I am an artisan; I use my tools to create: create ideas, create information and manipulate it to make a meaningful result. I need tools and raw material, computer and internet. But the tools available to me are dictated by the company, and here is the beginning of a conflict, a conflict getting worse with more personalized access devices (smartphones and tablets)
The process is not much different than a jewelry maker turning raw material into jewelry. As the process is similar, the tools aren’t. My tools are the computer and the software running on it, where the next evolutions of the tools are the smartphone and the tablet. But in larger companies, the tools are provided by the company, specifically the computer. The computer is normally windows based, with very strict list of allowed software and security layers installed to protect the company assets – company information.
Why does IT need such strict control?
- Security – to protect from viruses, spyware and other malicious software but also to give the management a sense of security, that information is guarded
- Legality – to protect form liabilities form using illegal programs
- Uniformity – to use the same information structures: file types, storage, operating systems, etc.
Additionally, the IT serves to assist the management to be less dependent on one person with unique tools and information
This method worked well with Microsoft world, where both Microsoft provided the matching infrastructure, but it also gave the IT staff a sense of security, that their work is needed to control such system.
But this world is changing, causing a cultural clash.
The smartphones, tablets and personal information devices are changing the scene, taking us back to the jewelry and craftsman ways of work.
Generally speaking, the craftsman brings its own tools, tools he is proficient, known and suitable to his method of work. As customers, we accept the result, trusting his choosing and accepting the fact that we need to define what is the wanted result. With smartphones and tablets, me as information craftsman, I need my tools as well. They cannot be dictated by the IT department, mostly because the device is mine, and used only by one person.
The two worlds collide – we can see it in the news:
Where are we going?
I believe we are moving back in the direction of allowing freedom, where there are guidelines, how and what information is needed (same as standardization of tiles on the roof, even these created by jewelers) but more freedom on the use of applications and methods of work. The age of full control by the IT is coming to an end, same as the job security allegedly provided by using Microsoft products.
(Image courtesy of blmurch @ Flickr)
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