Write the User-Oriented IT Constitution

Now that the BYOD revolution has changed the landscape of business productivity for nearly every organization as well as changed the expectations of users with their IT departments, it’s time to look at creating a user-oriented constitution for IT.

Recently United States celebrated Independence Day.  That’s the day when the people said they could govern ourselves better and were creating a new government.

LANDesk’s America’s Field Marketing Director came up with a related analogy for User-Oriented IT. He brought up the fact that when the iPhone and the iPad came out and users started bringing them to work, it was like the Declaration of Independence, with users stating that they could be productive without IT. In other words IT no longer controlled all the assets that made people productive at work.

After the American colonies won their independence, they were faced with the issue of banding together and becoming a nation or remaining independent states or colonies. It took a concerted effort by many delegates to create the US Constitution, which outlines the governing principles by which to “form a more perfect union” or government. It took four months to create the US Constitution, nearly a year for the states to ratify it and another year and a half to fully implement all three branches of the government. The question that has to be asked is this: In a governing sense did the Declaration of Independence provide freedom or did the Constitution, or is freedom created in the actions and responsibility of the everyday people?

IT faces similar questions. Now that the BYOD revolution has changed the landscape of business productivity for nearly every organization as well as changed the expectations of users with their IT departments, it’s time to look at creating a user-oriented constitution (read: strategy) for IT. It would include checks and balances between users and IT, where more responsibility and initiative is taken by the users, which would give them more choice and freedom. Meanwhile, IT could still have control and protect the data that’s the lifeblood of the organization.

This document is really your IT strategy and how you will adopt certain policies and processes to accommodate the revolution of BYOD. Making sure the user enjoys greater freedom and choice will ensure the strategic position of IT into the future as well as increase the overall productivity of nearly every user in your organization.

Here are seven characteristics of what a User-Oriented IT Constitution or Strategy should include:

  1. Establish productivity gains as goals of the constitution
  2. Align IT spend with business process and show what percentage of the IT investment will go toward increasing user productivity
  3. Identify governance, policy, and security guidelines
  4. Write it in such a way that it spells out the principles of governance more than the details of policy. Detailed policies could be included in an accompanying document.
  5. Provide clear guidance on who owns or is responsible for what in the user-oriented IT experience (e.g., the goals of a self-service model. What will IT provide and what experience and responsibility will the user have.)
  6. Make it easy to articulate the strategy to Business Leaders or involve them in its creation.
  7. Provide for the incremental evolution of IT that demonstrates how current IT operations and management will continue and co-exist with new methods

Once the strategy is in place, it needs to be accompanied by a straightforward action plan for delivering on User-Oriented IT—preferably in phases. You may want to consult with LANDesk professional services about developing the action along with your strategy. That way your IT department can continue to demonstrate your strategic position by empowering every user in your organization.

Much like the implementation of a new government after a revolution or maybe writing an amendment to a constitution so the government works better, this project takes some time and should be done in stages. After all, it took the United States roughly three years to create a new form of government and implement it. With today’s technology, you should be able to do it faster. However, see if you can outline your constitution/strategy and an action plan that details an 18-month to three-year implementation for user-oriented IT in your organization. If you do this, you’ll demonstrate to your organization how strategic IT really is and how much managed freedom you can provide to the entire organization.