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enterprise 2.0

Vision or Utopia?

Two completely separated events happened to me today that lead me to writing this post on which I have actually been reflecting for a while now.

First of all Bertrand Duperrin wrote this morning about the fact that the relationship between employers and employees is quite probably changing in a big way.

“Nous sommes en face d’une tendance nette : l’individu apporte sa capacité à résoudre des problèmes …”

“We’re facing a clear trend; employees bring their problem solving skills …”

Secondly, our IT department told me that my new PC had arrived, and asked me to give them the list of softwares that I wanted them to install on it. So I made a list of all the softwares I’m using, and I realized that out of 26 applications, only 5 had been installed by them (Lotus Notes, MS Word, MS Excel, MS Powerpoint and the ERP client), the other 21 had been brought and installed by me (with their blessing of course).

So what is that big belief of mine? (which is not at all ‘mine’ since I’ve seen it here and there on the Net since after I started thinking about it)

I believe that the time will soon come when people will bring their own computer, with their own purchased softwares, to work!

In other words not only will they offer their knowledge, skills and network to their employer, but also the hardware that they need in order to perform.

I originally started to think about this when I started my current job back in June 07. I was starting a new career in a medium, family owned company, and coming from a large American corporation, I was a bit taken aback by the fact that several softwares were (and are still) not installed by default on everybody’s PC; I had to ask the IT people to install Powerpoint on my PC for instance (I was even treated with a surprised “Ho! You’re also one of those people who use that program??!???). OK, I fully understand the reasons why; to be honest not everybody needs powerpoint. But still …

Also, several softwares which I could use to do my job were not available at all. Again, the reasons stands clear.

And anyway why should I impose on my employer to buy those licenses each time I change jobs!? (even if that doesn’t happen often).

Furthermore, why should all the PCs in the company always be changed on the same frequency? Some people are using power-hungry applications (and sometime several of those in parallel), others only use their word processor and the ERP client. So why should the second get a new more powerful PC at the same frequency rate than the others?

Of course the idea of people bringing their own hardware and software to work will not apply to the whole workforce; people in order entry, in technical services, in accounting, etc would probably not fall in the category of people who would bring their material along. But what about marketeers, designers, …

Of course, there are needs for unified softwares across the organization; ERPs, CRMs, … And these would still need to be supplied by the company, to ensure a uniformed flow of information.

But hese two points do not work against my theory.

So basically, not only would the worker be happier working with the tools he needs, but the company would benefit from a more productive worker, while lowering its IT costs!

This is all good, but how should I pay for all that hardware and software?

First of all, I think that this should be considered as an investment in ones career rather that a pure cost.

Secondly, I’m sure that it would be possible to negotiate a salary somewhat higher than the company’s proposed one. After all, they’ll make a saving on their own.

I realize that this idea is long from perfect and mature, but I believe that it is a good start for further reflections.

And in this respect, I’d love to hear your opinions; is this a vision or a utopia?

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About barthox

I'm 38, married, 2 sons. We live in Belgium. http://about.me/barthox

Discussion

3 thoughts on “Vision or Utopia?

  1. Considering people bringing their own stuff @ work, this post may interest you : http://www.fastforwardblog.com/2008/03/05/a-modest-proposal-to-kick-off-the-ultimate-user-revolution/

    One more thing : I work in a wonderful company where you have the choice between Mac and PC and where I’m allowed to use my own laptop because I’m more efficient with one only computer for my whole life instead of switching from one to another when I’m at home depending on what I want to do…

    I’m also convinced that people really take more care of their computers when they also use it for their own purposes.

    Posted by Bertrand Duperrin | 14 March, 2008, 9:15 pm
  2. Thanks for the link Bertrand. Now, I remember having read it when it was posted.

    But having just read it again, has reminded me of something else : I’ve been using a personal Palm PDA for my jobs since about 8 years now … ;o)

    Also, I’d like to clarify, that I don’t have any grudges against my current employer! I really enjoy working in such an enterpreneurial spirit, and the IT team is really open to suggestions!

    Posted by barthox | 14 March, 2008, 9:29 pm
  3. Man, this is a post I like. I guess I would be considered from the devil’s side. I’m from the IT side.

    You bring a couple of interesting thought on the table. I’m sure it would take us a couple of hours talking to cover these aspects.

    I’m going to throw a couple of point and if time permitted I’ll create a post to continue to explore what you opened… I can tell you this is like a Pandora box.

    A) IT want to be able to control their infrastructure and what kind of usage is being made out of it.
    B) IT is responsible to maintain the availability of the information that the business need to access and so puts in place means to do so (policy, access rights, firewalls, anti-virus, etc etc)
    C) In regulated environment, You need to demonstrate that the devices accessing Regulated data are under control. FDA, Sox and the likes, could request a company to demonstrate that these validated data have been created/accessed/modified in an environment that guarantees the reliability/accuracy/integrity of these data.
    D) copyright of the data sitting on your computer would be subject to debate … I created a document on something innovative on my personal machine (that you use at work). Who has the ownership of the document? Yourself as a person, or The Company through its employee (you) ? Big impacts!

    I could go to Z) rapidly as my mind is bubbling with many points

    This is a big topic. I guess we will talk soon again about this.

    Posted by Gaetan Dhont | 14 March, 2008, 9:58 pm
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