Bring Your Own Software is a Misnomer

The con­sumer­iza­tion of IT is not just about bring­ing your own devices. I like to think it’s about a lot more — it’s about bring­ing your own expec­ta­tions on how to best use tech­nol­ogy to get your job done. In the future, that means that those so inclined will be able to write their own soft­ware to solve their own prob­lems at work, just like peo­ple today cre­ate Excel for­mula or Word templates.

As I briefed a writer about this idea for a paper I’m work­ing on I used the exam­ple of peo­ple not only want­ing to bring their iPhones to their banks to do their bank­ing, they’re going to want to bring their per­sonal finance soft­ware appli­ca­tion too. This is an exam­ple of using API’s to sep­a­rate out the user expe­ri­ence… cus­tomers are not tied to the bank’s nar­row def­i­n­i­tion of their bank­ing platform’s inter­face, they can cre­ate or use their own. What these cus­tomers want is pro­gram­matic access to their bank­ing infor­ma­tion and the ser­vices they use to take bet­ter advan­tage of what the bank has to offer.

A Busi­ness Ben­e­fit: Cre­at­ing More Prosumers

There’s good research that credit card pro­sumers, peo­ple who know how to make the most of their credit card ben­e­fits, are more loyal-to and have a higher satisfaction-with their banks.

It’s not just about the API tech­nol­ogy that gives peo­ple dig­i­tal access to their bank, it’s about cre­at­ing more pro­sumers to drive brand satisfaction.

Of course, bring­ing your own soft­ware is about more than just bank-consumer inter­ac­tions. It’s about bank-partner inter­ac­tions like we saw last week with Ama­zon & Sam­sung, and it’s about bank-employee inter­ac­tions so that com­pa­nies can do more with less.

Bring­ing Your Own Soft­ware is Bor­ing Unless the Soft­ware They Bring Con­nects to Enter­prise Data & Processes

After shar­ing this exam­ple with the writer, he for­warded me an arti­cle on the trend to “bring your own soft­ware” as a way to improve employee effi­ciency.

Frankly, I think this arti­cle com­pletely misses the point. It’s not about bring­ing your own soft­ware as much as it is con­nect­ing your own soft­ware into the “dig­i­tal assets” of the com­pany you work-for, partner-with, or are a customer-of.

The arti­cle talks about Asana as a great exam­ple of an inno­v­a­tive tool for reduc­ing email that employ­ees who are over­whelmed by email are choos­ing as a way to get out from under the email del­uge. Boring.

What if using secure API’s any employee that chose to could tie an Asana project plan into a project cost struc­ture to do their job bet­ter? That’s the real power of bring­ing your own software.

It’s about the data and the processes that make an orga­ni­za­tion tick, not the silly tools that we use to keep track of our to-do-list and how we work with oth­ers. When the soft­ware we bring can inter­act securely & eas­ily with the organization’s data and processes, then we’ll really be doing some­thing interesting.

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