Friday, December 21, 2012

A BYOD Christmas Carol: "Bah humbug" is not an option

The ghost suddenly appeared from behind the bed curtains, rattling the old Ethernet cables dangling from its arms.
“Wh-who-who are you?” Scrooge gasped.
“I am your old IT guy, Jacob Marley.  The one who left to take a job at that hot start-up…”
“What are you doing here?”
“I’m here to warn you, Scrooge,” the ghost moaned emphatically.  “You must see the error of your ways.  Your hardworking employees must not be chained to their desks over Christmas or any other time.  Including that Bob Cratchit guy.  Enterprise mobility is your business.  And that means BYOD is your business!”
“Bah, humbug!” scoffed Scrooge.
“You will be visited by 3 spirits this night!  Beware…”
As the clock struck one, the Ghost of Mobility Past clunked around the corner, wrapped in Palm Pilots and dragging Blackberry chargers and belt attachments.
“Scrooge!  Look at these happy scenes from your past.  You and the IT department are in control of employees’ mobile devices.  People can pick any one they want – as long as it’s a Blackberry.”
“Those were happy times,” sighed Scrooge.
“But your employees left you, Scrooge.  You chose to ignore what they loved: Apple products.”
“But I just wanted to save a little more money…I wanted us to be secure and happy…!” rationalized Scrooge, as the ghost faded away.
As the clock struck two, the Ghost of Mobility Present swiped into view, sleek and shiny with aluminum trim, black glass touch screens from head to toe.  An eerie yet friendly white light shone from an Apple logo on the ghost’s back.
“Scrooge!  Employees are bringing iPads, iPhones, and now even iPad Minis.  They want to use these devices today, right now…with your existing enterprise applications!”
Scrooge covered his eyes.  “No, I can’t look!”
“You must look, Ebeneezer:  over the holidays, all of those employees of yours are trying to get work done remotely, out of their offices.”  The Ghost pointed here and there as they flew over home offices and vacation sites.  “They want to get things done when they have a free minute using these wondrous, beautiful new devices.”
“It’s not possible!”  Scrooge insisted, grasping his sleeping cap tightly.  “These applications aren’t built for touch interfaces!  And we don’t have a BYOD policy…”
“Oh, but it is possible, Scrooge,” countered the Ghost of Mobility Present.  “I’ve seen companies big and small starting to do this…but like those from your past, your employees –and now your competitors – are leaving you behind.
“In fact,” the 2nd Ghost continued, “I hear that Bob Cratchit fellow is actually doing quite well.  He even has a financial advisor from UBS who uses an iPad to access wealth management tools and client portfolio information.”
“Bah, humbug!” insisted Scrooge.
And this ghost, too, faded away.
As the clock struck three, the Ghost of Mobility Yet to Be arrived amid a swirl of phablets, styluses, and a rainbow of neon Microsoft Surface covers.  With every wave of an arm, cheap $25 Android tablets tumbled from the ghost’s robes.
“Speak to me, ghost!” implored Scrooge.  “I know I must learn to avoid my terrible fate!  I see more tablets, everywhere!”
The 3rd Ghost was silent, so Scrooge continued, desperate to find the answer himself:  “I…I see the true cyber-Monday – the day everyone gets back to the office after Christmas break.  That’s the day we in IT truly dread!  It’s the day everyone tries to log into the corporate network using the brand new mobile devices they found under their trees Christmas morning.  I see chaos!  Anger!  Does it have to be so, spirit?"
The ghost shook its head.
“And…and…I see a very messy application development and infrastructure budget.  With all these many, many devices, I see that trying to do native development for every individual mobile platform for every enterprise application – it will just be too costly and too time-consuming!  I was wrong, Ghost!  I see that now!  I know what I must do!”
With a flash, the Ghost of Mobility Yet to Be returned Scrooge to his bedroom.
Scrooge burst into the snow-covered city street and dashed to the Cratchit home.  He arrived out of breath, his arms overflowing with presents, including tablets of all shapes and sizes, perhaps even including a Kindle Fire.
“Cratchit, I’ve seen the light!  I’d like you to help me take on a new mobility strategy for our enterprise applications.”
“Oh, Mr. Scrooge,” said Cratchit.  “It’s about time!  You know...we need to think this through carefully.  We’ll need a way to enable mobile access without rewriting all those existing applications.  And, we’ll need a way to make sure we don't but any data on the mobile device – no matter which device people pick.  And, of course, we need to make sure this has the performance and user experience that people will love the whole year through.”
“Yes, yes…I see all that now,” said Scrooge.  "I've had a busy night, you know."
“True," said Cratchit.  "Now…Tiny Tim says there’s this start-up company named Framehawk that is worth checking out…”
“Let’s give ‘em a ring, Cratchit,” said Scrooge.  “Without it, I think it's safe to say that BYOD is frightening enough to scare the Dickens out of anyone.”

Amusing note:  when I was about to post this, I saw that Palador's Benjamin Robbins (@PaladorBenjamin on Twitter) had just gone live with a very similar idea.  Nicely done.  They obviously thought of this far enough in advance to shoot a video with multiple locations, multiple actors, and a script that extensively quotes Charles Dickens.  You can go here to see A Connectivity Carol.  Happy holidays, every one.  If you are interested in an e-Guide on BYOD we did with Computerworld, you can register here.  And, be sure to let us know if you are interested in that solution Scrooge was talking about...

[This post also appears on the Framehawk blog.]

No comments: