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?