I’ve never thought of an IT organization as the storekeeper of technology before. But that’s how it’s portrayed in the CITO Research white paper “From Gatekeeper to Enabler: How the Role of IT Is Fundamentally Changing.” And I like it!

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In this white paper, QlikTech’s VP of Product Management Donald Farmer and Dan Woods, CTO and editor of CITO Research, put their heads together and share their thinking about how the role of IT is transforming. The gist of it:

  • IT’s role in the past: gatekeeper. In this role, IT was tasked with making sure that enterprise systems were secure, scalable, reliable, cost-effective, efficient, resilient in times of trouble, and compliant with industry and government regulations. Business users went to IT for all their needs – from hardware to software to data to networking – and IT was often put in the position of being the “no” people. “From a traditional end-user’s point of view,” the authors say, “the IT department held a virtual monopoly on corporate technology. Its domain was the back office, and its primary directive was to achieve a high level of operational efficiency.”
  • IT’s role in the future: storekeeper. In the role of storekeeper, IT becomes the “yes” people. IT becomes the proprietor of an IT store. Inside the store, IT manages mission-critical systems and master data. IT selectively exposes portions of these assets to users who need them as a foundation for solving problems. The storekeeper provides as much self-service as possible. And, importantly, instead of trying to manufacture or manage all use of technology throughout the organization, IT monitors activity taking place outside the store, staying on the lookout for new trends and business user-adopted technologies that could add value to the business in a broader way. IT then brings the most valuable of these into the store.

By supporting communities of business users and moving away from the old gatekeeper role, the IT department becomes an enabler of productivity and a more direct partner in the business. What do you think? Does this sound like a good idea? You can read more in the CITO Research white paper, “From Gatekeeper to Enabler: How the Role of IT Is Fundamentally Changing” (registration required). Let me know your thoughts.