Tech & Work

Coffee? Donuts? A day off? No thanks, I'd rather have my iPhone

Steve Ranger's Notebook: IT must stop standing in the way of progress...

When staff would rather give up their holiday than their iPhone, the time has come to stop ignoring the consumerisation of IT, says silicon.com editor Steve Ranger.

Letting workers bring their own laptops and smartphones to work is a curiously divisive and emotive subject among IT professionals.

When silicon.com started covering the consumerisation of IT, about five years ago, one of our earliest stories on the subject elicited this reader comment: "The one constant in IT is that you can't trust users, this is doomed to failure."

And that was back when the idea was only a gleam in the eye of a manic futurologist. Now the chance to choose your own kit is a perk expected by many staff.

However, even now - when the average worker is far more tech-savvy than even five years ago - similar assumptions of impending doom seem to be fashionable among many IT workers. Users, they believe, can't be trusted to make decisions for themselves.

As a result, the consumerisation of IT is turning into a tremendous opportunity for the IT department to prove once and for all how irrelevant and utterly out of touch it is.

Coffee and donut

Workers would rather use their own devices in the office than have perks such as free food and coffeePhoto: Shutterstock

Too many IT workers think they know far more than the users they are supposed to support. That may be true when it comes to the corporate infrastructure, the ERP, the CRM and how to make sure that venerable database server doesn't fall over again.

But when it comes to gadgets, we're all on a fairly level playing field. Non-IT staff know what they want their office hardware to do and what it's actually capable of.

According to research out recently, half of workers now want to choose their work mobile for themselves. No surprise there, perhaps - it's likely your home PC or tablet could easily outshine the ageing hardware your IT department can afford to supply you with.

However, here's an interesting wrinkle: nearly three-quarters of workers are now such big fans of using their own kit they would give up on office perks including free coffee, free food and office supplies if they were allowed to use their own devices in return.

One in five of these gadget lovers even claimed to...

About Steve Ranger

Steve Ranger is the UK editor of TechRepublic, and has been writing about the impact of technology on people, business and culture for more than a decade. Before joining TechRepublic he was the editor of silicon.com.

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