There’s a perception that the IT department just says ‘no’. But is that because we are requesting things that 10 years ago never would have crossed our minds? Does it just mean that the IT department of today and the future needs to develop and evolve alongside the demands of its internal customers?
In short, yes. When computers and IT was first introduced in to the workplace members of the IT department were looked at to be geniuses of sorts. Here were these machines that many employees had never seen before, and yet there was a department that already knew how to work, maintain and understand them.
Fast forward 20 years or so and that perception has changed somewhat. The employees of today, particularly those of the younger generation, are capable of using these machines in a variety of different ways and they no longer need the support of the IT department – until something goes wrong.
But could the implementation of newer, smarter technology actually enable the IT department to do more than fix broken equipment and resolve user error? By investing in Cloud computing and virtualised equipment, alongside bringing control back internally rather than outsourcing, the IT department can have a better focus and understanding of the IT infrastructure of their company and therefore better understand how to manage it.
Combating Shadow IT
Whilst the IT department can regain some control through virtualisation, the very fact that employees now have an understanding of computers introduces some risks – shadow IT being the perfect example of this.
Shadow IT is the installation of software that is not approved by the IT department or company, which can introduce security and firewall risks in to a business. Whilst policies can be implemented in order to combat it, simply telling staff not to install it is not enough.
Smarter tools, however, can enable the IT department to better monitor and explore what users are doing on their computers. This makes it much easier for them to control the spread of shadow IT and stop any potential impact it could have.
On the other hand, monitoring something like shadow IT could educate the IT department too. If they find that they are meeting resistance when blocking the use of particular pieces of software, perhaps that means the business needs to look at a suitable alternative? For instance, a popular piece of shadow IT is Dropbox; and whilst a majority of companies won’t want this running on their internal infrastructure it is a popular tool that employees may need to make use of.
Simply putting a block in place is not the answer; these pieces of software are usually implemented for a reason and it is figuring out how you can resolve the issue, ensure your employees have the correct tools for their job, and ensure that your network is protected that is essential.
Better Supporting the Business
So, can new technology enable the IT department to do more? Yes, it can enable them more control over their internal infrastructure and the management of it. But it can also allow them to be better educated in any changes they make or suggestions they put forward to management, because the tools that are available now will keep them better informed and mean that they have a better understanding of their users wants and needs – after all, that’s who they are there to support.