Welcome to the second in a three part blog series where Dr Nicola J Millard talks us through the themes emerging from her recent whitepaper ‘Workshift: The Future of Work’.
The paper investigates the ways in which employees are leading the change in the way that we work, and this blog looks at the trend towards employees bringing their own devices to work.
One of the most interesting challenges for technology in business at the moment is the fact that corporate IT lags consumer IT – in other words we have far cooler gadgets at home at the moment than we do at work. Most companies tend to restrict the selection of laptops and smartphones that can be used on the corporate network – and most tend to veer towards heavy, grey bricks. This is causing the consumerisation of the corporate IT space as more and more of us bring our own devices to work (a trend often abbreviated to BYOD).
This is not a trend being driven from a process or IT perspective, it is being driven by highly networked employees who have found tools that are useful to their job and want to use them. The basic fact is that a standard build ‘one size fits all’ laptop or phone doesn’t necessarily work for everyone now in a complex work environment.
Whether organisations like it or not, this ‘consumerisation’ of the corporate IT space is happening.
The reflex action of the IT department is to block this (if we can’t control it; we won’t support it) or grudgingly allow limited access on ‘red side’. The issue is that the tighter the controls over IT use in the business, the more people fall through the cracks. Block people using USB ports on their corporate laptop and they end up emailing documents to their personal email account to read later. Block access to websites that are useful for work but fall into a security risk category and people just log on using their own device instead.
It is the IT department itself that is being challenged to change here. Some have said that the IT department needs to become the department of “yes”, rather than the department of “no”. Much of this is legacy behaviour formed when IT had to protect the integrity of the mainframe system or the client server. However, in an era of Cloud, it seems that the logical strategic move is to manage the access to the Cloud rather than the device.
To learn more about the implications of the BYOD trend for the IT dept and wider organisation you can read Nicola’s full whitepaper here
You can also access her first blog in the series here
‘Workshift: The Future of Work’ looks at the changing nature of the fixed office environment, the influx of their own devices into the work environment and how employees are using third places to work away from both office and home.