Editor's note: The following is a guest article from Tatyana Mamut, SVP of new products at Pendo.
Listening to some experts, you'd think the IT department was on its way out for good.
In today's digital workplace, we're told, it makes no sense to vest one single department with responsibility for driving adoption of software and managing a company's tech portfolio. It leads to a siloing that stifles innovation, hampers agility, and blocks digital transformation.
IT departments, critics say, are relics of a bygone era fading into irrelevance. Companies should get rid of them, integrating what were previously IT duties into every department.
On the surface, this logic makes sense. In just a few short years, software has gone from being one element of the workplace to the workplace itself — the means by which teams communicate, collaborate, set goals and execute on them.
With so much riding on workplace tech, it would seem that no one department can or should be the sole owners of managing apps and driving digital transformation.
Not only does siloing seem to set IT with an impossible task, it gives everyone else license to abdicate their own responsibilities for realizing tech goals.
Critics use these and other arguments to make the case for distributing IT's role and responsibility across the organization. But making tech management cross-departmental carries its own risks of failure.
While it's true, for example, that a siloed approach to digital transformation is all but doomed to fail, it's equally true that an excessively decentralized approach risks failure – and for essentially the same reason.
If ownership becomes too diffuse, the risk is that no one department or person will feel the need to take personal responsibility. In other words, if it's everyone's problem, it's no one's problem.
Getting rid of IT also risks creating an environment where there's no single source of truth in app and tech governance. Different departments may use different apps for the same purposes, wasting money and hindering efficiency in the process. This is a problem we've seen out in the wild.
Duplicative apps and lack of a governance over software lead to wasteful spending and hurt company growth in other, more indirect ways. Teams using different apps for the same purpose aren't collaborating in the ways they could and should be.
Employees frustrated by having to navigate a confusing app space at work are less productive, confident, and satisfied. Without a go-to authority on tech-related problems and issues, organizations can find themselves adrift in a sea of conflicting apps and processes.
So what is the best way forward? Reject the false dichotomy of siloed IT vs. no IT at all.
Because of its expertise in tech and resources, IT is still the best entity to take ownership of digital transformation efforts. But it can do so by enlisting the help of others — for example, by working with executive sponsors and building a network of champions across various other departments.
These champions will be closer in day-to-day authority and work to the employees adopting new software, and therefore in a better position to drive change among them.