Windows 8 and BYOD: It May Assure the Success and Survival of IT

Rob Enderle
Slide Show

BYOD: User Policy Considerations

Questions and key points companies should consider when establishing BYOD policies.

Whether you call it BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) or BYOB (Bring Your Own Box), the risks and rewards are the same and go back to the concept of a craftsman who owns the responsibility for selecting and maintaining the tools connected to his craft. The unique problem, however, is that, unlike the tools that often come with an expert mechanic, which can be kept separate from the shop's community tools, the data on employee devices often can't be so easily segmented.


However, in seeing this done right at Plantronics last week, and hearing about similar efforts at different degrees of implementation at places like Cisco, I think there is a critical benefit to IT that we haven't really explored and that is affirming the role of IT as a user service provider. I think this last is critical in a world where employees can use their corporate credit card to bypass IT because they have grown to see IT as a barrier to overcome rather than a partner.


Death of IT


Strangely enough, the first time I saw IT shot was at IBM and it was with a technology folks might have thought was impossible to take from IT: the mainframe. I worked for the storage software group and this incredibly well-funded group was becoming increasingly frustrated with IT policies it saw as the cause for product delays and employee dissatisfaction. Very similar, if you think about it, to how many desktop users think of IT today.


Eventually our VP basically told IT to go to hell and we purchased our own mainframes and pulled our funding of IT so we could better own our destiny. This likely had a catastrophic impact on IT's budget given we were likely the biggest user on what was the largest IBM plant east of the Mississippi.


And once this decision was made, given the cost and life of a mainframe, corporate IT was basically out of business in our division. The cause was that IT lost track of the fact that we were the customer and it was the service provider; it believed we had no choice but to use IT and that assumption turned out to not be true. Ironically, this same group thought its IT customers were locked in the same way and repeated the IT mistake and they abandoned us. As a result, most of the executives I worked for in that division were terminated a few years later.


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