I wrote this in response to an article on ReadWriteWed called Is IT Show Insecurities in the Distrust of Users?. In the article, the author makes the claim that IT is at risk for becoming Irrelevant. As I work in an IT department, the article struck a cord with me. Maybe I am being defensive? But hey, it was my first response to anyone’s blog so I feel it’s kind of special in a way. Please read the article on readwriteweb and my response:
Sorry to those who believe that their IT department is slow and not flexible to changes. This is probably due to poor management in your IT department and should not be a general statement that *ALL* IT is bad. In fact, most of the issues people have with IT can be traced back to poor management or poor communication. IT will not go away, as much as you would like it to because they say ‘no’. I’m sure they have a good reason for saying ‘no’ and I am sorry you do not understand this. In a way this is like sales saying accounting is bad, because commission should be calculated by the salesperson. What could possibly go wrong???
When IT is centralized as with most organizations, it is the only department aside from Administration that have a view into what every other department does. Without centralized IT every department will start to form these mini-IT departments within each department. Each mini-IT department will grow IT in the direction that only benefits their department. There are somethings that need to be under centralized IT control, like calendaring applications, email services, project management tools, order collection tools, etc. Could you imagine a company where everyone used a different application for each of these? The application religion arguments would become endless (my app is better than your app, so use my app to figure out what needs to be done on your side rather than actually having me put in the proper format that you can actually use to begin with). And productivity will cease. This is where IT is good, because IT helps these departments get on the same page and help with the information flow throughout the company.
I do not feel IT should be the decision maker for ALL applications, like which graphic design software to use or which CAD software engineering should use. These obviously are department decisions, however, IT definitely needs to be involved to make sure the resources needed to run them are provided and the costs are calculated.
IT still has a place and should make IT decisions for the company. IT does not understand marketing, so why would they make marketing decisions? In the same way, marketing does not understand IT so why would marketing make IT decisions? This is why IT exists. The argument behind IT becoming irrelevant baffles me. I think it is good for those pushing the cloud to sell this idea as fewer people involved in a sale the more likely it will be to happen right? Because hey, wow, IT doesn’t have to be involved in the decision. Especially if selling to a VP or someone high up in the company. I think this is a bad way to run a company.
On a side note:
At my company, we have a very open IT policy surrounding computers. IT at my company runs on the philosophy that people are smart and not just dumb users. They allow users to have admin on the desktop and they can install any applications that they feel fit. They also allow users to setup servers and host applications for their departments. In a way, this is the same philosophy as cloud computing. Although it does cut the IT costs, we have found that each department has started to hire people who fit in the IT admin role (masked with a different title of course). The true cost of IT has now become impossible to calculate and makes it harder for IT to justify the resources they need to better help the company as a whole. Other departments are being granted personnel resources to run whatever application benefits them only. In some ways, these admins could be shared resources allowed to work on other projects, but because they are in other departments, they are hands off to anything but the needs of the department. We have also found IT role becoming “clean-up” duty as many of the applications were setup incorrectly or not in a scaleable way, from an organization user management stance. They probably scale good infrastructure wise, but in all honesty, managing infrastructure is usually not that hard to begin with. Sometimes the most basic things like user authentication are the most important things to get right. Maybe you can imagine the headaches it causes for help desks trying to reset a password for a rouge cloud app managed by someone in sales who is always on the phone.