Face it: Employees Rule IT


By Samuel Greengard

 It's remarkable that some CIOs still question and debate the value of the bring-your- own-device (BYOD) movement. At this point, the train has already left the station, and any organization that isn't riding this express is rapidly heading toward obsolescence. The issue isn't only about giving employees the choice to use their own devices; it's about embracing the opportunities these devices provide.

Once upon a time, running an IT department was a lot simpler. You installed enterprise systems, made sure they were running smoothly and forced everyone to use them as the business saw fit. BYOD has turned this paradigm upside down and inside out. Essentially, the inmates run the asylum and dictate the terms.

Suggestion: Get used to it. It's the new normal.

What's ironic about this scenario is that BYOD has fueled the consumerization of IT, which, in turn, has unleashed productivity gains that were unimaginable only a few years ago. Suddenly, it's easier to connect dots—and data—by connecting to people instantaneously, wherever they're at and whatever device they're using. In a post-PC world, it's the digital equivalent of a wormhole through the IT universe.

Most CIOs wouldn't have thought of anything as brilliant as BYOD and IT consumerization. Employees, particularly younger workers, figured it out for them and then forced it on the enterprise.

Capgemini Consulting and MIT Center for Digital Business recently reported that the digital leaders of the business world outperform the digital laggards in a number of ways. Those in the digital elite category achieve 26 percent higher profitability and 12 percent higher market valuations than their counterparts.

There are no longer any valid excuses for fighting BYOD. Yes, security and compliance issues exist, but it's critical to view these within the framework of overall enterprise security and to extend solutions and strategies to the mobile arena.

If you choose to play it safe, understand that you're actually ratcheting up the risk. Many employees will use their own devices regardless of corporate policies, and you will merely increase the security threats and reduce potential productivity returns. You will also alienate a lot of workers.

You will eventually be forced to adopt BYOD anyway … perhaps a few months or a year or two down the line. By then, you will be choking on the exhaust of a digital revolution that has passed you by.



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