During past few decades little by little technology has replaced lot of human activities, specially the repetitive one’s which does not need thinking, overtime the velocity and scope of replacing humans has increased as the machine’s are made to think like human with the help of Artificial Intelligence and Machine learning, on the other hand lot of new technology providers and developers have enabled technologies to be directly used without technical knowledge and involvement of IT departments in corporate. Moreover, some of the business users have become more literate in technologies with the help of internet and social media which creates more delivery pressure for IT teams to deliver quality solutions in short time duration. This sums up the modern problems for CIO in user industries.
One of many possible solutions to address the volume of work that comes to IT department is making users create their own stuff and there are many tools which enables it such as self-service business intelligence tools and CRM tools. There are many challenges technology teams come across due to the concept called self-service. Some of them are discussed below
1) Lack of knowledge of the tools
Once the business start using the tools by themselves one of the major issues is answering number of queries that comes to IT department or Center of Excellence (CoE) to answer. Sometimes same question comes from different mediums calls, chats, emails and internal forums. Possible solutions for this issue would be
- Directing all the questions for a single forum. Anyone using a different medium can be informed that forum is the place for such questions and discussions.
- Motivate all internal people to contribute to the forum
- Create product or tool champions from user groups who could help other users
- Write articles on new features and PoC’s and make it available for users
2) Violation of Information Technology and Information Security policies
I have come across many instances where business does not follow right policies due to either lack of knowledge of the tool or lack of knowledge of the policies themselves, as an example there are company financial information which should only be accessible to finance department and employee compensation related information which only should be accessible to HR teams but by mistake they have been made publicly available just because of lack of knowledge on sharing process of the tools used. To avoid this kind of issues it is important that all such implementations are done with at least under review of the IT and ISO teams.
3) Performance issues
Even though usage of tools could be simple there are underlying supporting activities that happens in the tool which end users might not have enough knowledge, which will result in complains from the business teams that the tool selected is not correct for the business purpose. As a solution for this scenario it is important that underlying technology stack is approved by technology teams and monitored by them continuously to make sure right configuration is maintained for serving the business purpose.
4) Wrong evaluations of application
There are instances where business teams go ahead and acquire tools for themselves thinking that they have enough knowledge to decide tools for their business needs but ultimately, they end up coming to IT team when they figure out that the tool is not working for them. In such cases it is important to help technology teams to understand the reasons for the problems they are facing and which criteria’s they have missed in the assessments and if there are possible fixes helping them in resolving such issues will create a better relationship between the business and the technology teams. As a precaution business teams can be given a criterion for evaluation and request to have a representation from technology department for vendor interactions.
5) Wrong hires
There are instances where business teams have gone and hired technical resources, but they didn’t have the skills that were required to handle the tasks business was expecting to handle. Ultimately, they come to technology department to resolve the problem. In such cases what we do is understand the gap and ramp up the person if the person has capacity to learn. As a precaution we will have to keep the business and HR teams informed that whenever someone with technology skills are hired technology team must be kept in loop.
With modern dynamic nature of technology, businesses are expected kept inline with the technology as a threshold (not even for competitive advantage), hence it is important that business and technology teams hold hands and support each other to win business. The relationships between departments and every individual greatly matters for business success.
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