In the latest edition of the Economist (23-29 Nov), there is an article on the evolution of an app culture in businesses – ‘Applications at work’ – in which employees feel able, indeed feel empowered, to identify and obtain the software they feel they need to do the job. Some, the report adds, feel capable of developing the applications themselves. Essentially the growth of bring your own device, or BYOD, has led to BYOA: the device now doesn’t matter; it’s about introducing applications that help you to be more productive.

The article goes on to cite research by the Economist Intelligence Unit into the views of CIOs on this new business culture:

But from the CIO’s perspective, departments taking such decisions into their own hands – without always thinking of the ramifications – can lead to increased complexity, cost and risk. If something goes wrong – if corporate data is ‘leaked’ because of a poorly built app, for example – the buck will stop with IT.

How are CIOs reacting to demands for such technology autonomy? In the EIU research, nine in ten CIOS agreed with the statement that “greater freedom for business units to make technology decisions is critical if the business is to grow”. If anything, they appear more convinced on this scores than their business unit peers.

Simon Short, Capgemini UK CTO and Head of Digital ServicesSimon Short, CTO and head of digital services at Capgemini UK, a technology consultancy, sees two types of CIOs. “You’ve got the ones who are still fighting the battle to lock everything down, to keep control, to disallow ‘bring your own device’ and the accessing of [external technology] services. And there is another type, who says ‘Our job is about enablement.‘”

In their mission as business enablers, CIOs and IT departments clearly have more to gain from the flourishing of an app cultre in their organisation than from its suppression. “This is a fantastic opportunity for CIOs,” maintains Mr Short, speaking of the “bring your own” movement. “They should embrace it.

You can read the full article via The Economist Group’s Slideshare page.

This and other articles about the challenges and opportunities of mobility, sponsored by EE, can be found at