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Anyone Can Deploy Social Business Tools Without IT: Is That Good or Bad?

Posted by on March 23, 2011

I’ve been involved in a few interesting discussions around the role of IT lately, specifically where does IT fit within social business?  I’ve also been to a few prospect meetings where organizations were looking to deploy social tools and strategies to either interact with customers or employees, what’s been very interesting to me is that in all of the meetings I’ve had there hasn’t been a single person from IT involved.

Now of course IT isn’t dead in fact I think it’s going to become even more crucial in the near future as integration of technologies, data, and systems becomes necessitated.  However, it’s been quite amazing to see that technology and platform discussions are being had and understood without someone from IT being present.  Business leaders and department managers no longer need to rely on IT professionals to get things done. Deployments are now cloud based and simple.  This is both a good thing and a bad thing.

The good

Since technologies can be deployed by business mangers (or employees), the barrier to get them up and running is quite low.  Years ago in organizations if someone wanted a blog set up it could take weeks or months before from someone from IT could get around to the project, now anyone can launch a blog within just a few minutes without having any type of technical background.  When employees have problems they can quickly turn to technology solutions which best meet their needs.  So, the good news is that anyone can do it at any time in a cost effective and time effective way without dealing with the complexities of IT.

The bad

Since these tools are so easy to deploy organizations can oftentimes run into problems with too many tools being deployed by too many people or departments.  It’s a bit like trying to play “whack-a-mole” with technology.  What happens when one organization starts using dozens or hundreds of solutions each with it’s own data, information, processes, and users?  We start to see duplication of content, lack of standardization, and basically we end up having a big technology mess (which is one of the reasons why IT is needed here).  When it becomes this easy to deploy something the left hand has a hard time keep track of what the right hand is doing.  Just because technologies can be deployed doesn’t mean they should.  Too many solutions just ends up causing more problems and data silos within organizations.

So, what’s the best solution?  Well, it’s hard to say actually, I think it’s a bit too early to tell what the best solution is and I also find that every organization has a different way of approaching their own problems (and they have their own unique problems to begin with).  I suppose every approach has it’s pros and cons.  Do you allow employees to deploy whatever tools they want or do you dictate/advise them on the tools that they should be using?  Both can work and both can fail!

What do you think about where IT needs to fit within social business?