The Future As Seen By Me In 2010

Well looky here, things one has scanned in eh. (ignore the photo, that's some guy that made some accounting software, not sure what became of him ;) MIKE RIVERSDALE is fuming. The expensive headphones he bought in Sydney three weeks ago have just died. His first reaction is not to randomly spill expletives into his coffee, but to use his iPhone to vent his frustration to his Twitter con- tacts, under the moniker Miramar Mike. "I will also put, 'What should I do?' It's a conversation. I'm reaching out to the people following me." The council predicts hand-held digital devices such as smartphones will rule the world in 2040. They already rule the life of Mr Riversdale, whose company WaveAdept helps businesses adapt - their computing sys- tems to allow staff to work from anywhere - and with anyone. In order of fre- equency, he uses his iPhone to tweet (1136 followers; 8363 tweets since joining), e-mail, make phone calls and use online services, such as checki

5 steps for CIOs to cope with the "shadow IT Department"

Further to my IT Departments in the spotlight post I'd also like to draw your attention to a CIO article, Users Who Know Too Much and the CIOs Who Fear Them

I am particularly drawn to the phrase "shadow IT Department":
The consumer technology universe has evolved to a point where it is, in essence, a fully functioning, alternative IT department. Today, in effect, users can choose their technology provider. Your company’s employees may turn to you first, but an employee who’s given a tool by the corporate IT department that doesn’t meets his needs will find one that does on the Internet or at his neighborhood Best Buy.

The emergence of this second IT department—call it “the shadow IT department”—is a natural product of the disconnect that has always existed between those who provide IT and those who use it.

And their example of how CIOs can learn from HR is thought provoking whilst being a great example of "you're not alone":
It’s natural for corporate IT to feel threatened by the shadow IT department, but the truth is that they already coexist everywhere. “The two have always been present,” says Anderson. “The management skill is noticing where they intersect and coming up with a strategy for dealing with it.”

For example, a similar dynamic has long played out in HR. A company’s employees have titles and reporting relationships that give their work a formal structure. But at the same time every company has an informal structure determined by expertise, interpersonal relationships, work ethic, overall effectiveness and so on. Companies suffer when HR is out of phase with the informal structure. Employees are demoralized when the formal architecture elevates someone at the bottom of the informal architecture, and people who occupy the top spots in the informal architecture leave when they aren’t recognized by the formal one. Good HR departments know where employees stand in both the formal and informal architectures and balance the two.

Sorry for the wholesale quoting but I couldn't have said it better myself.

The 5 steps they suggest CIOs (and, I would suggest, all IT Department employees) use are:

1: Find out how people really work.
Yep - get in amongst the business. And I mean physically - go sit with them and do your job there.
I would take it as a great sign not be able to "find" the IT Department within an organisation because they're just out amongst it all.

If you need to create a sense of team around the IT function then use all the cool funky toys available to do that - the geeks will love you for it.
Not sure about the managers though ...

2: Say yes to evolution.
! Not hard ... is it?

3: Ask yourself if the threat is real.
And the (business) answer may indeed be, "Yes!". The business will reward you for your thought leadership and actions.
But no knee-jerk reactions please!

4: Enforce rules, don’t make them.
To be fair, in my work with NZ organisations this is pretty well known and most IT Departments will be able to point to the business owner that created most ICT enacted rule.

5: Be invisible.
Aha, subjugate the geek ego.

I would argue against this actually.
No-one wants to be unknown within an organisation, not even the cleaner that comes in after most people have left. We all have a sense of self-worth that needs the odd stroking.
What I would say is be visible in ways that the business wants - removing bottlenecks, increasing agility and making it easier for the business to do its job.

But yes, be invisible with the "infrastructure" - it should "just work".

The end paragraph will, initially, be hard for a lot of CIOs and even some of the die-hard employees. Then again Kiwis are a fairly pragmatic bunch and I'd rather be doing what I do in NZ than, say, in the UK.
“Controlled chaos is always OK,” says Gold. “If you want to be an innovator and leverage IT to get a competitive advantage, there has to be some controlled chaos.”


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