The end-user is always right – rethinking IT organisations
Today, the modern IT organisation is a far more fluid part of business than at any other point in time. Early IT departments developed out of sheer necessity, trying to capitalise on the explosion of digital technologies and their application within businesses. We’ve moved from adoption and implementation to far murkier waters, where IT is struggling with both internal pressures and external demands.
When IT first matured, it was focused on security and manageability—if it wasn’t something IT was in charge of, you weren’t allowed to use it. That model’s been completely tossed out the window. Now, we see the creeping in of ‘shadow IT’ when users elect to ignore their IT organisations; the systems offered are bypassed for applications or services the user might find easier or more convenient.
This is a problem, if it’s allowed to get out of hand.
Shadow IT undermines an organisation’s ability to monitor and manage services both within their business and through end-user experience. It also provides a potential security risk. For example, users might be more apt to using a consumer-focused or smartphone app than whichever videoconferencing platform your IT organisation has implemented. This impacts IT’s ability to deliver a unified experience to the end user and creates a more chaotic IT environment.
Advances in technology have shifted power away from IT departments, and rather than resisting the change, CIOs and their organisations need to focus on adapting to the new environment. A balance needs to be struck between what IT can manage and what the user is going to want.
The old adage ‘the customer is always right’ rings true here. End-user experience is becoming the determining factor in a lot of IT decisions. But, we should be careful not to completely bend to the customer’s demands; a careful balance needs to be set. Applications that deliver an excellent user experience that also fall within the IT department’s parameters will be successful.
It’s most important that we recognise that the new IT environment is a flexible, ever-changing thing. Understanding what the demands on your organisation are, and will be, can help you adopt a solid IT strategy to handle them. Keeping the end-user in mind – and directly in the conversation from the beginning – when developing strategic plans can help guide your IT organisations to better solutions and services.
Read this latest thinking article for more ideas about how to do that.