It's all about people and choice

Have you noticed how employees are often more aware of the availability of new devices than members of your own IT department?

As a CIO at a number of organisations over the past decade, I’ve supported the focus on the ITIL process model: in simple terms, running IT well.

The theory is that if the processes are streamlined and efficient, people can get stuff fixed quickly and everyone has ready access to what they need.

As a general concept, it’s hard to criticise, but things are changing.  The consumerisation of IT, rapid changes in the way business is done, and a changing demographic all mean that expectations in the workplace and of the IT department are changing.

MEETING THE CHANGING NEEDS OF EMPLOYEES

Increasingly employees are not just tech savvy; they are attuned to the latest developments in devices, form factors and software.

It makes sense to provide employees with choice and to engage them in decisions affecting their productivity and contribution.

Engaging employees to choose the tools they need to be productive is also a great chance to promote the policies that govern the appropriate use, security and support of those tools in the workplace.

This is where initiatives such as CYOD and its variants come into play.

BALANCING THE NEEDS OF THE ENTERPRISE

From the organisation’s point of view it needs to be about more than simply providing the employee with choice; the organisation needs visibility, control, policies and compliance and all these factors must be managed together.

The main factors at the core of any initiative are the employee and the provision of choice.  The device itself is simply the subject of that choice.

Adopting this shift in perspective encourages us to consider how the whole choice-based initiative can be effectively managed as part of an enterprise-wide approach.

By this I mean that the initiative extends beyond the IT focus to embrace the considerations and compliance required from multiple perspectives: People & Culture, Finance & Procurement, Security & Compliance.

THE SOCIAL FACTOR AND PRODUCTIVITY

We know that nothing operates in isolation and it would be an Imprudent CIO who considered technology to the exclusion of everything else.

Organisations leading the charge in innovative choice initiatives are typically at the forefront because they recognise the importance of people and culture.  One of the most interesting aspects of the people and culture focus is the power of social networking among peers, within a profession and across the enterprise.

If we accept that most of the intellectual property in a business resides with the people in its employ, nothing makes more sense than engaging and empowering those people to be happier and more productive.