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Stop The BYOx Insanity!!!

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.

Take today’s example on ZDNet.

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.

9 Comments

  1. Posted June 6, 2012 at 13:10 | Permalink

    Someone needs to start an acronym standardization association:). The confusion in acronyms is hampering several industries from improving service quality and speed to efficiency.

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    • Posted June 6, 2012 at 13:54 | Permalink

      Here’s an enterprise mobility acronym dictionary for you:

      http://theemf.org/2011/02/14/the-enterprise-mobility-strategy-guidebook/

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    • Posted June 6, 2012 at 14:04 | Permalink

      @David Just what the doctor ordered, another bureaucracy :)

      @Philippe – has the temporary lull in the vendor conference season – I know you feel restless when you’re not racking up Frequent Flyer miles – turned you cranky so quickly? :)

      Gotta remember that in terms of the BYO trend/meme/whatever, you’re an old-timer if you were talking about or even dimly aware of this term even two years ago (as you and I both were). Naturally, we’re going to be annoyed by latecomers and mainstreamers and bandwagon-jumpers ‘abusing’ the term. My rebuttal: who else can we blame but ourselves? And let’s not think of them ‘abusing’ BYO but expanding the meaning in new, sometimes painful, sometimes-delightful ways. Like the way a young child can be unexpectedly profound.

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      • Posted June 6, 2012 at 14:55 | Permalink

        Eric,

        While I may be going through some air traffic withdrawal, but that’s not the issue ;-) It’s not even about how often we talk about BYOD. My concern is that 1) BYOD is obviously misunderstood and 2) we’re now moving towards a mindset where everyone feels a sense of technology entitlement. It’s just not sustainable in the long run….

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  2. Posted June 6, 2012 at 16:22 | Permalink

    Lets face it, BYOD – and for the matter, the Consumerization of IT is a bunch of crap.
    It reminds me of all the late 90′s hype around Y2K.

    At issue, is how IT builds, supports and manages information access and enterprise intellectual assets. Allowing employee’s, partners and contractors to use devices they have purchased (and we must include “laptops”) does not change their manifesto.

    From an industry standpoint, the range of what can only be described as silly acronyms not only speaks more to what people don’t know, then what they do know or should be doing. And the arising FUD is exactly what creates the headlines.

    IT getting consumerized, or commoditized in the same way my 3yo is going to sail in an around the race like the Volvo cup. It isn’t happening. And people bringing devices to work isn’t going to change that. Ever.

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    • Posted June 6, 2012 at 16:31 | Permalink

      It may not change the manifesto, but it can certainly change the approach, and I think that’s the issue. Right now, to use your analogy, some companies think it makes perfect sense to have a 3 year old participate in the Volvo cup (meaning, they can get away with not having to provide support to employees who BYOD).

      I guess my question to you Bob, is why do you think IT is not getting consumerized?

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      • Posted June 6, 2012 at 16:54 | Permalink

        Fair point Philippe.

        While its true that IT has lagged the electronic (mobile, non-mobile) experiences consumers have outside of work, its not fair to say that translating consumer platforms into the enterpise makes sense.

        Consumer platforms lead the innovation pack when it comes to user experience design and scale, but little else should be considered or is, enterprise grade. And consider their design objectives are quite different.

        Consumer platforms are designed to collect information about individuals and sell you something. Enterprise platforms are not. Enterprise platforms have, as you abtly described it, have a very different missive. By and large that missive is to drive revenue and create margin growth through the existing and future range of enterprise assets and intellectual property.

        There is no question that IT is faced with new challenges to accelerate its channels of innovation. And IT must modernize what it does, and how it innovates. The role of IT is more critical than 10 years ago. IT is (should be) the arm of enterprise innovation and competitive warefare. Not consumer warfare, or a victim of commodization.

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        • Posted June 6, 2012 at 20:50 | Permalink

          Ah…so now you are introducing things like Facebook into the equation. Obviously the iPhone is a “consumer” device but has enterprise friendly features. Android, is (mostly) about collecting information on you. Doesn’t this all point towards the need for forward thinking policies and use cases? Perhaps this is the new role of the IT department….

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          • Posted June 6, 2012 at 22:14 | Permalink

            Well no, I was not referring to FB, nor was I excluding it either.

            It is true that most companies need to modernize how they look at IT. The first change is going to be the most painful one. Take IT off the expense side of the internal balance sheet and slide it on over next to marketing and products on the revenue side.

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