David Johnson’s Blog piece really got my goat. In this piece, “Meet Jamie – A HERO With The Power To Force Change,” Johnson paints a sales representative that has rejected his IT department’s choices for device support in favor of an unsanctioned Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) strategy as a hero. Frankly, I believe Johnson does a major disservice to the IT industry with this piece, once again painting them as inept and unable to keep pace with the speed of business.
As someone who has consistently been advocating for pushing the envelope within IT, my goal has been to help business establish a framework for operating in a rapidly changing industry and meeting the expectations of its users. And, like a good mentor, I can push my students to reach their potential, but don’t you come bash them for not being able to rise to the challenge.
How many of you out there believe your IT department is a hindrance or a hurdle to you getting your work done? Okay, let’s put that feeling to the side for one minute. It’s a valid concern, but let’s look across the table at the challenge from ITs perspective.
- Operational costs are continuing to rise and continually consuming a greater portion of the annual IT budget
- Technological shifts are coming faster and are more disruptive with each shift
- In many businesses, the same IT group is responsible for desktop support, mobile device support, application management, operations management and telecommunications
- The IT department is supporting many different businesses, not one. From the IT perspective, marketing, accounting, executive, sales, distribution, warehousing, supply-chain & logistics are all different businesses
- Enterprise class software and hardware generally sucks
Now, let look at prioritization of efforts in the environment I just described. Who should get the most attention? In the realm of this, does it seem reasonable that they may not be organized in a way to support your desire to bring in the latest mobile device or tablet?
All this aside, let’s turn back to the answer we put aside earlier regarding your concern that IT is a hurdle or hindrance to getting your job done. The reality is that you should expect that the business provide the appropriate levels of support to ensure you operate with maximum productivity. It’s in their best interest and yours. This is not a question of “should we”, but “how can we?”
Frankly, I believe IT departments have no choice but to innovate with regard to how they staff, organize and deliver service. The old world nature of silos of expertise are toast. Lack of cross-domain understanding of IT-related issues accounts for 90% of slowdowns, lack of response and service disruptions. This type of change cannot occur overnight. It must be an evolution unless the business is also willing to accept service disruption as a possibility in order to speed the change within their own organization. I am not stating this facetiously either; it is a risk management decision that may be viable and worthwhile if it will enable the organization to triple their efforts and operate more effectively.
It’s time to put away the pitchforks and torches with regard to the IT department. The best thing you can do to help yourself is not become a rogue BYOD agent, but convince your management to contribute to innovation investment within IT to support your needs for greater productivity.