Ready for self-service IT?
Users are asking for more ways to handle their IT services and data on their own, and you're giving them tools to do so. But can they really handle this empowerment? The answer, according to analysts and IT pros alike, is yes...and no, reports Tracy Mayor at Computerworld.
People are much more comfortable with technology than they were even a decade ago, but that doesn't mean they are sufficiently skilled to handle their own business intelligence queries. Insufficient skills combined with false confidence "sets the stage for a perfect storm in self-service IT," Mayor writes. In this storm, users can "run amok in business systems, draw bad conclusions from randomly mashed-up data or corrupt IT's once-pristine data stores."
Some employees, especially the younger set, are eager to figure out answers on their own, even if they don't have all the necessary knowledge at hand. When it comes to the company's data, IT and the business units have to negotiate to determine who is allowed to do what, says Cindi Howson, founder of business intelligence consultancy BIScorecard.
The trick to successful self-service IT is to give users adequate power without overwhelming them or putting the company data in jeopardy, Mayor writes. She outlines five suggestions:
1. "Retain tight control over corporate data. User access to that data is important but should never supplant security, privacy or compliance concerns."
2. "Know who you're designing for. Users with different roles and technical skills may need different types of tools."
3. "Rather than asking what data business users think they need, find out what decisions they need to make or tasks they need to accomplish."
4. "Consider bringing in a business analyst during the project's planning stages to facilitate communication between business users and IT."
5. "Test with a small group of users to quickly identify and address trouble spots."
- see Tracy Mayor's article at Computerworld