Silicon Valley State of Mind, a blog by John Weathington, "The Science of Success"
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Silicon Valley State of Mind

Tips, thoughts, and advice based on the consulting work of John Weathington, "The Science of Success."

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Posted by on in Leadership

Some IT organizations today still cringe when employees, or even their own business users, come to them with the technology they want to use. To them BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is just another four-letter word. They’d rather if you just kept your smartphone and tablet computer far away from their precious infrastructure, as they hide behind corporate policy to avoid having to deal with integration hassles.

I’ve done a lot of work advising architecture for data warehousing and business intelligence solutions, and the crusades I’ve seen waged against the evils of spread-marts (spreadsheets used as data marts) and other user-controlled reporting mechanisms, is reminiscent of the holy wars of 13th century Europe. Leaders who participate in such barbaric behavior are waging the wrong battle. It’s difficult to get good feedback; great leaders don’t push it away, they welcome it!

I recently wrote an article for SearchCIO-MidMarket on how the consumerization of IT can be leveraged to improve an IT organization. You can read it here, if you’re a current subscriber (registration is free). The point extends beyond IT, so if you’re a leader in any capacity, what’s happening in IT is worth noticing.

For those of you not familiar with the term, consumerization of IT simply means employees bringing technology to IT, instead of the other way around. It’s been attempted for decades; however, the outmoded mantras of “use whatever IT mandates,” are being strongly challenged with the empowerment of the social generation. Under mounting pressure from top management, IT organizations today are forced to make things work instead of arbitrarily dismissing a proposed technology because it’s not a good architectural fit.

In my opinion, IT never should have pushed back. In their zeal to protect their fiefdom, they isolated themselves from the rest of the organization. This forced organizations to reconsider how integral the function of IT was, and many IT professionals found themselves out of a job as outsourcing became the rational conclusion.

Whenever you have the opportunity to have your users—whether they’re business users or customers—come to you for help in making their lives easier, you should jump on it right away. It won’t take long for them to determine whether or not you’re on their side. And if you’re not on their side—you’re on the wrong side.

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