We had a wonderful panel at InterOp on the future of tablets. Michael Dortch led Tom Henderson, Craig Mathias, (Maribel Lopez had to miss due to illness), a very active audience, and me through a set of four starter questions.

  1. What is the most important single thing business decision makers need to address when considering or pursuing support of tablets at their companies?
  2. What is the most important single thing technology decision makers need to address when considering or pursuing support of tablets at their companies?
  3. What is the most important single thing tablet technology vendors can or should do (or NOT do) when attempting to promote their products to business technology buyers and users?
  4. What is the single most important near-term future development for which everyone in our audience should begin preparing NOW?

You can see my draft answers in this post, but the answers from the platform were far more diverse, especially given the technical expertise of the 200+ standing-room-only audience. We covered the importance and variety of ways of achieving security, the notion that however much bandwidth you have, you will use it; that Bring Your Own Device is likely to be the rule unless you have a credible Choose Your Own Device plan.

My favorite response, however, came in from a colleague before the session started:

Robin Gareiss made a similiar point in the session proceeding ours when talking about the future of handsets, basically saying that they won't be handsets.

The pace of technology change will outpace the comfort of many organizations with the possibilities.

This idea led me to offer that this is IT's chance to shine. IT has the opportunity to lead organizations to what I'm calling NewWork.

NewWork is the evolution of the anytime, anywhere workforce. The evolutionary step is that the pressure is finally coming from all angles:

  • IT has ideas and access to technology that can enable our work freedom - tablets, glasses, secure connections and apps, and whatever the future and employees bring into the organization.
  • Employees are demanding the freedom and transparency to do a great job. Many of these same employees are acknowledging the responsibility that comes with this freedom and transparency.
  • Management is seeing the value of supporting empowered work design and the most plugged-in managers are mentoring their employees to do NewWork well.
Ray Wang has talked about the personas of a modern CIO: Chief Infrastructure, Intelligence, Integration, and Innovation Officers. IT leaders who can move across these personas can strategically offer the rest of the organization a brave new world. I suggest that IT leaders look for examples of companies already moving in this direction, Salesforce comes to mind (who else would you add?), and then share some possibilities that will affect the business heart of their own company. Business reception to IT ideas may be different than it's been in the past. Take this opportunity and offer to lead.

Want to hear more?