IT is transitioning, are you ready?
I have worked in the IT field for roughly 20 years. When I entered the workforce, I was an intern with a company supporting numerous clients, including a large law firm. We were their service desk and network support team. They were lawyers….they did not do technology….but technology was disrupting their industry and they had to adapt. So, they hired a company to help them adapt.
Sounds like a fairly common scenario, right? That is what an IT department does. Guides a company through the use of technology. The end-all, be-all experts in technology. And for many years, that is exactly what it was. Buuuuut…..changes are happening.
Technology is so pervasive in most companies and employees, regardless of their chosen discipline, are becoming more and more savvy. Savvy employees are great for IT departments, because they are easy to teach, quick to learn, and become self sufficient. Savvy employees are also nightmares for IT departments, becaus they are easy to teach, quick to learn, and become self sufficient.
So self-sufficient, in fact, that they find technological solutions that fit their needs, gain approval to purchase said solutions, and implement the solutions as far as they can before they get blocked by permissions/rights/integrations. Then they call the IT department and guess what? The IT department are NOT the experts anymore. However, they are expected to still be. This scenario is known as “shadow IT”.
So, how do we deal with this change? As an IT department….as an organization….as employees? Well, my friends, IT departments have to realize that they (we) are no longer the experts. What we need to focus now on is establishing relationships and rapport with each business unit. Show our value in ways we haven’t had to worry about before. In the old days, we were necessary due to knowledge gaps. Now, we are necessary due to collaboration efforts. There are still systems in place that IT departments control, and it is best that all systems work together. Otherwise, what is the point of using a technology if it does not work with other technologies? What is helpful for IT departments are frameworks such as ITIL and their Change Management processes.
What can organizations do? Recognize this shift and hire flexible “people” people who are sharp technologically. These people can lead the transformation and allow for the organization to grow together. Tear down the walls and make IT a business partner, rather than a ticket taking system.
What can employees do? Throw away the “us vs. them” mentality. IT should no longer be looked at as the people who say “no”, but rather the people who say “how can we make that work”. This is a paradigm shift that needs assistance from both technician and layman. But with good leadership, this transformation can be successful.
Together we can make these scenarios win-win!