The acronym “BYOD” has become passé, mainly because it’s not very remarkable any more when an employee uses a personal device for work purposes. I suspect that’s partly because enterprises have figured out which policies work for their situations, have socialized and enforced those policies, and employees generally know what to expect. And really, given the relative lack of big innovations in the mobile device market these days, users aren’t likely to be wanting to use something that IT has no clue about how to incorporate into the enterprise environment, or how to effectively restrict.
Nowadays, the trouble that end users can make for IT is much more on the application side, and it may not be just a matter of unauthorized applications making their way onto the network. In one of her first posts for No Jitter, our new associate editor Ryan Daily looks at a couple of recent announcements from Slack that are aimed at alleviating the new sorts of challenges that come from end users wanting to do their own thing with their collaboration technology tools.
The Slack announcements aim primarily at mitigating some of the confusion and overload that many enterprises have been grappling with ever since Slack made its way into the enterprise as a bring-your-own-application phenomenon. The new features give network administrators more and better tools for managing Slack channel proliferation, as well as better capabilities around guest accounts and automating creation of workspaces.
This is a significant new part of the language of enterprise communications managers. Where once you spent a lot of time on dial plans and voicemail boxes, the currency of communications circa 2019 is counted out in channels, workspaces, and integrations. This shift is probably why our Team Collaboration track has become one of the best-attended series of sessions at Enterprise Connect. You may still have to pay attention to dial plans and voicemail, and cloud communications can add some new twists there, but the world of team collab apps like Slack or the Teams twins of Microsoft and Cisco represents a different way of thinking, from a systems management perspective.
Basically, the new team collab apps give end users a lot more freedom to customize their experiences. But in setting things up the way they want them, end users may find, in many cases, that the network effects that make a team collab app so valuable can also make it kind of a beast to actually use—and, of course, to manage on the back end as well.
And because no new industry trend is complete without a buzzword, I give you: “prosumer.” This is the term that we’re apparently using now to describe Slack and other applications that are meant to have a consumer feel but were designed for work purposes. What this latest buzzword suggests is that you’re likely to find yourself having to treat your end users as consumers—you can’t make them do anything, and as far as they’re concerned, they’re always right.
In some areas, like security, you may be able to push back against end users’ freewheeling tendencies. But chances are, you’ll spend a fair amount of time playing defense as they try to push the limits of what the new tools can do for them.