During the last few years, I more and more often get the feeling that the gap between the IT department and the users isn't closing - it is in fact growing. When looking through my star-marked posts in Google Reader, I found this post on the High Performance Workplace Gartner blog by Rita Knox. When reading it, I realize that it is really an excellent post which put words to the situation I often see in organizations. So here it is in full:
The emergence and adoption of alternate technologies is hard to ignore. Employees find technology to support their needs (such as desktop search tools, blogs or wikis for collaboration), explore what they can do and teach their colleagues how to use the tools so they'll have a way to work together, but these sorts of technologies are not supported by most businesses' IT organizations.
A technology subculture is evolving. CIOs concentrate on costs, business processes and governance, while employees say, "just do it!" If my kid can carry on discussions, swap homework and post pictures on the Web, then why can't I do comparable things at work? The gulf between the employee's and IT organization's view of corporate computing is growing.
The CIO has the responsibility of keeping the company's computing infrastructure healthy and secure, and keeping back-office operations running, while employees are concerned with figuring out ways to streamline their work processes, make them more interesting and exploit new technologies to help them. Many of these new tools are easier to use than what the company provides - if not actually filling a void the company does not address altogether.
Although some IT departments are beginning to think about these resources and ask us, for example, if folksonomies can be used internally to the corporate advantage, we don't hear the question often, and we hear about deployments of such social technology even less often.
The two views - MIS-centric vs. employee-enabling - need to
converge if a company's IT resources are to be aligned.
It is time for organizations to wake up and make "Empower the people" a mantra for every business unit - even the IT Department.