The popularity of portable computing, BYOD and cloud computing services is forcing some IT departments onto the back foot, as business people are gradually regaining control of their own destinies.
Perhaps I'm showing my age here but the current power-play reminds me of the upsurge of "Personal Computing" two decades back and "End User Computing" well over a decade ago, not to mention "Networking" and even "Internetworking" before them both. The very terms seem anachronistic these days and for current generations of IT professionals the issues must be puzzling, but I distinctly recall the consternation these IT revolutions caused the well-established IT management hierarchies of the day.
What actually happened, in fact, was that most IT departments evolved to deal with and then embrace the new challenges and opportunities that arose. The worst of the old-fashioned green-screen dinosaurs in IT management were gradually sidelined and then put out to pasture. One or two senior IT people were no doubt reminded that IT is a support function for the business which pays their wages and funds their budgets. I dare say 'the tail wagging the dog' was mentioned once or twice, in heated terms.
So, coming back to portable computing, BYOD and clouds, I firmly predict that we will once again see a spectrum of responses between and within various IT departments: on one end stands those who feel (or rather claim) these are dangerous, inherently risky technological developments, and at the other end are those who excitedly promote the business benefits and opportunities, barely even acknowledging the associated risks.
Both extremes have their issues, in fact: resisting the inevitable move towards greater flexibility and more cost-effective IT could hardly be called supporting the business. At the same time, wholeheartedly adopting new technologies without a care for the novel risks they create could be deemed reckless. The go-gettem trailblazers may reap the benefits of early adoption, but those who watch carefully and follow when the time is just right stand to reap even greater benefits with less in the way of avoidable costs.
In other words, this is yet another strategic issue, a facet of corporate governance.
Look out for the political games and maneuvers in your organization this time around, and take note for this will surely not be the last time that technological innovation threatens the status quo. Perhaps next time, you will be in a position to influence it as it happens, maybe even drive things in a way that best suits the organization.
Remember, "Resistance is useless".