Over the last few weeks, my wife and I have been taking a class at our shul. A shul (pronounced shool) is actually a Yiddish term that means synagogue. A shul is also a place of learning (notice how it resembles the word “school”), because the rationale is that you not only pray at your synagogue, but you’re also supposed to go there to learn.
With that as a small backgrounder, one of the discussion topics that has come up in the class is the whole notion of expectations vs. demands – meaning, what is/should be expected of you by your loved ones versus what is/should be demanded of you…and when I say expected, it’s more along the lines of what is hoped for. This question was very poignant for me. Maybe because I am a “J” on the Myers-Briggs test, or maybe it’s just a by-product of how I was raised. See, I’m not sure I am personally able to differentiate between the two. Candidly, what was expected of me was not a hope, but a demand.
Sure, I could go on and on about the literal and philosophical aspects of these words and their implications on life, society and moral values…but would you believe that I started wondering during the class about the impact of these words on enterprise mobility? Of course you would, because you know I have no life and that I have an obsession with enterprise mobility that borders on requiring detox.
I’ll argue (again in the context of enterprise mobility) that most people make no distinction between expectations and demands. Just look at the BYOD tsunami. Gone are the days when people hoped that they would be able to bring their mobile devices of choice into the workplace…it’s all but a given that people demand that ability…much like a right vs. a privilege. I won’t begin to address the new trend of people demanding that they have the ability to bring in their own apps which some are also calling bring our own software.
Let’s also not forget that mobility can get religious…meaning that people get very passionate about which mobility platform they use. One need only look at this recent video to appreciate that passion. It makes me also wonder when that passion is going to move beyond the device to the apps and services that will be running on the devices…and by logical extension, the corporate networks. Come to think of it, my good friend Adam Stein from SAP wrote a while back a witty religious take on enterprise mobility management.
So, back to Expectations vs. Demands. Perhaps then, organizations need to do a better job of managing user’s expectations (read: Demands). I’ll argue that the first step in managing those expectations would be to develop (and enforce) that mobility policy we’re always talking about. Without that policy, people will continue having expectations that may or may not be reasonable (again, depending on your workplace’s policies) which will eventually become (un)reasonable demands.
I guess enterprise mobility, philosophy and religion have more in common than what I would have first imagined.