Evil Empire or Jedi Knights

By DANIEL ANTION posted 01-08-2013 18:27


Late last week, Cheryl McKinnon tweeted an InfoWorld article about how IT is about to lose its seat at the table. Meanwhile, over on John Mancini’s great Digital Landfill blog, Lubor Ptacek predicted that 2013 will be the year that IT will Strike Back. I’m with Lubor. In my retweet of Cheryl’s link, I added “I don’t think so.” In my comment to her, I said “Consumers are too fickle, too flighty & not nearly disciplined enough to manage IT w/out IT ”. Cheryl, agreed with a caveat “I agree [the] article overstates the point but [it’s] an interesting wakeup call.” So, to complete the circle of mutual pats-on-the-back, I agree with Cheryl. IT does need to wake up, but one way or the other, they will wake up or they will be woken up by the members of the consumerization movement who will themselves wake up to find they don’t want to be the new IT Guys. 

Lubor’s prediction conjures up the Star Wars metaphor I opened with, but I want to be clear about how I see the casting. BYOD isn’t the new hope, and IT isn’t the Empire. The men and women in IT are the Jedi. For every forward thinking adventurous consumer-driven line of business middle manager out there who is embracing change by the bucketful, there is an old-school manager who feels technology shouldn’t be allowed to change the course of history. For every end user who is bringing a gadget to work, there  are one or two clinging to an adding machine even as they work with Excel. For every manager promoting BYOD like a church’s Sunday potluck supper, there is a poor slob eating his way through his budget in $2.99 bites while slowly realizing that Evernote does everything except talk to OneNote and Jot. In addition, I would guess that half or more of the gadget-wielding BYODers are using them for nothing more than email. No, this consumer driven bubble of innovation and activity will burst, and IT is just smart enough (or mean enough) to hold the pin and say “I told you so!

The devices, services and feature sets everyone is so happy with today, require an infrastructure. “Don’t worry, that’s in the cloud” you say? How does it get there, how do we know it’s adequate, who is paying that bill or are we talking about an enterprise storage solution cobbled together 2GB at a time with personal DropBox accounts. Am I alone in imagining scenarios like this?

I have 25 GB on my SkyDrive, so I put the latest proposal in the folder with my kid’s graduation pictures (since they were already shared with you)

 In addition to an infrastructure, we need the ability to automate and enforce business processes, we need the ability to search and discover content. We also need the ability to destroy content – regardless of where it is stored, unless we are comfortable with a ton of enterprise content being “archived” on obsolete devices sitting in sock drawers.

I think IT is ready to receive the wakeup call, but I fear that nobody is dialing their number yet. People must be educated to the dangers as well as the benefits of these technologies and devices. IT has to answer that call first. IT has to shepherd people in a unified approach that will look more like a patchwork quilt than a pile of cloth scraps. IT must become the group who wants to help everyone play nicely and safely together. Ok, if I am casting IT as the Jedi, who is the evil Empire? The lawyers, accountants and HR folks, of course, that’s how IT came to become the Palace of No.

#digitallandfill #predictions #IT #BYOD