Infrastructure Management 

Who is going to write your apps?

Six years ago Macs were banned from some offices but today BYOD prevails. Will that change who writes software critical to your organization?

I’m fascinated by millennial attitudes towards career and the workplace. Based on three characteristics, their attitude towards work is vastly different than my own GenX approach:

  • They’re highly praised and their sense of self-value is quite high. Their whole lives they’ve been told they can accomplish anything they set their mind to doing. When they have an idea, they’re encouraged to explore it. They don’t need permission to create, and worse, they’ve always had a seat at the adult table.
  • They’re the first “digital native” generation. They grew up connected, gaming and coding. A lot of them code. And those who don’t believe they can. Or that it’s just a detail to figure out along the way to world domination.
  • They watched their parents work hard their whole lives, only to lose a lot of their accumulated wealth in the recent recession. They’ve seen how the story of “climb the corporate ladder and pay your dues” ends and they’re not buying into the Ponzi scheme. They view their career in ebbs and flows, as more of a portfolio to assemble than a ladder to climb.


The IT connection

So what does this have to do with IT? As Galen Gruman writes in an Infoworld article: “About six years ago, Cisco Systems IT department was looking for ways to block Macs from the corporate network…”

It’s really difficult for IT to let go of control for many very valid reasons. In this case however, just because IT is correct doesn’t mean they’re right. I’m not just thinking about bringing personal devices to corporate networks when I think about millenials as IT customers.

I’m not even thinking about bringing your own identity (BYOID), which is important but still out there for many traditional enterprise IT thinkers. I’m thinking way more progressively – I’m thinking about software. Not only bringing your own, but creating it.

Why can’t people create their own software to complement their unique work demands? Everyone is learning to codeeven kids.

In fact, why can’t any employee, partner, or customer write their own software to maximize their interactions with your company? Only IT can write software, correct? Sure, and only the “standard PC configuration” can be used on the corporate network.

BYO trends will include software

Technology is changing, as are attitudes around its use driven in large part by the digital natives. They’re going to want to bring or create their own experience, not just bring their own devices.

It’s urgent for companies to start asking the questions to explore this possibility. If employees can’t create, they’ll leave. They’re already checking out.

Enterprise technology doesn’t make sense to them. It’s an inhibitor to their ability to create, when creating is what they’ve been raised to just go and do. They’re going to keep their jobs while they start something on the side (and build their portfolio, instead of focusing on climbing the career ladder).

Apps free-for-all

Can you imagine what IT would look like if anyone at all could write and deploy apps?

Let me give you a hint… it might look like the Apple App Store and Developer Program. Even more interesting is the results we can expect.

The results might look something like London’s TfL or New York City’s MTA, who by letting go have enabled the governable creation of many mobile apps that would have never otherwise been created.

Image credit: Merlijn Hoek

David is VP finan­cial ser­vices solu­tions at CA Tech­nolo­gies. He is an expe­ri­enced tech­nol­o­gist focusing…


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