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The ‘consumerization’ of Enterprise IT increasingly is moving IT responsibilities from a centralized IT group to departments and lines of business.
A report from Intuit QuickBase finds that “50 percent of information workers now turn to online databases and Web based productivity apps, instant messaging platforms, video chat services and social networks to solve their own business problems.” Beyond that, the report also finds that as many as 17 percent of information workers are adopting software applications and tools without first getting approval from their IT departments.
Allison Mnookin, vice president and general manager of Intuit QuickBase commented that “The speed of business is increasing, and that’s driving a greater user demand for solutions. Information workers are seeking ways to compete. How do I be more nimble? How can I be more efficient?”
Mnookin said that “there’s a fast-growing population of do-it-yourself app creators in every organization. These rogue employees can be extremely beneficial in their motivation to solve business needs, but their energies are best harnessed if management supports them by providing the resources they need to succeed. Otherwise, if they leave the company, IT will not necessarily know how to replicate or maintain the success.”
Empowering employees to have more control over the software and technology that they use is a trend that is likely to only increase in the future. But is this really a great thing for organizations? ‘Rogue’ projects are, by definition, something which are out of control. There is great benefit and value from a bottom-up approach to IT, but there still needs to be an IT sheriff in town, or things will get wild pretty quickly.
But think about data protection, security, privacy, corporate policies and regulatory obligations. These are all things that can easily fly out the window if employees aren’t trained or supervised in their approach to IT. In addition, DIY projects can result in redundancy and duplication of effort because there is no over-arching coordination of projects. Organizations may also be missing out on better pricing if individual department or groups are negotiating pricing and terms, rather than the entire company. There’s also the high likelihood that DIY projects turn into impenetrable information silos which can’t share information with other software applications used in the organization.
Organizations might do best to recognize that IT decentralization is inevitable, but realize that it is vital to still retain a centralized IT group that can advise, coordinate, oversee and audit IT activities in the organization.