How to manage maverick developments?

Posted on March 20, 2009


16757691o_aixIt is not uncommon today in corporation with centralized IT services, to see flourish individual business unit initiatives integrating themselves software development. Most of the time, IT is put aside of these developments and detect them whilst the company is audited or when a change in IT policies hinder or disable the access to these applications.

Invoking slowness in answering their needs, management feels empowered by the business imperative to address alone their unfulfilled demands. The fact is that technology-based improvements are implemented without involving IT. It demonstrates an important flaw in the relationship and the perception of the IT function.

Leaders need to recognize the threats as well as the opportunities created by this common practice. Threats are multiple and mostly focus on security and life cycle management of business applications. Conversely opportunities are rarely properly identified, as IT tends to be reluctant to sustain solutions from which they were not engaged originally.

Although these developments are often not the state of the art in term of design, compliance, sizing & sustainability, they truly deliver the expected value in the eye of the business. Quickly developed and customizable they are up and running in a month.

We should see these initiatives as genuine opportunities to enable rapid improvements. IT department could design & promote a secure framework (infrastructure, sourcing, standard practices) for such developments, and will benefits from new practices enforced by the management. For instance we all acknowledge the true disruption that specific technologies are creating over an organization such. We could leverage the changes (process, culture) implemented with these Marwick initiatives to enable large-scale development of standard technologies.

Facilitating, whilst insuring the full compliance of the solutions developed, this approach could better promote the voice of the customer within an organization.