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iPad, BYOD, Mobility? No, This Is The New World of Martini Computing

January 11, 2013

This post is about the biggest challenge for any IT department anywhere.  OK a bold statement, but a shift comparable to the 1990’s move to client/server from host/terminal and as important as the advent of remote access through the internet in the 2000’s is upon us.

Martini

Speaking to a senior partner the other day he summed up what he wants from IT very neatly – “I (want to) work all of the time”.

What does that actually mean to the IT department? Well first, he isn’t in the office all of the time – he’s obviously at home sometimes and often with clients in the UK and worldwide, and second, he sometimes has his work laptop with him but not all of the time and so wants to use his tablet, smartphone etc.

So he wants to work 7*24, from any location in the world using whatever device he has to hand. I suggested the term Martini computing (the old advert “Martini – anytime, anyplace, anywhere”).

What is the IT service in the Martini world?

I suspect that very few reading this blog would disagree that the remit of the IT function is to deploy the IT capability to support the achievement of business objectives – or to provide the service that is needed by our customers. So how do we in IT support this chap?

Well first let’s just add in some additional complexity. Not only does he want to work all the time in any location using any device – he also wants to use a range of cloud based, free to air apps – Linkedin is pretty important to him for example.

Distilling the challenge: Lawyers use firm’s devices and their own, they use firm provided apps and free to air apps. That’s four ‘boxes’ where he might want to work (oh and don’t forget from anywhere at any time). Next bold statement – in my opinion the IT Director who supports only firm supplied devices and firm managed applications (one of the four boxes) is heading for the exit door.

My proposition is that the world has changed, lawyers are more mobile, are technically savvy and will use whatever technology they need to get the job done – IT needs to understand, accept and support this new world . The traditional IT approach of nailing everything down and controlling and restricting usage is no longer of any use.

An aside – I read a forum the other day when BYOD was the topic. It was fairly balanced but here are some of the quotes!

“I wonder how many high-profile data catastrophes will have to happen before BYOD goes away”

“From an IT support perspective, that would be a nightmare. We are constantly working to get clients to standardize work environments.”

“Not a fan of BYOD in any environment; technology or telecom. If you are going to truly control costs and keep things streamlined and secure, company provided hardware is a must, all the way up and down the chain.”

As I said there were also many posts arguing that it is here to stay but I include these comments to illustrate that the old school IT lobby is still alive and kicking.

The Genie is out of the bottle – now what?

Well it isn’t go out any buy some EMM toolset. Vendors are all over this issue telling you that there is a neat product that will give you back control. In my experience it is very rare that an off the shelf software product solves such complex and wide ranging problems. Inevitably tools will be part of it but also skills, policies, processes and new service definitions.

First it is acceptance – lets consider this new world  and accept that it is very different to only four or five years ago and work with our customers to help them use technology to their and our best advantage. After that it’s about shaping the new IT service while keeping our eye on the traditional virtues of security, config management, financial control etc albeit in a new world.

Summary

As I said at the start, this post is about describing the huge challenge that faces IT teams the world over. I will no doubt return again and again to this topic to describe my experiences in this arena and to comment on the solutions proposed by others.

In the meantime, as I said at the beginning, BYOD, tablets, mobility – they are all just elements in this seismic shift.

Edit: new post on this subject discussing a management framework for the Martinin world.

As always, please let me know what you think.

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From → Mobility, Strategy

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