bring your own democracy

The IT department is flattening office hierarchy, one device at a time

May 3, 2013
Obsession
Mobile Web
May 3, 2013

Everyone is fretting over “bring your own device” policies and the headaches they mean for the information-technology department. But the silver lining is that they also help make workplaces, across titles and time zones, much more equitable places.

Corporate access to devices is being driven by the organization’s need for increasing productivity, not the need to save money by limiting access. Within organizations, different people already use laptops, desktops, tablets and smartphones depending on their role within the company. In the past this was heavily influenced by the level the individual held within the organization; however, in recent years, with lower costs for portable devices, this is no longer the case. People who are on the move (i.e. nearly everyone) require portable devices—be they smartphones, laptops or tablets—regardless of whether they are sales representatives or CEOs.

Regardless of country or work function, equality among workers can be ensured by providing appropriate access to the information needed to do the job and the tools to manage that information. Which device (including operating system) should not be an obstacle to that access and the correct device is very likely to be dependent on the task to be performed.

Device selection and operating system (OS) selection go hand-in-hand because the OS is coupled with the device (e.g. Apple iOS with iPads and iPhones, Microsoft Windows with laptops, Android with many other Smartphones, Linux as an option on laptops and desktops, etc.). When we select one, we really select both.

Workers are selecting the device and associated operating system they are most familiar with. The ever-increasing array of smartphones, tablets and computer devices are available in almost every country so there are no constraints to what a worker can choose now that BYOD has arrived. The benefit to the organization is that workers are happier and more productive as a result.

While still in their early stages, mobile-device management solutions are helping IT to secure any device being used in the corporate environment, which in turn, allows workers and organizations to use the devices that they prefer–all leading to help ensure information access and equality among workers.

We welcome your comments at ideas@qz.com.

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