Once It Was IT Departments Who Laughed At Users—But Soon Those Users Could Be Having the Last Laugh Back

With jokes such as “User Error: 1D10T” and tales of woe of incompetent clients, IT departments have often made jokes about clueless users as a way to vent steam—but the tables could soon turn…

Hit up any IT department as a fly on the wall—or indeed anywhere where IT techs and their managers congregate—and it won’t be long before the stories and jokes break out—often focusing on the technical ineptitude of a user unable to work out something seemingly basic.

Outside of the jokes, this mistrust of the users whom they service has manifested as control. Whether through processes and restrictions on software, holding back access to certain functions has led to less support tickets—at the cost of a little extra efficiency.

This trust can overstep the line: at one point, I was even asked to restrict all users of a system from deleting data—any data—simply because they could not be trusted!

More than an amusing dig at the imagined cluelessness of the user, this reflects an imbalance between trust and control—and with a young demographic coming into the marketplace, this simply has to change.

Today’s 21 year olds grew up around computers, and are rarely without their smartphone, which they use for a mind-boggling array of purposes. At the same time, this tech-savvy generation knows from their academic career how to use Office 365, and understand the cloud with a fluency that older generations simply cannot match—even those in IT departments.

Restricting the cloud programs that this new generation of the workforce can use is the opposite of intuitive. I have seen companies roll out a OneDrive solution because this is all the business can support, when at home they are using cloud services such as SharePoint, video library, effortlessly sharing content with their peers with appropriate restrictions in place as necessary.

The problem here lies with an IT department stuck in its old ways. A user familiar with a fully-functional suite of cloud sharing will simply mock an IT department rolling out a restricted solution that offers limited functionality.

By not utilizing licenses that offer a full suite of functionality and effortless sharing, the IT department that once laughed at its user’s limitations will now find users laughing at them—and simply not using the semi-functional sharing solution in use. Ultimately, the business loses money through lost productivity and internecine departmental jibes.

With an emerging workforce that is the most IT literate ever seen—and likely to increase even more so over time, IT departments need to find a new balance between trust and control. The jokes may change as the workforce evolves—but adaption is vital if IT departments wish to still exist in future years.

About the Author



Steve Dalby manages content for important people.  The user! SharePoint and Office 365 are the tools of his trade. Steve has produced business relevant governance strategies and business Change programs to allow the end user to focus on the content and IT department to focus on the delivery of an Enterprise Content management service both in and out of the cloud.  If you want to hear about his successes.  Email for more details.  SteveDalby@sei-is.be

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