This is a quote from a recent blog post from Vala Afshar and Esteban Kolsky. It was specifically talking about our customers experience but I think it also relates to IT and the systems we deploy. Many times we deploy applications and tools and only months or even years after learn that our users have done amazingly creative things that we never thought about doing to support the business goals.
Customers know your company better than you do
Sharepoint is a great example. How many of us deployed Sharepoint and then went back later and there were loads of creative “systems” built on top of it? Or Microsoft Excel which is probably still the most heavily used “data mining” tool? A more recent example, social tools like Chatter from Salesforce, Twitter or Facebook that have morphed from a social networking tool to an architecture that can be built on.
I think there are two keys around this that we as IT professionals and CIO’s need to keep in mind:
1. Users will and should be able to adapt systems and tools to suit their needs
2. IT needs to encourage and evangelize the creative things users do, rather than try to stop them
Of course this means we need to embrace the consumerization of IT that has been going on for sometime rather that try to stifle it. We need a way to see what tools our most successful people and teams are using whether they are in house or cloud based, so we can help the rest of the business leverage them. The only way to accomplish this is to deploy business analytics and IT operational efficiency solutions that can help us capture this growing trend towards leveraging consumer applications in the enterprise.
Too many times IT tries to control and limit when we should be training and fostering the use of new technology to make our business better. If we want to remain relevant we need to adjust to the new consumers.