Google's CIO on Technology Choice


The Wall Street Journal's Nick Wingfield poses a great question: Why can't you use personal technology at the office?

Google CIO Ben Fried has some thoughts on that. I spoke with him recently about a number of issues, and one of the more compelling parts of our discussion centered on giving business users different choices.

Fried is quick to point out that most CIOs come from a generation where it was expected that Corporate America had the best technology. An inversion took place, however, with the Internet and availability of low-cost computing power.

That leaves so many workers asking to use tech tools that are at least as powerful as the stuff they use in their non-working lives. And for many CIOs, it's a problem:

"It's hard for CIOs to accept that people feel strongly, passionately and personally about the tools they use to work. It's almost insulting to people when they hear, 'We know better than you how it's best for you to work.'"

Fried tells the story of a summer intern at his former employer, Morgan Stanley. The intern came in on the first day, looked over the technology the company offered, and came back the next day with his personal computer. As Fried recounts, the intern's computer had more memory, a faster processor and different software than Morgan Stanley. And he bought a WAN card, so he didn't even to connect to the corporate network.

Sounds crazy to some CIOs, right? Well, the intern was the highest-ranked in his class. And people like him have endless potential--which should scare some CIOs, Fried says.

"My bet was that some of these fast movers will sit on a rocket to the C-suite. Some of the people from that generation are going to be the CIO's bosses. And they'll say, 'What do you do? I've never used any of your services or respected any of them.'"

I'll have more tomorrow on Fried's approach to what technology he offers. And the whole interview will be posted in a few weeks.

Do you think CIOs and businesses should strive to let employees use their own tech tools?


3 Comments for "Google's CIO on Technology Choice"

  • Mine August 27, 2013 9:41 am

    Robert Scoble started a dbeate over the weekend when he wrote that enterprise software isn't sexy. I guess Scoble struck a nerve as his post caused a frenzy in the enterprise blogsphere, and on a Sunday

  • imci November 20, 2009 4:45 pm

    In some instances only! The issue is and will "always" be about security. This means that security software will need to be installed on the employee's device if security modules are not already installed. The employee will need to sign security documents, and his/her system will need to be audited on a regular schedule to validate compliance to the terms of the security agreement. You'll need to be extremely specific about the requirements of usage within the document and on the performance and compliance of the security audit.

  • robert reddick November 18, 2009 6:50 pm

    Until they get sued. UI is clearly a critical factor, but data management is the nut. CIOs are charged with data integrity and information security. Yes, IT used to be Tool Co's but these days it's all about the Store(age).

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