[quote]Employers have always been stingy with employee technology, cutting down the capabilities to meet a price.[/quote]
When the IBM PC launched in Europe in 1983 (Happy Birthyear!), most employees got models with a floppy disk drive and a black-and-white display — no 10MB hard drive or colour screen for them. And the same with mobile phones — reserved for corporate executives who traveled a lot.
Today we have a situation where employees are prepared to fund their own technology —even to the tune of several hundred pounds — rather than rely on what their employer will allow them. For nearly 30 years most employees have had better IT equipment in their homes than they have had in the office.
As the number of home-workers increases within companies (around one-third of BT’s personnel are home-based), employers have a choice. They can force their employees to use equipment that is not the best, stuff that doesn’t have the greatest and most up-to-date facilities, which adds least to employee productivity and that isn’t what the employee would prefer but that matches the corporate budget.
Or they can let their employees choose what will help them to do their job best — and even at the employee’s own expense.
Today the issue is much less one of finance, it’s one of productivity and security. But that’s not much different to when the IBM PC was launched. Could we trust employees to take corporate data off-line onto their PCs and not steal the data? Should we instead continue to force them to work on dumb mainframe terminals and thereby ensure data security?
We can all look back 30 years and see the result of this IT struggle and how it has changed our world. We can choose to ignore our own experience, or we can get to grips with the security solutions that are needed to move our firms forward over the next 30 years with greater productivity and happier employees — and at an even faster rate of change than before.