Qui Suis-je ?

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Lyon, France
47, married, 3 marvellous kids. IT Director for the last 15 years for a large multinational company. I believe in coaching, in professional life as well as in private and sports.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Why B.Y.O.T. requires Agility, or how to close the gap between IT and Business

Bring Your Own Technology is starting to make a big buzz these days. Should a company allow its employees to work with their own PC ? Or use a company SIM card into one's private iPhone ? I can hear thousands of employes and even Business leaders roar so loud I have to hide my ears : its a big YES and they just wonder why it has taken so long for so brilliant IT brains to recognize this...

Now seen from behind the IT world glasses it's a completely diffierent story: NO we can't do that and it would be for sure the end of the world... for so many good reasons (support, security, performance issues, costs), you name it, because IT is so much conscious of the danger, and Business is not.

So we can measure the gap has turned in an abyss, and IT managers or CIO should really step back from the daily pressure and seriously focus on getting closer to their customer expectations. How can they possibly do this ?

So OK you think I'm in favor of BYOT ? Sure I'm not. So what ? It's not because a kid fancies a new toy that you should allow it. You also have the responsibility to educate. Your business customer is sometimes like a kid in terms of new toys and technologies being made available. And it's not because they are high in the hierarchy that you should not try to educate as well.

Next step is to be able to talk to this customer with enough credibility so that you'll be listen to. It's a whole : If the abyss is too wide you even don't get a chance. Credibility is the key. What credibility do you have now ? How to increase it ? Certainly not by putting yourself in the corner by allowing fancy toys just to please the business leader that shouts, and then end up in killing your infrastructure: he will for sure shout louder!

Maturity and Agility
Allowing those toys presupposes your infrastructure is mature enough to run them with no damage. Another prerequisite is that your support organization is mature as well to support what needs to be and not the whole gadget production of the planet, with costs that come with it !

Maturity is a matter of age and can take some time. By the time you grow to the required level of maturity, technology has evolved and new toys are in the air, putting more pressure on the CIO to adapt its IT orgnaization to it. So the answer lies into Agility : how agile is your IT organization? In other words how fast can you adapt to new technologies without being perceived as the bottleneck, which does not help with your credibility and with closing the gap...

Need for Change, looking for efficiency : IT as a Service
Now we've come from considering allowing iPhones to a real cultural change required. How big is this step ? Well maybe start by considering that IT is not a just a Police force and the main goal is to enable the business with efficient solutions.
Efficency rarely lies in technology nor toys, but more often in people and organization. I would seriously encourage any IT manager to reconsider whether their IT organization is tailored to provide high value services first, and the ones that are required by their Buisness. Maybe a good time to start the journey down the ITIL/ITSM road more rapidely, and turn into a truly service orientated organization.

Only at this condition IT will have a chance to bridge over the abyss and bring private technology in as a valuable service one day...

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