Published/updated: September 2014
By Dale Vile
Much has been written about the rise of user influence and power. Some of it might exaggerate the degree to which phenomena such BYOD and shadow IT now define the state of play, but there is no denying the trends. Our research (and others’) consistently tells us that more demanding and less tolerant employees are increasing challenging the IT status quo, and in some cases are bypassing (or attempting to circumvent) IT policies and processes. Most organisations are seeing at least some of this kind of behaviour, particularly in parts of the business that have more political power.
Some commentators interpret the trends as an indicator of IT departments failing to ‘get’ how needs are evolving within the business. The assertion is that CIOs and their teams are stuck in their old ‘command and control’ ways of thinking, and are unwilling or unable to adjust to the new world of cloud and mobile. Meanwhile, tech-savvy employees educated through the use of technology and services in their personal lives don’t suffer from the same baggage, which today puts them in a better position than IT to decide what’s optimal for the business. It’s even argued that IT teams will become redundant over time, or maybe relegated to just looking after the ‘plumbing’, as users drive the things that really matter in collaboration with external providers who offer more flexibility.
It’s a compelling narrative, and a great one to propagate if you are into sensationalist mischief-making. But like most things in IT and business, the reality is a little more complicated.
The truth is that unilateral user activity is not always a function of business need. Sure, when an employee starts using a personal device or consumer cloud service for business purposes they may be highlighting a capability gap that needs to be addressed. But such ‘BYO’ adoption of solutions could equally be down to the user simply acting on a personal preference or interest, following fashion, or attempting to demonstrate their status or individuality.
Even if BYO activity reflects a genuine business requirement, users are generally not great at looking beyond their own immediate needs and wants. With a frequently parochial perspective, bigger picture considerations such as security, compliance, data protection, future-proofing, interoperability, maintenance and support often don’t figure that highly in their thinking, if at all. And in opting to use something different to their colleagues, they may create more productivity problems than they solve as a result of limitations and incompatibilities that need to be worked around by everyone else, as well as themselves.
So users gaining more of a voice and assuming more power is a mixed blessing if such developments are allowed to take place in a free-wheeling manner. Handled appropriately, however, with the right level of input, guidance and control from IT (yes ‘control’ is NOT a dirty word), the business can potentially benefit more quickly from new ideas and ways of working.
When working through the practicalities, a trick we recommend is to keep the ‘triangle of interests’ in mind (Figure 1).
By Richard Edwards
By Dale Vile
By Bryan Betts and Dale Vile
Yesterdays software delivery processes are not up to dealing with today’s demands, but modernising you approach is not just about implementing Agile, even creating a DevOps culture. You need to focus on some specific, hard-core principles. ...more
By Dale Vile & Jack Vile
Cloud services are increasingly becoming part of the IT delivery mix, but a recent study of 378 senior IT professionals suggests a parallel commitment to ongoing investment in the datacentre. This in turn shines a light on the key role of modern application platforms. ...more
By Tony Lock & Dale Vile
Despite the advent to cloud computing the datacentre remains central to corporate IT. But with demands continuing to escalate, how do you ensure your infrastructure is powered robustly and efficiently? ...more
By Bryan Betts
Many are exploiting cloud computing to drive business advantage, while others are enjoying the flexibility and efficiency of DevOps. But what happens if you use both together in a coordinated manner? The answer is a significant amplification of the benefits of each. ...more