Business users often view IT SVM as a bottleneck to getting new technologies that will make them more personally and professionally productive and that also will help ensure their firm’s competitiveness. Affordable mobile technologies like smartphones (Research In Motion’s BlackBerry, Apple’s iPhone, and Google’ Android are the most popular operating systems), cellular data air cards, network-connected PCs and tablets, etc. make it a lot easier (and hence more tempting than ever) to bypass IT’s seemingly archaic and slow-moving sourcing practices.
As a result, employees are increasingly bringing their own technology into the workplace. Forrester calls this trend “tech populism,” and it’s quickly gaining momentum. It might be a personal laptop sitting on the desk next to the corporate PC, or a personal smartphone that’s loaded up with self-purchased applications and freeware, either or both connecting to the employer’s guest WiFi Internet connection.
Additionally, more and more, traveling employees are leaving their business laptop at the office or at home — relying instead either on their smartphone for simple email access during one- or two-day trips, complemented by personal thumbdrive memory sticks onto which reference and presentation documents have been downloaded and will be viewed (and possibly manipulated or transferred between multiple noncorporate devices) using a hotel, public kiosk, customer, colleague, or partner’s PC. So much for IT’s security policy enforcement! If a file or document can be downloaded onto a personal external drive, what happens to it afterward is at the discretion of the employee — who after all usually is just trying to be more productive while taking better advantage of easier-to-use hardware and software tools than those provided by the company.