Civilized society is based on the simple premise that in exchange for services for the common good a social compact is formed under which certain personal freedoms are sacrificed. As is often the case, when governments are no longer capable of providing those services society starts to break down.
That exact scenario is playing out in enterprise IT these days. Because it's perceived that the internal IT organization can't dynamically provide certain services, end users are effectively rebelling. This rebellion comes in the form of a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) movement and the so-called "consumerization of IT" phenomenon that is driving the proliferation of cloud computing services.
The longer these issues go unaddressed the harder it will become for internal IT organizations to reassert control. Of course, they'll never have the level of control they might have had previously, but there are new frameworks emerging to help IT exert a level of control over the IT environment that at present eludes them.
Case in point is version 1.5 of the Horizon Application Manager from VMware that was announced today. Available as a virtual appliance that uses identity management software that VMware gained with its acquisition of TriCipher, Horizon Application Manager is designed to allow IT organizations to control which employees gets to access what internal IT resources and specific software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications in the cloud. In addition, VMware announced that it is rolling out a beta version of a document-sharing service, called Project Octopus, that is designed to allow users to securely collaborate with one another.
According to Vittorio Viarengo, VMware vice president of end-user computing, Horizon Application Manager allows IT organizations to manage employee-owned devices using the same management framework they use to manage corporate assets. At the same time, they control what access they have to specific cloud services. In return for sacrificing the ability to do whatever they like, the end user retains access to cloud services that are paid for by the company.
In effect, VMware is enabling IT organizations to put a new social compact in place with end users that IT organizations need to entice back into the fold. That may require stiff penalties for failing to comply with a corporate mandate, but at the same time those edicts should be accompanied with new services that show that the internal IT organization is capable of meeting their needs.
Without such services being available, most edicts will only reinforce the image of IT as a totalitarian regime in a era where end users are clearly calling for social change. Given the fact that most dictatorships eventually collapse under the weight of internal unrest, it's pretty clear that the time for a more enlightened approach to IT management is now.