As IT applications become more reutilized all across the board, one of the interesting features are the occasional employees who know more than the IT staff about some critical thing, often many of them. Communication between staff and IT then becomes much more complicated, because the balance of power between the two groups based on the dependence of staff on IT for help and support breaks down. While there is certainly nothing wrong with knowledge about technology it can lead to mixed messages, confused goals, feelings of lack of appreciation and lack of support, and generally less than effective maintenance of IT across-the-board. We certainly don’t want to discourage our staff from acquiring technical knowledge, but we also don’t want them to use that knowledge as a political weapon against IT’s control of IT. Or do we? Maybe it’s a good thing to have a level of stress between staff and IT if it serves to keep both groups on their toes and trying to outdo each other.
At any rate, user support isn’t just looking after the least technological staff; increasingly, it’s also providing for the power users, and those who would be power users. Have you had any experience with this knowledge-based tension between staff and IT? Even if you haven’t, can you see how it could be a problem? What should we be doing about it?
We’ll be interested in your ideas here.
(Note: Students are STRONGLY encouraged to respond to each others posts and to ask each other questions based on their posts. Obviously, the earliest posters will have to respond to the “seed” question to get the discussion started. But subsequent posters should read through all the previous responses and can respond to something in a previous post rather than the “seed” question. For example, if you have had a similar problem as a previous poster or disagree with a point that a previous poster made, you can respond directly to the previous poster and get credit for participating in the discussion.)