I finished up installing a privacy fence in our backyard a couple weekends ago. My sore muscles and my bloodied hands will profess that it's hard work. The fence is a good solution for our family. I didn’t install it because we have lousy neighbors, or because we like to do questionable things in our backyard. Neither of those has any measure of truth, I promise. We have two dogs that, given the right opportunity, will take off exploring across the neighborhood. We live relatively close to a very busy road and have always been afraid of that one instance where one of the dogs' stupid buttons gets stuck in the ON position and we become one dog short.
Funny to me now, but as I pondered this during my fence building weekend, I found a way to make it relate to the IT Pro world.
End-users will never change. No matter how comfortable technology becomes, end-users will still hit the limits of their abilities. They'll continually push the envelope, feel like they are invincible, and showcase a knowledge of computing that only gets them halfway to expert. There are many reasons why there are IT Pros, and a good portion of that is to protect end-users from themselves.
Vendors, these days, are continually trying to develop industries around options, customization, and freedom for the end-user, and all the while attempting to eliminate IT Pros from the equation. BYOD, Cloud, Consumerization of IT – these are all technologies intended to replace certain IT tasks while being marketed as "better enabling the business."
Well, I call 'bunk.'
Creating an industry where it didn't exist before is the basis of creative business principles and a means to generating revenue. That's business 101. But, creating an industry to eliminate IT Pros through bringing freedom to end-users is dangerous. As I said, end-users will never change. If someone were ever to create a computer with only a single button that somehow sensed desires when it was pushed, end-users, no matter how technologically savvy, would still find a way to screw it up. Vendors are creating industries doomed to fail, unless IT Pros are involved.
IT Pros exist because they are experts in the technology field. It's their job to know technology. End-users will never be computing experts, because it's their job to manufacture, sell, market, and crunch numbers. It's not required of end-users to be technology experts.
IT Pros understand end-users better than the vendors, and they understand the limitations and boundaries required to ensure that the workforce is successful in growing and maintaining the business. The vendors hoping to consumerize IT need to take a step back and get a real view of how technology works in a business. Despite some of them working in IT for years, they seem to have forgotten how things really work.
Just like my new privacy fence keeps the dogs within the proper, secure confines of our yard, IT Pros need to deliver a message to the vendors pushing consumerized computing goods.
"You can't do it without us."