The IT consumerization trend that brought us BYOD (bring your own device) trend will soon be extending to BYOA, or bring your own application.
That's the prediction of Edwin Schouten, who points out that along with doing a lot of their work on their own smartphones, tablets or laptops, employees also will soon be selecting the application they are most comfortable with. "This is the whole 'app' culture nowadays," he points out. "Although everyone has a preference, which app you use does not matter, as long as it gets the job done."
Actually, BYOA first perculated in the 1980s, with the introduction of spreadsheets -- which many financial people brought into the workplace to crunch numbers. Now, with the app stores and cloud, there are zillions of BYOA possibilities.
Schouten predicts that BYOA is financially viable for organizations as well, for the following reasons:
Applications are increasingly consumed on a pay-for-use basis. "You will not pay double because half of your customers use application A, and the other half use B."
Training requirements are reduced. "In the merger scenario, no additional effort has to be put in educating users on being able to use the single 'enterprise-selected' application."
Integration as a Service and standardized cloud APIs are evolving. Many of these capabilities are being offered right out of the box, or via a software appliance.
Of course, just as is the case with BYOD, eventually, the IT department ends up having to get involved. BYOD and BYOA may look like time-saving end-runs around IT, and may be at first, but guess who ends up having to support the products? Here's where governance -- in which the business and IT lay down guidelines about what is acceptable -- can ease the transition.