You'll find that IT enemies try to sandbag user-generated technology, often with the help of vendors all too willing to sell to their fears or craven desire for control. Take mobile again: One of the biggest mobile device management vendors promotes its ability to prevent users from copying text from emails on their smartphones and tablets, thus rendering these mobile devices ineffectual for real business use. However, the companies that hamper employees this way don't do the same for email on laptops and home PCs. The true goal here is not security but quashing user-driven technology.
By contrast, an IT ally will work with you to meet the legitimate GCR, security, and efficiency requirements within the context of your needs as a user or business unit. That doesn't mean a blank check for users, but it does mean a constructive engagement where IT educates you on the risks, helps you overcome them, and lets the business leadership ultimately decide if IT's approaches are more restrictive (or not) than necessary.
That last point is important: IT may be responsible for the technical deployment and maintenance of systems designed to meet GCR, security, and efficiency goals, but it's not IT's job to decide acceptable levels for GCR, security, and efficiency. That's a business decision. It's true that many leadership teams have punted on these decisions, requiring maximum levels to deflect their own responsibility and dumping the problem into IT's hands. But in this era of IT consumerization, such poor management is quickly exposed as employee technology demands force the risk questions into the open. From there, a savvy CIO can pass the buck back where it belongs.
However, many in IT have taken it upon themselves to dictate the standards for GCR, security, and efficiency, and they don't want to give it back. Some do so for the power, some for job security, and some to satisfy a "rescuer" impulse.
When you hear the code phrases, explore the motivation behind them. Your IT allies are motivated by positive reasons and want positive outcomes, with win-wins wherever possible. You'll know when you deal with these people: They look to satisfy your wants and desires but draw the limit at clear, reasonable lines of risk that they willingly explain.
Conversely, you may have IT allies who don't know how to partner with you and provide canned or knee-jerk responses, but they would cooperate if you reach out and build the mutual trusting relationship in steps. IT allies aren't yes-men, but they start with the premise of "let's see how close we can get to what you want or need."
The IT enemies are those who always have a reason to say no, who use FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) scare tactics to bully you away from your wants and needs, and who say yes but never deliver. They act like they know your job better than you do, and they decide how the business should operate and what risks are acceptable. A smart CIO will get rid of these people when proof is available (so complain!). A dumb CIO will expose himself or herself by doing nothing, for which the board has a simple solution: replace that CIO.
When you eliminate the enemies in IT, you should end up with colleagues who know their stuff, respect that you know your stuff, and constructively collaborate with you. Of course, you need to reciprocate not only with IT but with other departments in the business as well. And you do, right? If not, your IT enemies may not be your biggest problem.
This article, "How to thwart the high priests of IT," 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.