Mobile

How IT learned to stop worrying and start loving user experience

This is a guest post by Andrew Toy, the CEO of Enterproid.

I recently had dinner with four IT security experts from a Fortune 100 conglomerate to discuss BYOD, and I anticipated spending the night talking about security holes and the deep intricacies of securing complex systems. But the conversation took a completely different direction than what I expected.

As we dined, their security architect harped on the importance of user experience. After being burnt by vendors that delivered a stodgy user experience and enduring the consequential employee backlash, those around the table expressed the need for a hybrid IT approach that would delight employees and help drive mobile technology throughout their company. Security remains a staple for these modern IT security directors, but the steady flow of employees’ new technologies has changed their outlook.

Before the mega trend of IT consumerization, consumers were only exposed to the latest and greatest technology at work. There was a level of sophistication that limited the technology conversation to the CTO and IT security director.

Today, consumers have the newest technologies in their back pockets, and the competition for their buying power is propelling technology innovation at a rate that has never before been seen. With innovation happening too fast for businesses to keep up, enterprise IT has reached the tipping point — they must now include employees in their technology discussions and decisions.

With a litany of personal experiences using technology in everyday life, the modern tech-savvy employee already has an idea of how he or she should be able to conduct business at work. People want to use the tools that offer them the best user experience, and they won’t settle for mediocre solutions when they know better technology is available. Executives have begun to see a push back in mobile; employees veto the idea that their entire work device should be managed by the enterprise, and they reject that they must use a device chosen by management with a subpar experience.

Consumers are not the only ones challenging the traditional approach to enterprise IT. Next-generation IT experts have grown up with technology and they see prescriptive IT as being ill-fitted for today’s modern enterprise. The status quo is crumbling under growing pressure from employees, and observant executives are keenly aware.

But the consumerization of IT and this shift in enterprise IT hasn’t made the CTO position obsolete; the trend has just reinvented it. There are still great stakes in keeping the enterprise and its data secure. Today’s CTO must keep those timeless priorities in mind when selecting technology with high-quality user experiences. Since the quality of UX correlates with a workforce’s productivity, a CTO’s ability to select technology with excellent UX has become a performance indicator; if a CTO chooses a technology that isn’t positively accepted by employees, it is considered a failure.

A successful balance is one that includes input from the workforce but keeps leadership intact; the CTO shouldn’t make decisions in a vacuum, and the employee shouldn’t take over decision-making.

With technology’s exponential rate of development, there will always be new platforms and devices emerging. A successful strategy keeps enterprise IT leaders in touch with the technologies used by their employees and encourages employees to point leadership to vendors that develop agile and secure solutions with great user experiences. Enterprises who succeed in this evolution will see big productivity gains and will be rewarded with a competitive advantage over their peers.

andrew toyAndrew Toy is the CEO of Enterproid. Before Enterproid, Andrew was VP of Mobile and Syndication Technology at MTV Networks. Prior to joining MTV Networks, Andrew headed mobile application development for Morgan Stanley, specializing in mobile-video delivery as well as fixed-mobile convergent telephony.

Businessman using touch interface via everything possible/Shutterstock


Mobile developer or publisher? VentureBeat is studying mobile app analytics. Fill out our 5-minute survey, and we'll share the data with you.