I think IT is unique in some of the challenges it faces. This is NOT to say that other careers do not come with their own...they most certainly do! I am going to focus on IT because it's what I know. *
*Please note that everything I write is my opinion and that it does not reflect on any other entity.
EPISODE #1 : THE PURCHASER
I like to call this the ‘I went ahead and bought 10 Chromecasts for the conference room’ conundrum. I read about a similar incident the other day on Reddit and can personally vouch for things like this having happened at least 10 times to me personally in my career.
8:00 AM : CFO returns from a weekend conference with Chromecasts and puts them in the conference rooms first thing Monday morning. Her rationale was that she used it at home and it was really convenient and decided it was a great idea for the office as well. IT was never consulted, a request was never made and IT was completely unaware of the situation.
1:30 PM Ticket comes into the support desk with the question:
“Why won’t our Chromcasts connect to the internet?"
1:35 PM Ticket response from Help Desk:
"I'm sorry, we don't have any Chromecasts."
1:36 PM : Response from employee:
"My meeting started 6 minutes ago and I can see that they are here, I need to connect to them, can you please come look?"
1:40 Support person walks into room full of people waiting for meeting to start, sees that there are indeed chromecasts plugged in, apologizes and says they'll have to escalate the issue or that they aren't working, takes info back to sysadmin/network admin/boss whomever. Chaos ensues.
Ok! Let's break it down...
IT has been entrusted with securing organizational data. Any good IT person takes that very seriously. They try to secure it as best they can while making security ‘holes’ for business processes that are required. If you come to them and ask them to install a device that requires firewall configuration changes, end-user support when their devices don’t connect to the Chromecast or AppleTv, security mitigation, data backup, account management, device updates and more without asking for their help ahead of time, you’ve sent a number of unintended messages.
The messages are:
- We don't care that we are adding to your workload, we wanted a cool toy.
- Your job is no more complicated than connecting a Chromecast to your home network. Forget the fact that we literally entrust you with all our data...
- Putting IT in a position to be branded "Not a Team Player"
- Putting the requirements of a whim ahead of any other projects/issues they are working on
- Putting the IT person in an awkward position in front of a room full of people waiting for a meeting to start
There are many more, but you can see that while none of the above was consciously intended, it can cause a chain reaction of emotional responses from your tech team.
Obviously, both the CFO and the IT person have the organization's best interests at heart (hopefully) but as we all know some days it doesn't feel that way.
Consider the following scenarios and their potential results.
- Did you know there is now a Ransomware rider you can add? Identity protection insurance? Do you know what your exposure is in the event of a breach? Are there investments to be made to realize savings/protection?
- Does this new space need a network connection? Phone?
- Do you have enough extensions and direct dial numbers to accommodate the new station?
- Does this person need a computer? Network account?
- Will they need email? Will they need an orientation? Do they have the computer skills required to perform the function or will they become a support nightmare?
- There is the potential that IT already has an organizationally paid for tool that will address the need.
- There is the potential that you are exposing your company to lawsuits and breaches depending on what you intend to do with it.
In our Apple TV example, the provider of the devices didn’t consider initial setup, ongoing support, security ramifications, and most importantly was not actually looking out for business needs but rather, saw a cool toy they thought would be useful. Let's consider it in grid format so that we can see the position if each of the players involved.