Electronic Arts CIO Mark Tonnesen was hired six months ago to turn the popular console gaming company into a digital empire. In an interview published Monday, Tonnesen spoke with CIO.com senior writer Thor Olavsrud about how he is modernizing EA, inside and out, by embracing BYOD, mobile, and the cloud.
EA is the third largest video game company and created games such as Madden NFL and Mass Effect. Through its Popgames subsidiary it has published the wildly popular Bejeweled and Plants vs. Zombies.
Tonneson told CIO.com that not only does the console giant have to cater to the new mobile game market, but it has had to change the way its own employees work to stay current. "Almost every part of our lives is going digital," he said. "It's all online, it's mobile. Everything we do, we want to do at our fingertips when we want to do it and where we want to do it. It's multiple platforms, Internet-enabled and mobile. Gaming is no different. For us it starts with survival."
Tonnesen said EA chose cloud document manager Box to allow its farflung employees to work together better, from the idea stage to collaboration. EA will use the cloud not only to manage content, but entire company systems such as contracts, signatures, and human resources. He noted that services like Box are so easy to use that employees don't need IT to help them use them.
As for the bring-your-own phenomenon, EA's bring-your-own-device strategy is just that, said Tonnesen. "We don't have a BYOMD--if you want to call it that, mobile device--but that is coming," he said.
Right now most EA employees are opting to bring their own full-size computers to work, mostly Macs, iBooks, and MacBook Pros. Some also use their own iPad or Samsung tablet. So far the only smart phone EA supports for its employees is the iPhone, but Android is next. EA's BYOD policy saves the company money and lets employees choose what they want to use.
To see how EA is switching from its console game roots over to a more casual, mobile-based audience, read the entire interview on CIO.com.