Stories about the plight of IT remind me of commercials that feature the haggard, overextended information worker who really could manage the work if he had eight minds working for him at the same time on the tasks at hand.
With each new device comes another load of work to support the people who bring in the new smartphone or increasingly, the iPad. The work is ever mounting.
A Computerworld story does a good job of explaining the issues that come with the iPad and supporting Apple products in an enterprise environment. But we take issue with the belief that the iPad and iPad 2 usher in a tyranny over the belabored IT professional.
The article quotes Dave Codack, vice president of employee technology and network services at TD Bank Financial Group in Toronto where he and his group support about 81,000 workers. He says the end user is dictating what devices are used, not the enterprise. These people expect IT to support them as they use the devices for their work.
This situation is not going to change. It's only going to increase as more people use devices to get their work done.
We see this as more of a liberation than a tyranny. Why? Four reasons we can think of right now:
- The Desktop Age is a Memory: The tyranny of the desktop is over. Workers can work anywhere, really. iPad 2 will accelerate a shift in the concept of work. People still need to do their jobs but why not work from your living room chair instead of the desk underneath the fluorescent tubes?
- Autonomy: Apple recognizes that people want independence. They want a social experience that is elegant and fast. They want work recognition but desire working independently in a connected manner.
- Features: As ComputerWorld points out, the iPad 2 has two cameras, super processing power, better graphics and it's lighter than the iPad. The new processing power will mean apps work faster. Speed and communication? Priceless.
- App Development: The iPad 2 proves again what we all know. The Web won. Apps that are built on infrastructures such as Amazon Web Services exist in an ecosystem that caters to countless numbers of communities who each need tools for specific purposes. Apps are there for everyone.
I'd suggest that the iPad 2 is liberating for people. That's not a unique view but it reminds us that the entire workforce can benefit from a cultural shift that the iPad and consumerization ushers into the organization.
That cultural shift can also extend to IT. In the enterprise, IT can be a flat service that is self-serve for the people who have the right identity credentials. This may be what needs working on more than anything within the enterprise. IT needs better ways to program the support that is needed for an iPad and consumerized community that looks for freedom in the way they do their work. The big issue is not the iPad. It's identity and supporting people in a manner based on who they are and what they do.