If you look at the picture at the top of this column, you'll see right away that I'm a Boomer of a certain age, and like many of my cohorts, I was not exactly pro-war during the 1960s. Well, I still have a few activist bones in my aging body, and there's another war I'd like to stop: the grinding battle between enterprise IT and the masses clamoring to use smartphones, social media, and other noveau technologies at work.
A lot has been written about the "consumerization" of IT and the flood of mobile and social networking products into the workplace. There are many reasons that the deluge frightens IT. Some of those reasons are pretty good: Security is a very valid worry, of course, and there are some knotty cost and control issues to sort out. But I have a lot less sympathy for the IT exec who simply says no to technology that he or she can't control or simply doesn't understand.
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In any case, it's a war that IT can't win. If you're as old as I am, you'll remember the angst and struggle about bringing the PC into the workplace. It's happening again with smartphones and so forth, but these days technologies move much, much faster, and the battle is very compressed. Fortunately, developers are sensing the opportunity to play peacemaker and make money with solutions that could satisfy the concerns of IT and the desires of a youthful user base.
I'm just back from Demo Spring 2011, where 50 or so startups and young companies showed off their technologies to an audience of investors and tech journalists.
An outfit with the unlikely name of Enterproid stands out because it offers software for the Android platform (iOS and others will follow) that promises to satisfy both IT and users. Simply put, Enterproid's Divide imbues an Android device with a split personality that lets users create and keep personal and professional profiles on one Android smartphone or tablet.