Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A Different IT Department

Credit: Facebook, Source: CNN Money
With the onset of BYOD (bring your own device), a changing mindset in which employees and students expect and are expected to bring their technology to the workplace or academy, the strategy of supporting and maintaining technology is changing rapidly. Historically, IT departments were the gatekeepers for and enforcers of network technology and safety, prescribing or creating barriers to technological non-conformance. If you were going to get access to an organization’s data or software, you were expected to come to work or school willing to take the technology you were given, and be thankful for that. Further, it was assumed that you know nothing at all about technology and how it works, and would necessarily rely on the helpful IT folks.

Nowadays, you expect to show up with your iPhone or Android and some unique combination of devices on your first day with no loss of functionality. You’d think it would be a nightmare! Instead, many IT gurus are embracing the
challenge, and pulling off some incredible new service models for populations who are increasingly comfortable with and demanding of a variety of technologies. Campuses like Cisco, Google, Nokia and others have “genius bars” for Campuses like Cisco, Google, Nokia and others have “genius bars” for DIY repairs or to drop off technology, ANY technology, for repair. Your laptop is fixed in a couple of hours, no matter who made it, or where you bought it. You may even be able to replace that mother board yourself with a little help from an IT advisor, a clean environment and a couple of tools. There are even customized vending machines that can dispense a cell phone at the swipe of an access badge.

With the perspective of someone who scheduled time on a “main frame computer” in the late 70s, I think we all have gotten more comfortable with the possibilities and the constraints of technology. In the early days, we DID have to protect the fragile and costly resources that stored our data and automated our processes. Today we have figured out a way to cope with the difficulties we’ve encountered along the way. Data is stored in the cloud, encrypted so it is protected and transferred wirelessly at speeds beyond our previous imaginations. And with this progress, the individuals and organizations we turn to for help have become more human.

Although I roll my eyes every time I’m told to “reboot,” I’m kind of proud to be able to say, “I’ve already done that” and “I’ve checked the power source, too.” It becomes a common reference between us, and we laugh a little together.

-Bryant Rice 


About the Author:
Bryant Rice, Vice President of Strategic Accounts, is our Workplace Warrior. He deals out strategy, perspective, and opinions. Bryant brings over 30 years of experience to SideMark as an architect, planner, workplace strategist, facilities manager and furniture manufacturer. Bryant holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Architecture from the Georgia Institute of Technology as well as a MArch and MBA in Architecture and Business Administration from the University of Illinois. To contact Bryant, email him at bryant_rice@sidemark.com

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