Bypassing the IT Networks at Work

Farhad Manjoo at Fast Company wrote an article about the use of consumer-based IT products in corporate environments. He cites a story told by Google CIO Ben Fried. A few years back, at a previous company Fried worked at, an intern started at that company and basically refused to use their antiquated IT equipment. He brought in his own computer, his own Internet connection (via modem)…and was their most productive intern that summer. I wonder how much money was spent by that company on their IT equipment/department? Did they resist an intern not using their system?

I know I’ve chosen to use my Macbook at times for work related stuff when I’m out of the office. It’s just easier to use and I don’t have to worry about all the security settings. It just makes my job easier to use my personal equipment at times.

I also wonder how effective corporate IT policies are in stopping “time wasting” activities like using social networking sites…when people have their own personal gear anyways. Can’t use Facebook at work? Oh well, most people have a smartphone in their pocket anyways. If they want to waste time, it’s not that hard to pull the phone out of their pocket and waste it. It’s an easy way to skirt around an IT policy.

It’s going to be very interesting to see how companies address this. Should we ban all use of personal gear at work? Maybe. But what if that personal tech gear makes workers more productive? Most corporate IT departments seem more intent on governing use of their 7 -year-old technology, than developing strategies that bolster the bottom-line. Dot Com companies are the exception of course.

As the Millennials infiltrate our workforce and middle management ranks, it will be interesting to see how they change the corporate approach to technology. They were born with an umbilical cord to both their mother and their computer. Can we really hope to separate that at work, or should we look for ways to harness that power? What happens when the boss is an avid social networking user in his personal and professional life? Will we eventually see managers reprimanded by IT departments? How will IT departments respond to more and more employees using their personal gear (smartphones, Ipads, laptops) to be more productive and bypass the “safe” systems IT created? Will we see a demise of the traditional corporate It department enforcers? I kind of think so, although I have no idea how data and corporate secrets should be guarded in the future.

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About Tim Vanderpyl
I am a student of leadership and human resources, and I'm blogging to share some of my thoughts and ideas with readers. I'm a CHRP (Certified Human Resource Professional) at a large healthcare organization, a graduate of Regent University's Doctor of Strategic Leadership program, and lover of the life that God has gifted me with.

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