Are the days of the IT service desk being the only ones who can order hardware, select and install software, and choose the technology the office depends on drawing to a close? Perhaps that’s not on the horizon just yet, but there are some tremendous changes underway in a number of companies regarding how the IT department fits within the organization.
Companies are Moving Toward an ‘IT Vending’ Mentality
For example, at video streaming giant Netflix, the entire concept of an ‘IT department’ has now given way to the idea of ’employee technology’, wherein workers use a vending service setup to choose and acquire hardware instead of putting in formal requests with their managers or with the IT department. The prices for those products are even listed right on the machine so that employees know exactly what it costs the company to provide the hardware they choose to use.
At Netflix, employees are given ownership of their processes as well as which hardware they choose to use. The IT manager says that this encourages tech know how among all the workers, not just a select few ‘techies’ and that it sparks a more innovative atmosphere within which to try, use, and choose whatever technologies work best for that worker in their environment.
IT Departments are Giving in to ‘Shadow IT’
If Netflix sounds cutting edge, they aren’t as out there as you might think. In fact, IT departments in many different companies and industries have backed off somewhat when it comes to dictating what hardware and applications the employees at their respective companies must use. What used to be called ‘Shadow IT‘ and frowned upon is now not just accepted, but embraced at many organizations.
Shadow IT, or an IT environment in which the users pick and install their own applications and software, is coming out of the shadows. Many IT departments are realizing the benefits that come along with shadow IT, including the fact that the solutions workers find are often more affordable and easier to work with than the solutions typically discovered by IT.
Today’s workforce is technologically advanced, far more so than any previous generations, and in many companies the workers are almost as tech savvy as the IT workers are. IT managers who work in departments that allow or encourage shadow IT find that it takes a lot of the workload off the IT department when users are researching, installing, and maintaining their own software and applications. Furthermore, it allows for greater levels of innovation because workers can be as creative as they like regarding the tools they use to do their jobs.
How are IT departments managing to keep network security intact and insure the integrity of systems in the era of ‘DIY IT’? Asset management software is a must. With the right asset management solution in place, IT can assure that the devices, applications, and users accessing the systems are posing no threat to the network.
While the IT department probably won’t be replaced or dissolved anytime in the near future, the look of IT could change considerably in the near future as workers are able and willing to take on more of their tech responsibilities themselves.