The crux of a recent article by Michael Healey in Information Week is that employees have never been more demanding about technology. The consumerization of technology (hello iPhone!), tech-savvy employees (they probably have a better computer at home than in the office), and cloud computing (I should be able to put data anywhere I want to).
As the resident IT curmudgeon, I must rebut the above misconceptions! I will go point-by-point.
- The consumerization of technology - Thank you Steve Jobs! Actually, I like Apple products (my wife does all her computing on Macs) but the mindset cannot be, "I bought it, why don't you support it?" I compare the consumerization of technology to impuse buying - I want it and I want it now! Take a step back, ask yourself why you want it, and IT can take care of the rest. Don't be impulsive!
- Tech-savvy employees - This is a very good thing. It means you can roll out more complex computing environments without overwhelming the end users. Terminal services, thin clients, software-as-a-service, application virtualization - all these technologies challenge tradition and that is a good thing. You want end users that can keep up. I like to think of the concept of "core computing" - this means that as long as the core systems are configured properly, new technology won't present any fundamental changes to how employees access critical data.
- Cloud computing - As mentioned in the article, regulatory compliance is a priority with IT departments these days - we are a litigious society. Protect important data by maintaining its confidentiality, integrity, and availability. Cloud computing immediately increases availability, but decreases integrity & confidentiality because you no longer control the system on which the data resides ("data at rest") or gets processed. If there was a way to keep the cloud computing vendors from accessing YOUR data on THEIR systems, it would be a no-brainer, but when they have access to the system, they have access to your data. IT is responsible for all corporate data. Where is that star employee when the lawsuit pops up because he/she put the entire customer database up on the web but didn't ensure its confidentiality? That employee will immediately point to IT and say, "it's their responsibility." If you want to be the boss, you have to pay the costs.
Of course this is just my opinion, I could be wrong.