Move over BYOD, make way for CYOD

At my last job we solved enterprise BYOD challenges, but it was already clear that CYOD is the next level where people get to choose all their own work devices.

Let me take you way back...
In the really early days of computing when you went to work for a company you’d be given a computer to work on -- no questions, no preferences, just “Here you go, it’s be best we can offer now, consider yourself lucky!”. Mostly that meant a DOS machine with whatever business software they’d invested in, like Lotus 1-2-3, dBASE, Wordstar, Multimate, WordPerfect, and so on. That evolved to MS Windows with MS Office, again no choice. In the creative world Mac users skipped about merrily, casting a grumpy eye at Windows if reminded of its existence, but for the most part keeping to themselves. I got willingly dragged into using a Mac during my Borland days, as all our marketing materials out of Scotts Valley were Mac-based and we needed to Canadianize them. For 1994, two OSes on one desk was a unusual, and fun.

The thin edge of the wedge
I didn’t see much change until about 2001, when I started at ActiveState. We were officially a Windows shop, but those darn open source developers were starting to sneak in OS X machines! OS X had taken the Mac to multi-tasking, and added a lot of great eye candy too. The OS was good looking at worked great. It was now something we could all use for work. Sure, key software like MS Office either didn’t exist or was a shadow of the Windows version, but the platform made Windows look a little lame. And it was handy that virus developers saw little value in attacking OS X. With a few Macs in evidence, others started asking for them. IT resisted, as did I, since it created all sorts of headaches when collaborating digitally. But the developers loved it and would have been really grumpy or quit if told to use something else.

And that’s how the infusion of renegade devices began. Nothing before had ever made a dent in the Windows dominated business world. Until then devices made darn sure they played nicely with Windows to ensure relevance and market share. Blackberry is a great example of that.

Devices of irresistible nature
Enter the devices of irresistible nature appeared… iPhones and then iPads. At first they were seemingly just toys for the better paid. But as cool apps started coming out for them they became rather useful too. Within a few years, the invasive-addictive nature of these devices meant that IT was losing the battle of No. No, you can’t have wifi, it’s too insecure. No, you can’t connect to the network with your phone, it’s a headache. No… etc. Of course, it helped massively that management was also helpless to the appeal of these devices. Soon it was impossible for IT to fight it - they had to solve it instead. BYOD was born.

Desktop delight
But that’s only half the story. In the mid-2000’s management started to hear the Siren call of Apple computers. Given how the fractured lower quality Windows laptop universe was, and how MS Office was now good enough on OS X, they realized they didn’t have to put up with less anymore. My own experience mirrored this. I needed a new laptop, so I did some homework and picked an HP. Within less than a month it died. I took it back and lost it to the store’s repair department for a week. Within a week of getting in back it died again. It now had to go to HP for repair -- something that would take a month. Sure, whatever. I walked out of the store and into a Mac store and immediately bought a used MacBook Pro (I still use it). Pay attention to your gut.

Yummy computers, tablets, and phones, and ever more delicious UX forced a change in how companies run their business and the platforms they support. All the “No’s” were swept aside.

When I started at Colligo the process was
almost complete there, and they almost said “Would you prefer a Windows or Mac machine?”. For the first while I actually got nothing and used my own Macbook Pro, but finally the machine they had ordered before I got there arrived and it was Windows, but they apologized that it wasn’t what I would prefer - wow! But after that, people who joined were indeed asked what they wanted.

BYOD happened when employees invested in devices that employers would not but were only too happy to encourage for work use. Apart from anything else respect for the professional-personal life boundary went even further down the toilet! ;)

Choose Your Own Devices -- CYOD -- is the next level. The case has been made for people to pick whatever they are most comfortable with, and for the company to support them with IT and software choices. It’s only a matter of time before it’s mainstream. The ownership of the device is no longer the focus, it’s about being free to pick the mix of technology that you work best with and being allowed to stick with it.

For me, I love working on a Mac because the desktop environment works really well (and Time Machine rocks). I like my Android phone because the integration with my gmail/Inbox is so tight with the phone and everything is synced. And you have your device preferences. Totally cool. We can now live in symbiosis, with no need for one person’s preferences to trump another. Knowing that I could walk into a work environment that did not require me to embrace something else is a wonderful prospect.
blog comments powered by Disqus