I'm not sure that the business world is going to latch onto this term but "user determined computing" has received some press lately. A study that Accenture is set to release soon (only PR information is currently available so details are still a little sketchy) details the concept and provides background information. Here is the 30,000 foot view:
Today, home technology has outpaced enterprise technology, leaving employees frustrated by the inadequacy of the technology they use at work. As a result, employees are demanding more because of their ever-increasing familiarity and comfort level with technology. It’s an emerging phenomenon Accenture has called “user-determined computing.”
Interesting. So what Accenture is saying is something that we have known all along (see my related post here). Business users have so many tools at their disposal that it is almost impossible for a lumbering IT organization to keep up with the pace of change.
So, as business users what do we do? Keep innovating, of course! Now lets talk about what the IT department can do to keep up.
My solution would let employees have at it. Allow them generally unrestricted access to the internet (NOTE: It is appropriate to filter gambling and prOn....any other filters and you are just fooling yourself). After that, the most commonly used tools (ie. the best in class) will filter to the top. Herein lies the problem. Over time employees will create accounts on these web-based applications that capture important business information. Control over access to these tools is limited so what happens when an employee leaves? Can you access their Basecamp site? Or their Jott list? Or their Google Adsense account? This could be a significant problem if not properly controlled. I'm still waiting for a vendor solution that would allow corporate IT departments to manage user access to web-based tools...NOT "restrict" but "manage". Centralized administration of access to popular web-based tools is necessary to ensure that business data does not leave with the employee.
Sounds like a perfect opportunity for the Open ID movement.