IT and Users: An Inverse Relationship

Leaders often defer to the IT professionals when it comes to making decision about which IT systems to obtain and how to configure them. Unfortunately for those who want to avoid using up valuable synapses with information about IT systems, leaders are assuming an increasing role in making technology decisions.

The reason leader must participate in these decisions, especially in schools, is the opposite goals and needs of IT users and IT professionals. IT professionals seek to place tight controls on computers. The tighter the controls, the more difficult it is to change them, thus they are more secure and reliable.

IT users, on the other hand, seek IT system that are easy to use and that can be used with flexibility. Easy to use and flexible IT systems can be changed easily and are less secure.

Organizational leaders—those who are charged with the ultimate decision-making authority—are left in the position of deciding whose priorities will be given preference. In schools, they sometimes must decide that IT must be made more difficult to use so that it is secure, but when those configurations limit students’ and teachers’ ability to use the IT, then school leader must direct IT professionals to configure the systems so they work for users.