First came a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) phenomenon that is making the daily life of the average IT service provider more challenging than ever. Then things went from bad to worse with the rise of Bring Your Own Applications (BYOA).
But what many IT services providers still don’t seem to fully appreciate is that going forward, both BYOD and BYOA are really just means of achieving a new Bring Your Own Workflow (BYOW) reality that many of them are going to have accept as the new reality of IT.
When it comes to BYOD or BYOA, providers of IT services tend to have a knee-jerk reaction. Historically, IT service providers have tried to enforce a level of standardization as a means to maximize profitability. The more devices and applications there are to manage, the higher the cost of support becomes.
End users, however, don’t factor the profitability of IT services providers into their thinking. For them it’s all about how to best accomplish a task in a way that makes them most productive. Because it’s simpler to carry around one device than two, many users prefer to use their own device to manage work-related tasks. Once they started doing that it was only a matter of time before they discovered mobile computing applications that they could download and install themselves.
Internal IT organizations and IT service providers alike have tried to keep up with trend by extending the reach of IT management systems to personal devices; an idea that many end users are reluctant to embrace. As part of an effort to encourage end users to accept IT management of their devices, organizations have been turning large numbers of mobile computing applications into corporate standards that the IT organization will now support.
As reasonable as that may seem, it’s not likely to make much of difference now that the proverbial mobile computing horse is out of the barn. End users tend to embrace mobile computing applications much like fashion trends. No sooner do they start using one application that another better one comes along that they prefer.
Because the cost of switching to a new application is pretty close to zero, by the time an IT organization decides that it needs to support an application, the end users are already moving on to the next great thing.
The simple reality of the situation is that it’s no longer about BYOD or BYOA. End users are using mobile and cloud applications to create their own individualized workflows, otherwise known as BYOW.
IT service providers that want to stay relevant in this era need to find a way to profitably support a broad range of applications and devices. That means being able to quickly discover what applications and devices are being used and then finding a way to apply security and governance policies in the least obtrusive manner possible.
Unfortunately, many IT service providers are not going to be willing to make the investment needed to be able to deliver that granular level of service. The end result is going to be a weeding out of IT service providers that will be deemed to be not providing enough value in terms of enabling the IT flexibility that business customers are increasingly demanding.
The good news is that demand for managed services that can support BYOW has never been greater. The challenge is that the cost of entry required to deliver those services is getting higher by the day.