A friend recently began a new role with an organization and was busy beavering away sorting out her induction process.

As she did so, it came time to set up her shiny new corporate email account. Being a consultant filling multiple roles in multiple different organizations, she was keen to continue using her client of choice: Gmail on the web.

Off she trundled to IT to help to get it set up, only to be greeted by the response that so many people have historically heard from corporate IT: “No.”

It seems that this particular organization has a locked-down approach to email and it can only be accessed via the corporate desktop or remotely via a virtual desktop.

When asked if said friend could use her regular Gmail client, IT staffer’s response was that “No, we only support real email clients” (emphasis and frustration are mine.) An attitude that feels so, so old school to me… One that goes hand in hand with the sort of person that gets his thrills racking and stacking physical servers and counting flashing lights…

Now, I get it, it’s only email and conflating this response with organizational malaise is a bit of a step too far. I also get that corporate IT’s job is to ensure that bad stuff doesn’t happen and they’re only too aware of how much of a threat vector IT generally and email specifically are.

But still, I can’t but help but think that this is indicative of an attitude rife in corporate IT: that the business is there to serve IT needs not the other way around. There’s a reason that newer, more agile organizations are bypassing IT altogether and relying on third-party web-based applications where they don’t have to fight these internal battles on an everyday basis.

So, what do you think? Does IT have no choice but to batten down the hatches in response to modern threats, or in this day and age when agility is a core-requirement, do they need to relax a bit?

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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