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Code for Their Mobile

September 25, 2013

Episode 1

I was on a web development project. I brought up mobile as a platform we should test against. The project manager said no, our user base had company-supplied notebooks. I talked to users and they said they were accessing our site with their personal mobile devices.

Episode 2

I was on a web development project. Field agents were supplied with notebooks to access our site. I talked to field agents and they told me the notebooks were cumbersome so they used them at home to generate the data they needed then emailed that data to themselves to use in the field from their personal mobile devices. Mostly they just gave the notebooks to their children to play with. When the company learned of this they approached the users and asked, “If we give you iPads will you use them in the field?” Guess what the answer was. Guess whose kids have new iPads.

Deal With It

People like to use their personal devices. They have a relationship with them. They don’t want to carry around secondary or cumbersome, corporate supplied balls and chains. Security aside - and that could be a big caveat depending on your situation - let your people do their job using their equipment. The end result will be the same but you won’t have to buy, configure and maintain equipment. Your users won’t have to jump through hoops to get the data onto the equipment they want to use.

Epilogue

I wrote all that so I’ll share it but the message could be stated differently. As in… Your users are already carrying around computers with Internet-connected browsers. You don’t need to supply them with yours. They don’t want them, though their kids do.

Update

This also applies to letting IT staff do corporate email from their personal devices. (Deal with it!)