Mobile devices are exploding in popularity – tablets and smartphones are now outselling the regular PC. But the consumer, not the enterprise, has led this revolution in how we consume computing systems.
The growth in popularity of the app store concept – initially dominated by Apple, but now with Android also being important – has changed our expectation of what it means to use a computer. The system must be easy to use, to configure, and to maintain. Remember when installing applications was something that had to be planned? Now you can just do it to try something out and then delete it if it is not useful.
The phones and devices running these tools feature a number of sensors and gyroscopes – they know exactly which way up they are and where in the world they are being used. This has opened the world of computing far beyond what anyone could have imagined – even just five years ago. Imagine trying to describe the Google skymap application to someone five years ago – they would never have believed that a mobile phone could be capable of complexities like augmented reality – that kind of technology was only for the military.
But how is all this changing life inside the company? There are two major problems for the CIO or technology leader:
• People have better technology in their pocket than the PCs supplied by the company. Why would they want to use an old desktop PC running Windows when their phone or tablet has better applications and is easier to use?
• If people have better technology of their own, and would prefer to use it in the workplace, then how can all these mobile tablets, phones, and applications be managed within the regular enterprise network?
Not only is there a problem of work culture developing in many companies, but also there is a security risk. Staff insisting on using their own technology need the support of a CIO who puts realistic governance plans in place to secure the company network, without preventing them from using the tools they prefer.
The company that gets this right will not only have happier staff, but also more productive and efficient – and why not give the staff a cash bonus for using their own technology too?