Hands off my BYO

BYOD paper bag
Posted under: From the Blog 7th of July, 2012

How limited is this BYO Device idea?

(Neil Thelander)

When I was going to (too) many BYOG parties in the 70s and 80s, we brought the grog, put it in the ice in the bath or laundry tub, then opened and drank it when and with whom we wanted. Is BYOD the equivalent of handing your grog over at the door and letting the host treat it like their grog – giving you when and what they decide (and maybe keeping the leftovers – the horror)?

BYOD may be great for saving money on assets but how much control do you really think you can exert over someone else’s asset? Just like the G in BYOG is part of a bigger value derivation process, ie partying, the D in BYOD is part of a bigger process that is not yours to control.

And guess what, usually it involves the cloud. Did you think you were going to tell your BYOD’ers not to use the cloud? These smart things are cloud appliances. Sure you can use them as ports to your services too and save an asset dollar but don’t try and restrict what else they’re used for.

How about we treat our BYOD’ers like a community of adults? Adults who can help each other self-regulate their consumption of cloud services. Our job as IT professionals is not as cloud nanny or police, wagging our finger or pursuing any behavior less than risk-free. The internet is the world’s largest ongoing experiment and surely we want our folk to get their share of the benefits, while suffering as few of the risks as possible.

So maybe the IT job is to be more like role model, coach and community facilitator. You know them at parties – those who help slow the problem drinker down, make sure no one drives, make sure there is water and light beers too. Pass around the snacks, put the next record on, help people talk and dance as much as they drink. Help enliven the party, the community and its  learning.

Getting value out of devices and the cloud is a social process. Takes more people skill than waving a rule book and shouting cloud risk. So I have my doubts about most geek-spawn.

Hands off our BYO or we’re off to the next party.

More on this topic from CIO.com



Freedom of choice when it comes to technology decisions has traditionally ended at the doors of the enterprise, where IT tells you what hardware and software you can use. But BYOD and consumerization of IT may be the new Glasnost.

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