Global AI and Data Science

 View Only

Do we still need internal IT?

By Errol Brandt posted Sat August 05, 2023 08:29 PM


For years, I've been grappling with internal IT departments. My first skirmish was over Microsoft Access in the 1990s. I was told that Access databases were dangerous and weren't supported. I was instructed to remove the database and submit a request to have a 'proper' solution developed. Of course, the IT project backlog was enormous, and it was never going to happen, so I found an unused SQL server on the network, and rewrote the application there. Problem solved.

A few years later, when mobile phones were a thing, they told me I would be issued with a Samsung, and there was no way I could use my Apple. So, I diverted the number to my personal iPhone and used the Samsung phone as a paperclip holder. Problem solved.

Several years ago, I was trying to develop an internal knowledge base solution for IBM Planning Analytics. We wanted to find a way of sharing both process knowledge and technical details in the one place. Yeah, crazy I know.

Having tried and failed with SharePoint, I decided to give MediaWiki a try.  That too, apparently, was impossible with internal IT.

Firstly, it was open source, and therefore they believed it was inherently risky! This is in interesting, given that Linux is open source and runs more than 95% of servers globally. So, as a mere user, my choice was SharePoint or nothing. So I found an internal contractor who set it up as a Docker container on the PAW development server.  Problem solved.

I don’t dismiss the importance of IT security, nor do I recommend that others actively find ways to circumvent IT bureaucracy. But I do think it's a real problem when IT departments leave users frustrated and lacking access to anything outside the Microsoft suite.

Thanks to generative AI, tech innovation is booming. In the next few years, we're going to see some amazing new solutions to old problems, and the companies that move quickly will gain a competitive advantage.

That's not to say that there aren't risks, but risks can be mitigated.. if you want.

As more and more applications move into the cloud, internal IT departments are losing their power. Sure, they can block sites from their networks, but users working from home will just disconnect the VPN and work around them.

However, let's not tar everybody with the same brush. I've worked with countless professional and helpful IT people who were equally committed to solving problems. But I've also come across a lot of bureaucrats and IT leaders who fear the cloud because of their loss of control.

Now, with the emergence of AI, the die is cast.

Unless internal IT departments get better at solving business problems collaboratively, it's going to be hard to see how anyone will regard this as a critical business function in the future.