The real force behind BYOD

You can blame the iPhone, Salesforce.com, and Facebook, but the truth is that business itself has driven the shift to employee-directed tech

By , InfoWorld |  IT Management, BYOD, consumerization of IT

In other words, whereas employees are told to act like adults when it comes to their retirement and skills, they're treated like babies when it comes to technology usage.

As workers are told to be more independent and self-supporting, they're fenced in at home. Abbie Lundberg, the former editor in chief of CIO magazine and now a technology management consultant, has a great analogy for this situation: IT, the CSO, the legal department, and often HR treat business employees as babies who they lock in the house so that they don't crawl out into the street and get killed.

The better metaphor, she says, is to think of business staff as teenagers who are going to drive the car whether you want them to or not. It's better to teach them how to drive and set limits and expectations such as having a curfew and no-consequences permission to call for help if they do get in trouble.

The truth is that if you fence them in, they will find a way out. And that is what will get them -- and the company -- in trouble. Remember, today's knowledge workers are valued for their creativity and drive, and their technology familiarity lets them act on it in the realm once the sanctum of IT.

Many in IT are living in a fool's paradiseThe uncomfortable reality for IT and business executives is that most are operating in a fool's paradise when it comes to the consumerization trend. A recent IDC study shows that although 40% of IT decision makers say they let employees access corporate information from employee-owned devices, 70% of employees say they access corporate data that way. That means in many organizations IT has no real handle on what is actually happening in the systems it is managing. IDC's research also shows that the use of personally owned devices is only growing.

Other IDC research shows the IT disconnect from the already-consumerized technology reality in their companies. Note the mismatch in the slide below between IT's and users' views of policies relating to who pays for mobile services: IT thinks that the business determines and directly pays for business-related access, a view shared only by BlackBerry users (those whom IT provisions). Users of other mobile platforms say they bear the costs or charge them to the company as an expense -- and thus make the decisions. In other words, these IT organizations see only the BlackBerrys that represent the pre-consumerization state of their organizations.


Originally published on InfoWorld |  Click here to read the original story.
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