Campus Technology has an interesting article about Going behind IT's back. It's a symptom of the consumerization of technology, where faculty and staff bring technology into the campus on their own terms. Sometimes they work with IT on the new technology, and that's great when they do. At other times, they try to hide it from IT, and that's not good.
The article provides these scenarios:
On the faculty and staff side, instructors might set up their own learning management systems because they can't stand the one preferred by the university—and then they want single sign-on, which requires integration with the campus identity access management system. Or somebody might put up a website built by an off-campus vendor, only to discover that the site's not ADA-compliant. Or a faculty member might download confidential information for the purposes of research, and then lose the laptop—putting the institution into legal jeopardy with a data breach.
Timothy Chester (CIO, UGA) has this suggestion: "Figure out better ways of doing things and let these solutions sell themselves." That requires working with our users, rather than against them. I've said before that IT needs to stop saying no. We need to face up to personal devices entering the campus network; it's naive to assume this will be a passing fad. IT departments need to embrace BYOD. We need to stop saying "no" to customers, and find ways to say "let me help you."
The article recommends 5 ways to work with your faculty, to bring IT out of the shadows:
- Talk to your users. "Find out about the day-in-the-life of your average 19-year-old. Talk to a lot of them. Watch a lot of them. Then, from that knowledge, develop a sense of how they value services as opposed to what you think works best for them. Once you get a good sense of that, you're in a much better position to think about where you might add value."
- Learn how to ask the right questions. "The end users will probably have very good solutions, but they may be reluctant to tell you because they're not technical."
- Choose where to focus. Sometimes IT's perception of its service-delivery strengths doesn't match up with user views. Where can you add the most value?
- Add value as a broker. CIOs broker services for the organization, rather than simply providing infrastructure. Don't be afraid to move from servers to services.
- Take on the role of liaison. IT can bring individual schools, colleges, and departments together to share their experiences and spark new ideas. The answer is in the room, you just need to find it.