Think of this differently, though. By putting in place such a group, you've basically taken IT out of the support loop, except as an observer. If you could do that with Macs, why couldn't you do it with, well, everything? Small companies don't have IT departments, and they seem to do just fine-and off we go down the slippery slope, arguing whether IT is relevant.
If Users Were Customers, They'd Take Their Money Elsewhere
Most of the IT groups I've worked with over the years seem to have trouble grasping that they are essentially staff organizations. In that sense, line groups are customers. If a customer decides to either use a third-party service or buy his or her own over something any vendor supplies, that is a lost customer. The line group's funding will likely follow.
If IT sits back in a BYOD world and does the bare minimum to get employee-sourced hardware to function, that will just hasten the discussion about whether the line organizations need IT at all. Eventually, the line organization will recognize that it is doing much of the visible work itself and decide to insource IT functions.
Granted, in doing so the organization is likely to suddenly discover all of the unsung things the IT department had been doing. By then, though, it will be too late, as the IT staff has been laid off, replaced by a hosting company, service or a line-staffed replacement function.
How to Convince Everyone That IT Matters in a BYOD World
Hope is not lost. Even in a BYOD world, the IT department can be relevant, though it might work a bit differently than before.
- IT can help with the device selection and the location of support resources.
- IT can get volume discounts for employees. This will reduce the sticker price of devices and give the company the special treatment that volume purchasers often enjoy over one-off buyers.
- IT can warn users about security or services issues they may not be aware of, not to mention drafting a successful BYOD policy that protect both the business and, as a result, the employee's job.
- Above all, IT can stay in touch with users, figure out what they need and actively work to both assure users that they are in fact relevant and remind users what IT is doing done on their behalf.
Many outsourcing decisions are based on bad information. Ensuring that decision makers always find you and your organization valuable is a top priority if you want to keep your job, regardless of where you work in a company. In a BYOD world, this is also critical for nothing less than the IT department's survival.