When Employees Disregard IT Policies

Serving as IT captain for today’s enterprise is a bit like herding cats. It seems as though every department has a different yet urgent initiative and every user has a clear idea about how things should work and what tools and tech is necessary.

Constructing an IT framework that appeals to everyone is impossible. Nevertheless, everyone thinks he or she knows best. The result? Many organizations are teeming with unauthorized apps, shadow IT and rogue data on devices.

Make no mistake, the days of a centralized command-and-control environment are long gone—and they are never returning. Disruption is the norm. Virtually every CIO recognizes this fact.

But what often gets lost in translation is the fact that CIOs must now view IT as a collaborative effort and incorporate thinking and input from across the enterprise. This means, among other things, communicating with the board and other senior executives but also understanding—really understanding—what is taking place on the front lines of the business and with customers.

The array of glitches, breakdowns and total meltdowns—as well as security breaches—that occur at organizations are frequently a direct result of poor communication and collaboration. A lot of organizations believe they are doing IT right, but they are striking out.

A Harvard Business Review and SAS research report offers an interesting insight into how leading-edge companies distinguish themselves from the pack. Leaders focus on the customer experience. They are almost three times as likely to report that they are “very effective” at creating organization-wide customer experience standards (55 percent compared to 20 percent at others). What’s more, about half are “very effective” at mapping customer interactions within their organization. Remarkably, not a single laggard shared that sentiment.

All of this may seem a bit abstract when thinking about a data center, cloud computing, virtualization, enterprise applications, cyber-security and the mind-bending array of mobile capabilities and apps that permeate today’s enterprise. But the reality, for better or worse, is that today’s IT environment requires a laser-like focus on how tech actually plays out for employees, partners and customers.

Consequently, today’s CIO must serve as a translator between the needs of disparate employee populations such as Boomers and Millennials—all while juggling the realities of operating IT in a fast-changing world. All roads lead to the same conclusion: It’s critical to think beyond technology and, instead, focus on providing the best possible experience.

Samuel Greengard
Samuel Greengard
Samuel Greengard writes about business, technology and other topics. His book, The Internet of Things (MIT Press) was released in the spring of 2015.

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