I recently attended a CIO Executive Council event where some forward-thinking CIOs shared their perspectives on the challenges their colleagues faced. I found it very uplifting.

One of the themes that struck me was the tension that exists between the IT function's need to control IT and the users' needs to move quickly and in a manner appropriate to their environment whether that is growth-fuelled Australia or cost-conscious Bangladesh.

The issue of user devices and the iPad tsunami was raised. Today most IT functions promote a self-help discussion forum model.

And this seems to work. However an unexpected consequence is that such frameworks are promoting collaboration between users on issues more related to their main focus, for example business development.

This is a Viagra-like discovery. But only in as much as the typical usage today has diverged from the intended usage.

In any case it got me thinking that here is an example where the IT function has taken a labour-free approach to addressing a user need and has inadvertently delivered a bonus business benefit.


Can this do-less-to-help-the-business approach model be extended?

Imagine that you discover that one of your high performing subsidiaries has taken applications procurement into its own hands and is now happily, and successfully, managing customer information using products that are incompatible with your IT strategy.

The typical response would be to fire off klaxons in the boardroom and send a stern email to the head of sales in the subsidiary; after all your authority has been thrown into question. Behind the scenes the country manager has complained to the executive team that you are a power freak and are top of their risk register.

Next thing you have been told by the CEO to get back in your basket and desist in upsetting the subsidiary.

At this point you want to throw your toys out of the pram, power down the data centre and find a company that will value your contribution.