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Monday, 30 July 2012 06:23

An IT Bill of Rights for End Users

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Last week I wrote about the victory of the end users.

I wrote about how the balance of power in the IT industry over the last 30 years or more, since PCs became widely used in business, has shifted decisively in favour of end users – people who use computers for their work, rather than people who manage them on behalf of the organisation.

The current debate over bring-your-own-device computing is the latest manifestation of this. IT exists to serve users and to help them do their jobs. It has no other purpose. Those fighting this trend are on the wrong side of history.

My article elicited an interesting response from Claire Hosegood, PR flack (director, external communications) for Unisys. She sent me a Unisys “IT Bill of Rights for End Users”, which I reproduce in full below.

It is based on the US Bill of Rights (as many can attest, we lack such a document in Australia). It’s an articulate exposition of what IT departments should be doing to support end users.

1.Freedom on Information – T he People shall have the freedom to create and store data once and access it anywhere through any device without threat of security breach.

2.Right to “bare arms” – The People shall have the right to “bare arms” — that is, not to be burdened by carrying multiple, redundant devices such as a corporate laptop, a corporate smartphone, a personal smartphone, etc.

3.Freedom of religion – The People shall not be encumbered in acquiring devices using Apple, Android, Windows or other technologies to which they have a religious attachment.

4.Freedom from unlawful search and seizure – The People’s personal data must be safeguarded when they are using their personal devices for company activities.

5.Right to ‘plead the fifth’ – The People shall not be required to report their identity unnecessarily. They should be able to log in once and use that single sign-on for all their work activities.

6.Right to a speedy resolution – When the People have problems with their mobile devices, they have the right to speedy and remote resolution of their problems. The service desk that supports them should proactively identify and fix potential problems unseen and unheard, with minimal need for input from the People.

7.Freedom of association – The People shall have the right to use social tools to enhance internal collaboration and customer service.

8.Prohibiting cruel and unusual punishment – The People shall not have to succumb to painful, unattractive user interfaces or out-of-date enterprise applications. The People should have access to regular updates that ensure efficient and fast access to critical information and services.

9.Freedom of expression – The People shall have the freedom to easily publish and share innovative and creative ideas with others in their workgroup, geography or company.

10.Freedom of choice – The Enterprise shall devolve upon the People the right to choose for work the form factor — smartphone, tablet, laptop — or software tool that they deem makes them most productive.

The Unisys IT Bill of Rights for End Users sums up neatly the responsibilities of the IT department. It’s not about technology, it’s about people.

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Graeme Philipson

Graeme Philipson is senior associate editor at iTWire. He is one of Australia’s longest serving and most experienced IT journalists. He is author of the only definitive history of the Australian IT industry, ‘A Vision Splendid: The History of Australian Computing.’

He has been in the high tech industry for more than 30 years, most of that time as a market researcher, analyst and journalist. He was founding editor of MIS magazine, and is a former editor of Computerworld Australia. He was a research director for Gartner Asia Pacific and research manager for the Yankee Group Australia. He was a long time weekly IT columnist in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, and is a recipient of the Kester Award for lifetime achievement in IT journalism.

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