The future is bright, the future is oranjebook
For many years, working for my company meant that I could have access to the latest technology.
It was a status symbol to be able to have a laptop and even a mobile phone. Even if the mobile phone was the size of a canoe and the laptop had to be wheeled around in a hernia-inducing suitcase, it was a definite symbol of your status in and out of work.
It was also a motivational tool. I always ensured my best sales people had the latest toys. While they thought “wow I have been given a mobile phone, I must be really valued” I thought, I can now reach you at any time including the evenings!
But, as the phones got smaller and the laptops cheaper, having a “car phone” number or a nuclear powered laptop became less of a status symbol. This was because the pervasive nature of technology began taking hold in both the home as well as the work place.
When Doris in reception got her first Nokia, it was the final straw for me and other insecure image conscious executives who had to buy extremely impractical micro-mobile phones the size of teaspoons that were suitable only to tiny fingers or move onto the next stage of technology addiction: WAP phones
Although WAP should have had the acronym WTF, as it wasn’t like surfing the internet from your phone was it BT?, the introduction of the Blackberry and similar devices were the next corporate status symbol that technology addicted execs craved.
Although the web surfing experience on BlackBerry devices, for me, has never been what I wanted it to be, they are killer email and messaging devices and great for work or riot collaboration.
Again I ensured my top salesmen all had the latest “CrackBerrys,” to encourage productivity. And again my sales force thought “Wow I am getting a Crackberry, I must be very valued and important.” Whereas I thought I can email you anytime of the day or night—and expect an answer!
My business was not alone. The channel has been making a good living providing hardware for IT departments to set up mobile servers to gain access to the network in a secure way. The executives had their toys, felt motivated and special in the same way I did back then when my first Compaq lap top arrived on the back of a flatbed truck.
But as Crackberrys became common place for business execs and looters, there was yet again a need for execs to display rank and status by changing up to devices that have more floating point capacity than all of the computers on the planet in 1985.
For sure, I always allowed that the top sales guys to use Smart phones at work, if they wanted, but the rest of the hoi polloi it was verboden as they were “not safe on the network”
But as corporates got wise to the gravy train of the refresh cycle and economic pressures have forced a sweating of assets for longer periods, the access to the latest technology is more likely to be found in the home and on the high street rather than in the work place.
And this so-called consumerisation of IT is driving the push to bring your own device (BYOD) or bring your own danger as I call it.
As well as taking out a potential sizeable chunk of my future business by not supplying firms with cohorts of homogeneous beige beasts, I will also loose a motivational tool and a way of incentivising my top sales team as well as the added costs of trying to lock down and secure all this alien kit.
So now, for me, the worm it has turned. If I don’t allow not just my top performing sales guys, but all my employees to use their own devices they will probably think “Wow, the boss expects me to still run Windows 2000 and have a Nokia phone, I must be really undervalued and unimportant.”
There is one advantage however. On the cost of my employees’ future hardware, we can go Dutch.