Here's what Forrester suggests IT should look into: business collaboration, client management suites, file syncing, infrastructure as a service (IaaS), innovation management and ideation platforms, mobile device management (MDM), platform as a service (PaaS), productivity, public social media, security and identity management, self-service BI, smartphones, social marketing management tools, tablets, videoconferencing, and video platforms.
Some elements on that list have long been or should be in IT's charter: business collaboration, client management suites, file syncing, IaaS, mobile device management (which is just an aspect of overall client management), PaaS, security and identity management, and self-service BI. These are all platform technologies that either enable or govern enterprisewide activities. Certainly there are aspects of these -- I'm thinking cloud and multidevice file sharing -- where IT can help adjust to new use cases and new endpoints, but they should not be treated as divorced from traditional information technologies and processes.
Other elements are faddish: innovation management and ideation platforms, videoconferencing, and video platforms. I've been hearing about the promise of video chats and video in business for two decades -- they can have their place, but they are niche technologies that should get only niche attention, probably at the department level. Innovation platforms come and go in terms of vendor attention; there are some industries where they can be helpful, assuming there is an innovation process to be aided through technology, but in many more situations, they are just more process for the sake of process.
Most of the others are not and should not be IT's concern per se -- I'm thinking smartphones, tablets, and even so-called productivity tools, which are really job-specific tools. IT's job is to set the policies for access control, user authentication, information flow, and so forth -- not to worry about the endpoint devices as long as they meet the policies.
Finally, there are the two special cases: public social media and social marketing management tools. Both can be considered departmental technologies that IT could manage or simply defer to an outsourcer or cloud provider, focusing IT's role on governance and data integration issues. In the 1990s, most large enterprises quashed the notion of departmental computing, as it led to duplication of infrastructure and breaks in information flow and process flow. But sometimes, organizations also blew up or absorbed truly departmental functions into bigger tools where they lost their focus.
Social media and social marketing are specialty activities, like HR management tools, accounting tools, and chemical analysis tools. They may hook into a common communications back end, get data from a common ERP or CRM system -- what IT should own and manage -- but the tools and processes related to the specialized social tasks belong in the business unit charged with social and marketing activities. These are the kinds of areas where IT and individuals have to ally, because both are needed for different aspects of the technology.
Consumerization is not a black-and-white phenomenon, and how to handle the technologies that empowered users requires more than a black-and-white solution.
This article, "Hands off, IT: 5 key technologies users must own," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more of Galen Gruman's Smart User blog at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.