Power Struggles: Who's running this network anyway?

By Ann Sullivan, Network World |  Networking

Like a 14-year-old who shows a bunch of kids how to inhale helium from balloons, some users aren’t such great influences on their peers.

One employee had been with his company for only two days when he downloaded Napster
-- and proceeded to teach everyone else in his department how to do so. "Thanks, new guy," quipped an IT staffer who witnessed the fallout. The company until then had been pretty liberal about employee Internet usage; not long after, network executives decided to block users from downloading music files.

Incidents such as this perpetuate the stereotypes that exist about users and IT staff members. Users view IT as an obstacle, and IT views users as uninformed troublemakers.

"Users should not be given carte blanche to do whatever they want, how they want, simply because they prefer something else or believe something else is better," writes one Network World Fusion reader. "It’s not their job, and they almost always end up creating bail-me-out work for IT."

From the other side of the fence, another reader writes: "IT should be introducing new applications to better meet users’ needs in the marketplace. Instead, they assign themselves the role of ‘standards cop,’ with the philosophy that everyone should mold their operations around IT rather than the other way around."

For IT, trying to keep things standard is a frustrating, draining proposition, particularly as users become more Internet-savvy and start playing with instant messaging, downloading audio files or tuning in to Internet radio.

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