IT: Where Great Ideas Go to Die

“BYOD isn’t coming, it’s here“- @SimonBramfitt via @thelaurenfiles

Recently I participated in a great Twitter conversation regarding how IT departments have gained a reputation as a place where good ideas go to die. Initially there were several volleys about how IT departments have become known as the “Office of the C-I-No“. Whether these are perceptions or reality does not matter. (They’re often real.) What was interesting was that our conversation quickly morphed into a discussion of consumer driven IT (CDIT) and “bring your own device” (BYOD); the latest in the list of things that are both challenging IT organizations and, unfortunately, adding fuel to those negative perceptions.

And then it happened…C-I-Rogue

While we were trading volleys regarding the opportunities presented by BYOD @elliotross tweeted:

This illustrates what is perhaps the most compelling reason for IT teams and CIOs to pay attention to this trend. It cannot be ignored. It cannot be wished away. And erecting a wall in the name of security (“just say no”) won’t always make things more secure. In fact, that approach often has the opposite effect.

People understand the value and power of consumer technologies, and technology is no longer the sole domain of the “techo”. Someone recently told me that some of the businesspeople they work with now are “more technical” than some of the programmers they worked with a decade ago. If they need to accomplish something in order to meet their business objectives they will figure it out; and they may not always do so in the best of ways.

Déjà vu

This is not a new phenomenon. When wireless networks became affordable for personal use, many connected inexpensive access points to their corporate networks; and in so doing they created unsecure connections to those networks. And today there are lot more people, with a lot more devices, and a lot more knowledge, than there have ever been with previous technology waves.

“Turn and Face the Strain” – David Bowie

Though IT teams were, with good reason, initially reluctant to embrace consumer driven IT, the tide appears to be shifting. We must also keep in mind that this creates tremendous opportunity.

At a recent consumer driven IT event, Coca-Cola CTO Tom Place stated they see consumer driven IT as a welcome change and an opportunity for competitive advantage. I agree. And those who win will be those who: face it head on; identify opportunities for competitive advantage; find the “low hanging fruit”; and leverage their existing expertise in security, resilience, and performance to create a safe, robust, and compelling user experience.

How is your organization dealing with consumer driven IT and BYOD? I would be grateful for your comments.

This blog is cross-posted at Pragmatic Cloud. Follow @GeorgeDWatt on Twitter.

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George Watt

VP, Corporate Strategy at CA Technologies
A transformative leader, George has spearheaded initiatives that have enabled organizations to simplify and automate their complex IT infrastructures, deliver new business benefits, and drive millions of dollars in savings and productivity gains. In the early 2000s George founded the CA Technologies Engineering Services team, responsible for protecting the company’s intellectual property, managing the consolidated source-code repository, and providing automation and development tools. In this role George led the development of CA Technologies’ own private cloud and enjoys sharing his lessons learned with others who are now venturing on a similar journey. George began his technical career as a systems programmer/ sysadmin and systems engineer. He has held many leadership positions, leading technical and presales teams in Canada, the United States, and globally. Throughout his career, George has delivered innovations such as a lightweight event management agent, a knowledge base for a neural network-based predictive performance management solution, and one of the earliest private clouds. Many of George’s innovations are now available to CA Technologies customers as product components or features. George is co-author of "The Innovative CIO: How IT Leaders Can Drive Business Transformation". He blogs at and tweets as @GeorgeDWatt. George is currently vice president of corporate strategy at CA Technologies.

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