How many of you are using the microblogging tool Yammer in the company? I see more and more companies that are adopting it and the funny thing is: it gets more quickly adoption than their existing company enforced tools and it’s not controlled by their internal IT department. Honestly it’s kind of a nightmare for many CIOs.
Yammer is only the top of the iceberg. How many of you are using (of have developed it yourself) little tools that bring a big added value to your daily work but that the internal IT department could not provide you? People are used to getting more and more what they want, you can’t blame them with what they can get on the internet.
There are two things you can do as an IT department: resist (and thus losing all control since the users will do it anyway) or act as an enabler by providing them the platform and tools. If internal business units insist on having their own spreadsheets with data from the SAP system or build little applications very quickly and cheaply, why not providing them with a platform that they can easily extend? By doing that, you still have control on who accesses what, you know what is happening in your IT landscape and the end-user will be more happy.
There is a big shift going on where the internal IT department acts more and more as an enabler of solutions rather than being the sole solutions provider. Give people Amazon EC2 instances, give people an IBM sMash platform to build quickly enterprise mashups with SAP data, open up internal APIs to access information. Either go with the flow, or see your users (who are in fact the IT department’s customers) go away…

Lee Provoost is a Cloud Computing Strategist and ERP+ lead at Capgemini. You can follow his ongoing stream of thoughts on Twitter