Watch this space: What did you pay for your corporate smartphone?


Posted on: Feb 22, 2012 by Paul Albada Jelgersma

I bought my own bed. I like it, it is a big bed with a proper mattress and pocket springs. I also bought my own pillow and now that I think of it, I also bought my own milk and decided, by my own, that I really needed to eat a hamburger and chips last night (with a Heineken beer, at Silversant in Amstelveen, the hamburger wasn’t really what I hoped for, but that is a different topic).

Consumerization TechThe choice I made for my bed contributes to my good health, my choice for food does probably not. The point is that nowhere in the process of purchasing furniture and food, I was guided by my employer.

Most people will find that normal, but they are also happy that the employer provides them with a standard company laptop, standard (smart)phone and standard application suite.

Arguably there is a big difference between IT equipment and furniture but it opens up the discussion on the freedom of choice for these type of company supplies.

This topic is very much in-depth looked into in a Atos Scientific Community white paper called “Consumerization Technology. Is it really good for business?”.

“So why has the corporate world stood still and remained such a monolithic and homogeneous environment when the way of working is evolving, despite legacy foundations? Why shouldn’t organizations take advantage of the vast array of information, skills and consumer devices in the world today? This is the concept of consumerism. Devices, services or software that is intended for the mass consumer market can cross over and equally be used in a corporate environment.”

I firmly believe that the tools that I use for my work should fit my objectives and if the standard is not good enough, more flexible choices should be available. It helps me in my motivation and effectiveness.

“Positive feedback from employees and an attractive working environment for the workforce of tomorrow will have a significant positive impact. This, combined with the removal of the de-motivating factor of having to struggle with an IT department to be able to work efficiently and an increased level of trust, will be seen as reward enough by many. This could even be extended by offering supplementary benefits, such as insurance schemes, negotiated prices or other options…“

In general we see an increased interest in this ‘Bring-Your-Own’ (BYO) concept and it has unexpected valuable side-effects:

Personal productivity can increase as a result of the user using a device that they are used to and that suits their style of working. Also, if an employee is using a device they choose or one with personal data on, then they are more likely to respect that device and as a result lose less time dealing with support issues or worse. Combine this with the fact that the new found flexibility is highly appreciated by employees and the result is typically more dedication and commitment.

The whitepaper also addresses the fact that there are serious risks associated to a BYO strategy. Both in lack of productivity (Facebook versus Excel) and in security or confidentiality of information.

An approach to handle this as well as an explanation how this affects other parts of the IT landscape is addressed in the paper, with special attention to networks, information management and utilizing corporate applications.

But this is most of all about technology, is it not? Well as it turns out, it is not. A BYO strategy also needs to address non-IT related subjects such as HRM, TAX, privacy and compliancy.

In the end, I like it. It creates a relationship between me and my employer that focusses on the delivering of objectives, not the provisioning of supplies. It also leaves me at the helm and allows me freedom in the choice of stuff that helps me do my work.

So why stop there?

“As consumer technology improves, and consumer IT proficiency increases, many organizations will consider consumer solutions to be ‘good enough’”

I am looking forward to a working environment that lets me choose my applications, my location and maybe even my own language.

(Blogs schrijven in het Nederlands die automatisch worden vertaald – dat zou mooi zijn)

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About Paul Albada Jelgersma

Global Head Atos IoT Solutions and member of the Scientific Community
Paul has over 24 years of experience in running IT and business programs; including managing large teams of IT and other professionals. Paul is a founding member of the Atos Scientific Community. In his day job, he focusses on the strategic partnership between Siemens and Atos, managing the overall innovation process. Paul likes to work with Virtual Teams in the new way of work. He dislikes email as a chat and document-management tool. He occasionally writes articles and publishes at his own blog. Paul is married and has 2 children. He lives near Amsterdam, The Netherlands. He likes to travel. In 2013 he visited Peru, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands. Many more locations are on his bucket-list.

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