Getting Personal, Again

iPad shipments and percentage
Posted under: From the Blog 1st of September, 2011

Remember the early years of the PC when the P really meant personal. One of the reasons anyone with a buck has bought an iThing is the straight jacket that corporate IT has managed to put on the PC over the last 20 years. To protect and support us of course. IT has to get out of its nanny state mentality and realise consumer computing is here to stay. Corporates are implementing BYOD policies to stem the loss of staff who seek this freedom.

Organisations rise and fall on the discretionary intellect and labour of their staff, and increasingly customers. Of course computing is personal – any attempt to depersonalise it into risk-free beige risks wiping out the passion and energetic contribution fundamental to success.

I see myriad uses being made of iThings and the cloud, usually fragmenting misguided central IT control, occasionally with more than passive support from IT. Often engaging customers in the business in clever new ways.

Switched on IT should being focussing on partnering and bridging technologies like:

helping Marketing use HTML5 to bridge web and mobile apps, enabling corporate folk like finance and HR with their app access with things like Citrix, freeing itself up to help the core of the business engage with its customers by innovating with cloud and consumer technology.

Forget “agnostic” – there is no such thing, even folk who believe in nothing believe in that ie nothing. How about “ecumenical” or best supporting the technology “religions” we realistically see have in our places. If 90% of the mobile worship the big fruit then give them a lion’s share of the mobile support effort.

Time to evolve our image of IT professionalism from caring about the innards to also caring about how useful they are. Technology is the essential core of our profession, but it is only necessary and not sufficient to define our professionalism. We have to care about our customers too, and all the little things between technology and their value from it.

A technology that comes as close to intuitive as iThings do deserves its adherents. And we are unlikely to persuade these adherents to ditch their iThing with technical argument when their experience with this new technology is far superior than any we have provided through the lens of our straight jacket.

Never stand between someone in love and the object of their affection. Embrace their love for this new technology, use it as a channel for their discretionary contribution of intellect and labour.

And over time their practical experience tempers their affection into a more practical literacy with technology than the one they were getting by being straight-jacketed. Some of us managed to achieve a bit of this with the PC after all. What if everyone was a power user?

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