Perhaps this is usefully similar to the case of “running Perl on a shared hosting service,” where of course you cannot do anything to, or about, the existing Perl environment. You can define your own local directory, point cpan at it as the installation target, and arrange to insert this library first in PERL5LIB. Now you can install your own modules, using ordinary cpan methods. Your modules will supersede (if necessary) the installation libraries, and you alone will have the additional modules and/or more-current versions that you need, but no one will see it or be affected by it other than you.
There are various ways to use this. For interactive sessions, .bash_profile (or Windows control panel settings) can set up the necessary environment variables at login. For mod_perl, there are server settings. For FastCGI, it can be handy to define a “trampoline shell-script” that sets up the environment before launching Perl with the original set of parameters.
(Super Search is your BFF.)
Obviously, you must “negotiate the politics” before doing anything, but this just might simultaneously satisfy the concerns both of the IT Department and of your project, because the scope is absolutely limited. You get what you need to pursue your project most efficiently, without touching the surrounding environment in any way. I think you could get a blessing for that. (And it goes without saying that you must get a blessing for that. But, if you are right now coding modules by hand that are available in cpan, a business justification should be easy to make because right now they’re wasting money on your project.)
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