Back in the “good old days” of the tech boom, IT teams were responsible for identifying and integrating nearly every new technology innovation. From data warehousing to desktop platforms, it was the tech professionals who selected the tools, reviewed their performance, and pushed them to the business. The latest and greatest technologies were always found in the hands of the IT team.
Two things have happened to change this business model. First, the tech bust created a culture of concern in IT. The result is that most IT professionals have become comfortable with the specific tools of their trade, relying almost solely on the software and hardware with which they are comfortable. They have become, to some extent, complacent, and at times almost outdated.
The second is the change in the technology consumer. Users are now more comfortable with tech innovations like the iPhone and iPad. They quickly adapt to the new tools, and adopt them into their lifestyles. Since their lives often include work, they expect the new tools to be integrated into their business. This is creating a challenge for IT managers and leaders. There are times when the user is more adept with the technology than IT, but they don’t understand the underlying issues that the new technology could bring to the business network architecture. All the user knows is that they want their iPhone on the company Wi-Fi “yesterday if possible”. This can create conflicts between a rapidly more tech-savvy user community and an IT team that wants to maintain a secure, manageable network.
The reality is that it is time for IT to step up to the plate and establish the policies and procedures that will open the business architecture to these new tools, without opening the network to the growing security threats in today’s technology world. This will require tech professionals to investigate the new tools, and move back to the cutting edge of the innovation envelope. This will give IT the understanding necessary to set requirements for network access, and expedite the integration of the innovation. It will also go a long way into building a better relationship with the business users, and creating a business technology platform that is flexible, secure, and useful to the consumer.