2011-12-21

Mercedes Benz and BYOD

I spent a week in meetings with our global IT group in the UK last month. It is always good to see the people face to face that you interact with on a regular basis and build those personal connections. It makes working together a lot easier and more productive.

During our time there, we had an outdoor activity at Mercedes Benz World. But first I have a confessions to make.

I have never driven a Mercedes Benz – because of the amount of taxes that we pay here in Israel on cars – a Mercedes is way too expensive – well all cars are expensive.. but a Mercedes even more so. So driving one was a great experience.

Mercedes Benz World was built on old race track – which was in turn converted into a airstrip during WWII and now is being partially used as a track again.

So we got to drive a Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG - Man what a car!! The sheer power of this machine is unbelievable. Going from 0-100 km/h in under 4 seconds – it feels like you are taking off in an airplane. What also amazed me was the fact that it could also go from 100km/h –> 0 in less than 2. This car can stop on a dime. We tried the skid tracks – and with all the safety features – and also with the safety features turned off as well. It was a lot of fun.

The second part was an off track course that we ran through with a …….. At one point we crossed a obstacle and the car was balancing on 2 wheels – yes only two – the front right and the back left and it bounced from one side of the obstacle to the other. Scary as hell but utterly amazing.

Benz1

Benz2

You are probably wondering by now – why is he writing about all this? What does this have to do with virtualization an modern IT? Well I had a light bulb moment.

Traditional IT is changing. We are faced with challenges that we have never faced before. Our users are used to having things at their fingertips. They need resources – they go to a cloud provider and order something on their credit card – circumventing IT completely. People want their corporate email on their personal devices, on their iPad, their tablet, their phone. They want to access the corporate network from anywhere in the world.

And not always can the IT department keep up. We are looking to have things controlled, secure, safe. Sometimes that is not fast enough for the evolving world. There are those in IT that are afraid of becoming irrelevant. We cannot always provide a cloud infrastructure that can compete with external providers in such a way that will be viable for our company – for a number of reasons.

  • Cost
  • Space
  • Process
  • Security

So what was the light bulb moment you may ask? Actually two.

  1. When seeing that car balancing on two wheels – you come to realize a car can do so much more than you think it can. So can we – we should just have faith in ourselves and we can accomplish so much more than we think can.
  2. Mercedes Benz introduced almost every safety feature in modern cars we know today ABS, ESP, airbags, Collision testing and Safety Zones – well a lot. The car can do unbelievable things, take corners that you would usually flip over multiple times in a regular car. Avoid objects in the middle of the road, because of the additional sensors that control the car.
    You can do crazy things in Mercedes, but the car – because of all the technology inside will keep you safe and stop you from killing yourself (and others as well). Because of this we trust the car – it will keep us from harm. Even if we make a mistake – it will correct it and keep us from harm.
    We always have the option of doing something stupid – like turning off the safety features – but then we are on our own.

We as IT professionals should be the same. We have to learn to give our users the flexibility and the leeway they need – but have the measures in place to keep them and the company - safe and secure. If they do something that is not safe for them – the tools should be in place to protect them – sometimes without them even knowing it.

They surf somewhere shady on the web – we have filters in place that block these kind of sites – to protect not only them – but everyone else. They get a suspicious attachment – we clean it out before they even get it.

We have learned to trust a Mercedes – because of its reputation and its credibility. For our users to trustimage IT – and not see us as an obstacle – as a nuisance – as not relevant – we have to build up such a reputation and maintain that credibility. Some people feel that if it were up to IT we would be riding around in a Ford Model T, but that is because we have a bigger responsibility to the entire company. Opening up all bittorrent sites to the whole company – just because that one user needs a file on bittorrent – perhaps is not the best way to do things

BYOD is here, and there is no stopping it – otherwise IT as we know it will no longer be relevant. We just have to adapt much faster than before.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of a Happy Chanukkah and a Happy holidays.

As always comments are more than welcome.

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