IT's Role in Creating Rogues

Ann All

It's easy to judge IT's general opinion of users who bring consumer technologies into the workplace by the most common names assigned to those folks: "rogue" or "shadow" users.


The assumption one can read into these terms is that they are sneaks who willfully circumvent IT, with no concern over how it might affect security or other broad corporate concerns.


ZDNet blogger Dion Hinchcliffe recently pointed out that because every company has "shadow" users, CIOs must decide whether they want to be seen as a good cop or a bad cop in how they respond to them.


First, however, maybe IT should analyze why users turn "rogue" in the first place.


It could be that they are a sign of a so-called computing generation gap. Having grown up using things like peer-to-peer technology, younger workers want to do so at the office as well as at home, says Capgemini.


Kids today, what are you going to do? Give them Google Gadgets and hope that makes them happy?


That's a cop-out, however, and doesn't acknowledge a fact that TechRepublic blogger Ramon Padilla makes in a recent post: IT creates -- or at least encourages -- rogues by not being responsive enough to their needs.


Padilla offers some advice that should go a long way toward smoothing relations between IT and the rogues: Give users a more active role in IT decision-making; execute on their good ideas; and implement IT service management frameworks such as ITIL or COBIT.


Good suggestions, all. But the first and most important step is for IT to admit it might be part of the problem.

Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Mar 28, 2007 3:58 AM Matt W Matt W  says:
As someone who is responsible for the successful execution of IT in my company, I'd like to put in my $0.02. I would surely be called a "bad cop" in this case, because we do not condone people using non-approved software. There are many legitimate reasons for this, including security, licensing, and bandwidth considerations. I'm all about working with the user community to find creative solutions to business problems, but it has to be done in a controlled, prioritized, and well communicated manner. The root cause of technology lag in IT is usually tied to a lack of staffing, resources, and executive buy-in. In our case, we are working at 110% to keep things running, satisfy compliance requirements, and implement the few initiatives that have concrete ROI. There's not a lot of time to push Wikis, RSS, mashups, blogs, and the host of other really interesting stuff that isn't required to keep the lights on. If that makes me an unresponsive IT troll, then I say "zug zug"... Reply
Mar 28, 2007 4:25 AM Joseph A. Montione Joseph A. Montione  says:
Let us just call it Stealth (Bank's do not like the word rogue ):As I learned running the HRIT department at the 14th largest bank. "They are hungry for technology!"Rapid Application Development is not a bad thing if the Director of Application Development knows the business and the safe technologies. I was in a business unit competing with Central Technology. We have two different goals. The business unit want's it's customers happy. Central technology want's the stockholders happy. How can you please both?They have to ask for it! When they do, it is off to the testing lab with google toolbar!!!!Joseph A. MontioneFounder: GTOpendatabase L.L.C.A Solutions Provider Reply
Mar 29, 2007 8:34 AM Deb Lawley Deb Lawley  says:
As a public library part of our business is to provide compter access to the public. They expect to have access to consumer technology. However the IT department makes unilateral decisions as to what can be offered and what can't. And generally the result is we can't offer new services because of the same three excuses 1) It's a security issue 2) the department is overworked 3) the department needs more staff. So instead of technology being a toll to increase the productivity of the staff, the staff are viewed as a threat from which the technology must be protected. So, the customers go away unsatisfied, the staff is less productive, but the technology is "safe". How does this attitude serve the organization? The top expense in almost every organization is personnel. How does making personnel less productive in order to protect the technology help the organization? How is this a positive return on investment? Every department is overworked and under-staffed. IT isn't special in that regard. That's why we invest in technology. So until IT realizes that they need to help staff work better instead of viewing them as a threat, staff will continue to find ways to work-around IT to get the job done. Reply

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