Government // Mobile & Wireless
Commentary
8/2/2013
12:30 PM
Connect Directly
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Dear IT: No One Likes Petulant Teenagers

Nobody will win if IT and business leaders continue playing Mortal Kombat. Let's step back and redefine our roles.

IT personnel don't have to perform common activities such as project management, risk assessment, market and product research and ROI calculation. Their departmental colleagues can take on some of that responsibility. But in today's world, IT is expected to do everything on a so-called technology project. Then when it runs out of capacity and cries uncle, departments fume or go rogue.

We must get rid of the phantom or explicit rule that "nothing that touches technology" can happen unless IT is involved. IT must become more of a guide, a teacher, a subject matter expert, a facilitator, an advocate and, to be sure, an implementer of many things. But IT can't do it all.

This is a very tough proposition for both IT and line-of-business folks. Today's IT organization generally wants a pretty tight span of control (it's that accountability and authority thing again). And business units generally expect that they can call on IT for all of their technology needs or that they will sneak off and do it without any IT involvement.

Everyone is talking about the CMO vs. CIO smackdown, whereby marketing departments implement websites, campaign management and other systems without IT involvement. Critics warn of security breaches and other red alerts that will require IT to jump in blind. But if IT organizations can get their heads out of the span-of-control mindset and into the facilitator mindset, they can take on a new role as facilitator and advocate.

Maybe the answer is simply: "OK, you don't need us." Or maybe IT will add value by pointing out to the marketing leaders that their chosen system vendor has no security chops, and that they might want to either harness IT or a third-party security provider.

Global CIO
Global CIOs: A Site Just For You
Visit InformationWeek's Global CIO -- our online community and information resource for CIOs operating in the global economy.

Under this new mindset, when IT sees manufacturing doing big data and installing "unauthorized" operating systems on the company network, it won't start World War III, but instead help manufacturing patch their OSs to be secure and figure out a support plan. Notice that I didn't say "do it all." In some cases, IT won't have the expertise and will have to figure out which vendor could help.

In short, IT will quit acting like a petulant teenager when everything isn't under its control.

But the CMO will stop acting like a jerk too.

The CMO and other business executives will learn something about tech. They'll invite IT to the table, not because they long to obey IT, but because they know that IT pros are smart about digital tech, and that it's in the organization's best interests for subject matter experts who have skin in the game to sit at the table.

The question isn't who is going to win, because nobody's going to win if we continue playing Mortal Kombat. The question is, who's going to put their big boy and girl pants on and admit that we've all got some changing to do?

Previous
2 of 2
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
<<   <   Page 2 / 2
IMjustinkern
50%
50%
IMjustinkern,
User Rank: Strategist
8/5/2013 | 6:26:01 PM
re: Dear IT: No One Likes Petulant Teenagers
From memory of my younger years ... petulant teenagers really liked other petulant teenagers. (Definitely still supports the metaphor here, though) ... Solid stuff, Jonathan. With all the chatter on the increasing importance of data in the business, it's only appropriate that the support of data is broken into specified and stronger executive/team functions (i.e. CDOs, "data scientists", etc.).
RobPreston
50%
50%
RobPreston,
User Rank: Author
8/5/2013 | 2:04:14 PM
re: Dear IT: No One Likes Petulant Teenagers
The key question here is, what are IT organizations going to give up? Jonathan mentions project management, risk assessment, market and product research and ROI calculation. I'd love to hear from readers whether they consider that realistic in their organizations. And if they have other recommendations.
<<   <   Page 2 / 2
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on InformationWeek.com for the week of June 21, 2015.
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.