Employees don’t need your network. I can access any social network I like on my iPhone and my Palm Pre. I have a laptop with built-in access to the Sprint network that gets me on any site I want. Employees can (and do) bring these tools to the workplace. Your blocks have no impact. Employees can still get to Facebook all they want.
As someone who has managed networks of various sizes, I understand the need to manage resources to ensure critical business is not overwhelmed by other uses. But this article lays out some interesting points – on the network and other things – as they related to the corporate IT infrastructure.
In the early days, Corporate IT groups limited the services they would offer based on what was “supportable”. Frequently the cost of support would dwarf acquisition and operations by an order of magnitude (10x) or more. The implied deal being – we can’t let you have everything – but what we do give you we will provide training, in-service, and be responsible for the ability of the tool to meet you business requirement.
That ‘social contract’ (pardon the pun) has largely been broken. Training budgets have been non-existant for many and the outsourcing of services have limited support to the ‘hard outages’ not the ‘soft support’. The response is frequently if the service is operational – there is no problem. Whether you have the ability/information to use it or not is not a support issue.
So outside services and resources, which may have more commonly understood interfaces or tools start to look more useful than the Corporate IT Applications.
So, are Corporate IT days numbered – yes and no. The current round of economic ‘realities’ have seen cutbacks in many areas. Cancelation of corporate cellphones and blackberries, push to work from home (and home-based computers) are all seen as money savings. But this undermines the role of the IT Services provided centrally. In some organizations there is likely to be a tipping point where the personal technology becomes more useful than the corporate. And if the costs are not extreme, the individual employees could end up outsourcing their own IT services.