I’m going to cut to the chase. There’s no sugar coating in today’s missive. It may even turn into a rant every so often, but I will do my best to avoid that. I say this all to you because I must admit that I am beyond tired of the Bring Your Own trend. Sure, people love to talk about BYOD and all the benefits that are associated with it (I’m not going there today), but I think it’s a little (ok, completely) absurd when you start trying to adopt the term for whatever else you see fit.
Last week for example, I heard someone talk about BYOC…Bring Your Own Cloud. Today, I heard about BYOB. No, not the fun one where you hopefully get to enjoy a microbrew or a killer glass of Segromigno. The person was referring to Bring Your Own Behavior.
This really has to stop people. It’s gotten beyond absurd.
What I love, beyond the fact that people make up new BYOx-based acronyms on what feels like a daily basis, is that they constantly misuse the ones that are already in the market. Nevermind that the term BYOD is used for all sorts of use cases, but it also gets applied in all sorts of places that don’t warrant its use. I’m not going to say to these people “It’s not your fault,” because it is.
I’m not here to talk about Google or QuickOffice. Others have done a far better job than I ever could have. (Congrats though to Alan Masarek and his team). I’m not here either to talk about whether Google or Microsoft will win the mobile productivity suite battle.
What I am here to do today is to ask – nay, beg! – for your help to stop the BYOx insanity.
What the ZDNet article should have said is not that BYOD could win the battle (actually he meant to say dictate the outcome of the battle) but that it would be instead BYOA: Bring Your Own Apps. Now mind you, I have a really big problem with the concept of BYOA….it’s along the lines of the Bring Your Own Behavior nonsense.
Look, we’re talking about the workplace. Well run companies have standards and processes in place. They strive for operational excellence. Do you think that can happen when everyone is doing things whichever way they want? I’m still trying to understand how it came to be that people think they can just do whatever the heck they want in the workplace.
What if I want to use LibreOffice as opposed to Microsoft Office. What if LibreOffice starts making mobile apps? Should I be able to use it as opposed to whatever my employer recommends? Where does the BYOA end? Can I install my own email server or use a preferred email client? How about BYO-ERP?
Of course not. There are standards and processes in place for a reason. They create efficiencies and allow for scale. The Borg know this and look how well they operate as one voice.
That said, I am not suggesting that choice is completely bad. Organizations need however to find the right balance in terms of where they can provide employees flexibility of choice and the places where it’s simply not an option. How does this happen? Via an effective mobility policy. Me personally, I can’t imagine a productivity suite being something that the employer would not want to choose (mostly for security and support reasons).
The point is, BYOx is absolutely out of control. We need to get back to some sense of normalcy. I’m not suggesting a hive approach (Star Trek Borg reference), but certainly not one that is the chaos of free choice.