A blog by Atle Skjekkeland


Subscribe to get new infographics, checklists and slides.

User-Centric IT: Let staff use whatever app they want?

Posted by Atle Skjekkeland on Jul 31, 2014 7:13:00 AM

Find me on:

What would happen if you encouraged staff to buy and implement whatever app they want? They should NOT just request new apps from IT, but actively find and use any new app that can improve business operations. What would be the implications of this?

Before we answer this question, think through who is responsible for identifying technology that can innovate business processes. I am not just talking about checking out new gadgets, but exploring how new technology can add value, reduce costs, manage risks, and/or create blue-ocean opportunity.

  • Most IT departments are not actively trying to innovate the business, - they often only get involved when tasked with solving a problem.
  • Most executives are not like Steve Jobs, - you can't rely on them to come up with all new ideas.
  • Knowledge workers should be best source for innovation, - we just have task them with it! Encourage them to go out and try new technology. IT shouldn't stop this, but guide staff how to best do it (ensure SLL, encryption at rest for confidential information, etc). 

Makes sense? If so, what would then be the corporate-driven apps vs user-driven apps? How about a new CRM, ERP, or HR system? What makes this different? I don't think it is! You innovate best an HR department by encouraging the HR executive and their staff to be innovative. They should be tasked with looking at how technology can improve their processes. 

Our friends at Gartner claims that business people currently control 35% of IT spending, but this will grow to 90% by 2020. I am not sure how they reached this conclusion, but the outcome would be Bring Your Own App (BYOA).


Lets then try to answer the question; What would happen if you encouraged staff to buy and implement whatever app they want? 

What would happen?

  • Staff would try to find new apps that will improve the business
  • Many staff would probably get together to figure out the best solution for them
  • Focus would change from IT to business for innovating business operations 
  • When staff end up adopting different apps for the same purpose, the best app would win over time.

What would be the implications for IT departments?

  • Need to define what it will take for IT staff to handle any integration, configuration, implementation, and/or support
  • Change its focus to people, information, and knowledge (change focus from plumbing to what flows through the pipes)
  • Manage security, privacy, and information management compliance. 

What do you think? Would this work for your organization? If this is the case, then numbered are the days of the Gestapo IT department that requires staff to only use stuff they approve and support. This also may mean the end of the traditional RFP process. It’s a new world out there.

Remember to also check out the following resources;

Information Chaos V Information Opportunity


Topics: user-centric IT

Subscribe to Email Updates

Welcome to my blog. My name is Atle Skjekkeland, Chief Evangelist at AIIM – the Association for Information and Image Management.

I am a modern day Norwegian viking fighting for how to best use technology to transform businesses. Join me explore how technology and information can be used to create a new reality, add value, reduce costs, or manage risk.

I have for the last 9 years lived with my family in "Vinland" - this is what the vikings used to call America when they discovered this continent hundreds of years before Columbus. But even vikings get homesick, and our new home is now in Kristiansand, Norway.

Join me to explore how to best transform businesses to become digital businesses. If I can help, contact me at askjekkeland@aiim.org.

Follow me on: twitter-icon linked-icon youtube-icon

Recent Posts