I’d like to imagine an IT future — say around 2020 or so — to close out the “bring your own device” (BYOD) posts.
By then, everyone who works in a knowledge worker type of role — one that requires credentials, degrees, etc. — is responsible for their own tools.
Instead of having technology provided to them, they get an allowance (which, of course, they are free to supplement).
Only people who do routinized work — which could be the examiner in an auto insurer’s claims centre, the front-line customer service person in a bank, or an accounts payable clerk, to take but three — still have their technology provided to them.
And, although some of it may look like a standard piece of technology, it’s really a configured device in an Internet of Things, and not used as a general-purpose computer any longer. Just like a store that uses a PC as a cash register, or a piece of medical testing equipment that does.
That’s because even these folks have their phone in their pocket — and that’s enough for office communications (mail, calendars, documents).
Why would we want everyone to bring their own technology?
Simple: we want them to bring their tools.
The construction trades have had workmen bring their tools — tools they own — to the job for years. In turn, the worker has selected each item in that toolbox to be “just right” for them.
For a knowledge worker, the tools are templates, macros, prior work product, files, and the customization done to make toolbars and machines work “just right for me”.
IT tends to focus a lot on the loss of control over business data.
But it’s a two-way street. We hire people because they not only have paper credentials, but because they have experience.
They’ve solved a problem like ours for a previous employer. We want access to that.
But we’re not entitled to seize their working documents that they’ve carried from position to position, just as they’re not allowed under intellectual property considerations to simply pass off prior work for another firm as work done for us.
Still, tell me you never use last year’s document to set up this year’s. That you always build everything from scratch. That you repeat yourself constantly.
We’ll accept diversity — of devices, of tools, of methods — in order to get results faster, and that have had their internal logic errors somewhat cleaned up through repeated use and testing.
It’s why we need to think now about how to encrypt, dynamically authenticate access, build in self-purging where necessary. Why private clouds to hold the data on company assets usable through shared documents might be a better answer.
Some of the top consultants you hire always work this way. Coming soon: a much larger base of employees.
Better set your architecture team to work imagineering alternatives and roadmaps toward them. There’s a lot of work between here and there.