner consistent with company practices, they have no control/assurance that you will. 2) You're a 10 year IT vet...ok, you get to play 00-IT. Does the guy with 5 years? Does the guy with 1? Does the guy who never did, but builds his own PCs and slept in a Holiday Inn Express last night?

:)

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3rd sttream

by Willisblag In reply to Dominoes, standards, and ...

Both replies so far, on the money imo.
Add to these - How would your 'new support/development' area align with overall IT strategy and its goals ?
In short, you are either in or out of the IT domain - creating a midway shop to deal with a tactical issue is going to create a netherworld that will prove difficult to administer for the company as a whole as well as create political issues that the first respondent mentions.

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In your wake

by sgates In reply to Double-Oh Zero: The Rogue ...

I whole heartedly agree with the other replies. Your example is one of an existing funded system. However, when I think of "Rouge Agent," I think of the unfunded project, often non-standard or unorthodox.

I have on occasion seen unsponsored technological projects sprout up like a fire hazard. The project may not be a direct threat to IT, but has the potential if company becomes dependent upon this system. What happens when the rouge agent is forced to off-load it due to regular job duties or leaves the company? The IT department must find a way to support it with the existing staff and no additional budget.

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We have that too

by butt In reply to In your wake

We have one of those it's called an "Innovation Fund" people can apply for Innovation funding and invariably ebd up getting some new toy(s) which after 3 yeasr when it doesn't work anymore becomes the responsibility of the IT dept and the IT budget becasue we have a few poeple who now dpend upon the devices. Example for us was tablet PC's We bought a couple and now 2 people wnat them replaced so essentially they can have their own full time tablet PC. This kind of stuff happens all the time in academics and Govt departments

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Shadow IT Department

by Neon Samurai In reply to Double-Oh Zero: The Rogue ...

Do a search for "Shadow IT". It sounds what your discribing. Basically, users are now so comfortable with tech that indaviduals outside of the IT department are becoming teh local IT support to make up for the shot comings (and long issues queues) of the actual IT departments.

I'm an analyst but I do anything short of requiring an Admin password to keep the departments machines running. This is not because I happen to have built a 'puter at home and sleep at a Comfort Inn last night but because I've spent twenty+ years building computers, servers and the networks inbetween; but happen to be an analyst at present. I can imagine the damage a loose "I just got a 'puter at home, let me help!" user could cause though.

The benifit in my case is that I have the expeirience to know what changes should be made by the support staff. The detriment being that I know what the system is capable of and not doing.

Someone mentioned that Shadow IT takes work away from the real IT departments and it reminded me of an example.

Early in joining, I looked over some of our processes then made enough noise about how to fix them that IT met with us to explain the official project request process. In the meeting I learned some new (too me) business processes and that IT wants business people to outline the problem not offer the solution; that's there job.

Perhaps I need to jump on toes lighter; I'm just so used to speaking harshly about the technology (it works or it doesn't and can usualy work better) without intending that to reflect on the manager in charge of keeping it functioning.

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Reason #1

by Thump21 In reply to Double-Oh Zero: The Rogue ...

The primary reason this is frowned upon is due to the *need* for a central point of reference for users to focus on when requesting assistance. Whether it be helpdesk, repairs, large projects, or, as in this case, other, ... you begin to setup "finger-pointing" centers where users receive conflicting feedback to their issues. A single point eliminates this.

Another good reason is integration. Unless actively working with the network infrastructure (assuming through IT) you are not privy to changes in critical information and resources, such as new Admin passwords, or procedures for making a strategic change to some technology resource. In effect, you are out-of-the-loop but not necessariy intentionally. Delegating responsibilities outside IT creates a larger overall IT management burden.

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rigid structure vs getting work done

by Neon Samurai In reply to Reason #1

I'm have a little military brainwashing in my past so I rather prefer a centralized IT department with clear rank structure. The IT department should be constantly evaluating the systems to better align with business goals. With budgets and the belief that business intelligence is an expense not a direct profit driver, official IT often get's reduced to keeping lights on and cooling fans spinning.

This is where official IT and the smart kid around the office diverge; slow response versus quick fix and back to real work. It sucks to wait in a long request queue then running square into "we don't have the budget for that right now" in response to a system initiative that could be functioning and doubleing work output within a week. (seems to translate to; "we didn't invent the solution so it's invalid.")

IT should be providing support along side constantly evolving structures that adjust to the business needs. Since waiting for corporate IT means not getting work done for two or three days; enter your friendly department Shadow IT geek.

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getting work done vs acceptable cost/ROI

by Mr L In reply to rigid structure vs gettin ...

It's impossible (well ok, it's possible, but would probably identify the person making the arguement as anti-business/anti-customer...since customers, aka business units, are our only reason for existance) to argue against your comment in the last paragraph about what IT "should" do. Of course IT should, where there is a sound financial (business/ROI) reason to do so, grow as agile an organzation as it can, given real-world constraints. Constraints like having to justify spend against benefit. I can appreciate that this means some people will get what they want, now, while others may have to wait.

Actually, it's simple to develop an IT service delivery structure that is instantly responsive to every business customer and delivers solutions to every one of the them as fast as a project can get spun up and completed. It's simple...it's just ludicrously expensive, since you are staffing/planning for absolute peak demand on a constant basis.

Striving for IT agility is a worthwhile effort...while constantly balancing the cost of agility with the benefits.

:)

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