Geurrilla IT

My goal here is to post original content.  I generally don’t like to use this space to comment on someone else’s work.  But this InfoWorld article quotes me.  So, in the interest of self-promotion I am linking to it here:

Guerrilla IT: How to stop worrying and learn to love your superusers

I have always embraced our tech savvy employees.  They are my people.  When others were writing Internet Access policies that restricted employees use to “business-related sites,” we were encouraging people to join the Internet revolution.

I realize that IT cannot meet every possible need.  With tools like QuickBase we can unleash our tech savvy employees to meet their own needs, while keeping them in a sandbox.

As a bonus, the story also talks about Maureen Vadini, a former Parma Community General Hospital nurse that moved to IT to implement the Vocera communicator.

Speaking of Parma, does anyone else my age remember the Ghoul.  I think he was local to Detroit.

4 thoughts on “Geurrilla IT

  1. “Guerrilla” or “Shadow” IT can be a problem for IT but we have to realize that they exist for a reason and that is IT is not meeting their needs. The best way to control them is to out perform them in terms of service. We can never “legislate” it away.

    The truth is we probably don’t want to eliminate it entirely. As you point out they will often lead the way in terms of where the business needs to go.

    Finally, as the risk of showing my age, I not only remember the Ghoul, I remember Ghoulardi who started it all. Check out this good Wikipedia article on him http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghoulardi

  2. In a previous life I was very much the “Guerrilla” IT department for a remote branch of a Workers’ Comp administration. The IT department embraced this by putting me in charge of tech support for the branch and allowing me some license to create databases and user interfaces for mobile computing.

    Now I am an IT manager for a Health plan and the idea of one of my current users doing what I did back then could keep me awake at night. 😉 However, the approach I like to take is to identify those users that show enthusiasm for technology and try bring them into a center of excellence like our BI power users’ group or the eHealth task force.

  3. Great article, Will. I am glad you pointed to it. Guerrilla IT can often be a beautiful thing in that it takes on more of a natural process, has a minimal impact on the coffers, but also fills a need not currently being met. I also realize that a standardized, policed approach is beneficial in many ways for larger firms- but rarely does one size fit all.

    When consulting on a recent corporate project I commented to someone that surely a firm of such size already had a “guerrilla” CMS in place and they replied that security would have a field day if true. One search on the intranet showed a couple of guerrilla instances already in use for several years. While the corporate-wide initiative is going back to the drawing board, the viability of the guerrilla platforms is completely ignored. Success factors to be captured are 1. In-house technology prowess with a specific platform, requiring minimal support and budget 2. Business need is being met where it previously was not 3. Chronic progress with the guerrilla platform.

    What is your opinion on blanketed IT initiatives that are forced compared to those that are organic, or guerrilla-like? I am thinking in terms of cost, success, scale and total benefits derived. I know that this will vary taking into account the firm size and structure.

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