'Technology democracy' pressures IT status quo

IT departments’ prerogative to dictate the way in which technology is procured, deployed, and used is being challenged, as employees are increasingly demanding "technology democracy".

Entitled ‘Power to the people? Managing technology democracy in the workplace’, and sponsored by Trend Micro, the report found that European companies are not ready to embrace technology democracy: 47 per cent of European executives surveyed by the EIU say that management of their firms ‘resist extending greater technology freedom’ to employees. A similar number claim that management is supportive, but the fact that few companies provide training to staff in the workplace use of, for example, personal communications devices and social networking applications, suggests that readiness for technology democracy is not high.

This pressure will ‘mount on corporate and IT management as a younger cohort of employees’ who are ‘reliant’ on social networking, messaging, and other personal networking technologies to conduct their work permeates organisations, the report predicts.

The IT function will “inevitably lose some control over IT use” as a result, says EIU director of global technology research Denis McCauley, “but this will be no bad thing provided the risks are managed."

The report also suggests that some IT decentralisation may be needed to manage security risks. Asked their view on the implications of greater technology freedom for the IT function, survey respondents’ replied that the ‘delegation of responsibility for information security to individual business units’ is the most likely outcome.

This would allow the IT function to focus on other tasks, such as the management of firewalls and other aspects of physical network security and tracking new external threats.

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