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Digital Business Strategy: 8 Gut-Check Questions
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RobPreston
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RobPreston,
User Rank: Author
2/20/2014 | 3:26:32 PM
IT As Revenue Source
We hear from time to time about an IT organization that has patented one or more of its innovations or is partnering with a tech startup to bring a product to market. Among them: UPMC, United Stationers, and Union Pacific. Besides having a company name that starts with U, these revenue-generating IT organizations seem to have a few things in common: They're in industries with specific technology needs that the big IT vendors don't/can't serve; they have CEOs willing to let their CIOs take some significant business risks; they have CIOs very much focused on (and measured on) the company bottom line. What else defines them?
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
2/20/2014 | 3:29:20 PM
BYOD: biggest pain points
I will be moderating one of the BYOD panels and am looking forward to your pointed questions, IT pros. Chime in here if there is a particular aspect of consumerization and BYOD you'd like me to spend more time on. I look forward to meeting many of you at the conference.
Drew Conry-Murray
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Drew Conry-Murray,
User Rank: Ninja
2/20/2014 | 3:41:44 PM
Smart to be Uncomfortable
Chris, I think if IT leaders aren't uncomfortable, they aren't paying attention. Your first question--will marketing even call IT?--is a killer one. And as you point out, it's not just about technological chops. It's also about relationships and understanding what the business needs.
ChrisMurphy
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ChrisMurphy,
User Rank: Author
2/20/2014 | 5:37:43 PM
Re: Smart to be Uncomfortable
I had a CIO describe that exact scenario -- marketing was about to hire an outside firm to develop an app, IT only heard about it because there was one embedded IT person in marketing. They had to ask for the chance to bid on the job, and got it. 
Midnight
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Midnight,
User Rank: Guru
2/24/2014 | 7:54:50 PM
Re: BYOD: biggest pain points
I have yet to hear a serious discussion regarding the usage of existing corporate/business policies regarding "BYOD." The issue that I see is a loss of historical wisdom from the previous "BYOD" waves.

Background Points:

1. The IT infrastructure (as we know it today) was built on a succession of waves where consumer grade technology was brought into the office in answer to need.

2. In the early to mid-eighties, the desktop and "luggable" computers were introduced creating the evolution of the desktop policies.

3. In the early to mid- ninties, the introduction of LAN networking and subsequent WAN/Internet environments brought yet another set of core policy evolutions.

4. As laptops became more cost effective, the concepts of "data islands," mobility of workforce, and remote data security required refinement of the policies further.

5. The Blackberry phone. This one device, and the required refinements of policy regarding data access, ownership, loss mitigation, and overall system integration was staggering. It truly created the foundation of the mobile phone integration policy.

6. The still evolving landscape of wireless networking has created/is creating major refinements in the core networking policies, due to issues of BYOD "rogue AP" units.

7. Evolution of software solutions (i.e. MS SharePoint, Salesforce, and Portal systems) is further refining the balance between security and availability policy elements.

This is by far not a comprehensive list, but it does summarize the nature and domain of the current policies existance and evolution. It reveals that the concept of "BYOD" is not new on any standard of measure.

So, the critically needed question to be asked is, "Why are the existing, time proven, and process refined policies --that directly address the core technologies being presented-- considered insufficient/inappropriate to me this current evolution?" "What makes the fundamental nature of these devices, if any, different to require unique handling?"

I profesionally believe that the "issues" of this "BYOD" wave, have already been addressed in the evolution of our Best Practices policies. The lessons learned are all there. Why are we being forced to repeat past mistakes to come to the same conclusions?

I do not believe  the hype surrounding the issue of this actual minor "BYOD" wave has the substantial validity that media attention has created. I see the refinements of policy should actually be minor, when put in context of our previous lessons learned and why the policies evolved the way they did. I am willing to be wrong on this, and look forward to the results of the discussion.
ChrisMurphy
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ChrisMurphy,
User Rank: Author
2/24/2014 | 8:14:24 PM
Re: BYOD: biggest pain points
Were those other waves on as large a scale, in terms of the people and devices involved? Even with BlackBerry, it was often 10%, maybne 20% of the worforce carrying one. Now nearly every employee at many companies has a smartphone, and the company has to make a decision about whether they access any work resources from it. Is that sufficiently different to drive a new response?
Midnight
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Midnight,
User Rank: Guru
2/24/2014 | 10:05:04 PM
Re: BYOD: biggest pain points
Scale is a valid point, and I would ask you to consider the first wave when the PC entered the workspace, initially it was just the accounting departments (clearly a very small intrusion at first) and was characterized by numerous vendors spanning Timex, Commodore, and Atari well before the entry of IBM. Today the desktop and laptop environment is so proflic, that people forget that it was not always this way.

Cellphone technology created a similar wave and policies evolved via the needs based usage. The difference is that it began with the sales departments and C level executives. There were many evolutions in the technologies usage, especially with the "Push-to-Talk" innovation. And again policies evolved to address the scope of management based on the needs of the company ecosystem.

The opening of Internet access to the common desktop is another change that was equally as massive in scope. Businesses learned (albeit slowly) that not everyone needed unfettered access due to the equally massive oppportunity to waste time, company resources and ultimately lower profitability.

The question I see in not one of scale, but rather one regarding the needs of the company in the workplace. How much of a blurring in employee's personal lives should be acceptable when one is being paid to focus on completing mission critical objectives. The Blackberry example is significant because it highlights this use case.

What I am detecting as a strategic undercurrent has nothing to do with scale, the actual devices, or who physically pays the bill for a device. I see this as just another salvo being fired at the mythical IT Colossus. There is a growing sentiment that IT is an obstacle to be worked around instead of with. The descriptive attitude of 'in spite of' is appropriate here. What is lost is that IT is the repository of the lessons learned regarding how (IT) technology is best managed. Lost are the ROI lessons of giving everybody whatever they want due to personal preference.

BYOD is a daily consideration for IT as a field. It has been from the beginning. I beleive that IT resources are much akin to the tools in a mechanics shop. They wear out, new technologies and methods evolve, and there is always a new screw head shape being used unexpectedly. Do we require mechanics to bring their own tools, or do we provide them? And why? When they wear out, who is on the hook to pay for replacing them. And who actually needs access to them daily?

"Needs Basis" means not everyone actually needs a smartphone or tablet for their day-to-day jobs. So who is actually making this an issue? Why? And why do they feel they could possibly know anything more about a new fangled tech toy, than the tech obsessed technology people who actually understand what is happening "under the hood."

We have seen this scale of an issue before many times. Each time wearing a different costume. Think back to the dot.com era and consider adoption scale, scope, cheers and tears.
J_Brandt
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J_Brandt,
User Rank: Ninja
2/25/2014 | 3:41:23 PM
Re: IT As Revenue Source
I think there are only a few select IT groups that can split their attention and resources to both internal and external focuses – at least without significant changes.  Many of the IT departments I know would welcome marketing going out to bid for their projects.  It's not always smart to do everything in-house.  The issue, as pointed out by others is the relationship, being involved in the process to make sure marketing has a properly prepared RFP and such.


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