"No plan survives contact with the enemy"
I quote this saying, attributed to von Moltke, whenever talking to technology vendors and IT managers. Why?
How many times have you gone to a technology presentation where there is an assumption by the presenter that all users have the same working environment and will use the technology in the way the vendor thinks they should?
At a recent presentation given by one of my clients, the IT guys stood up and presented their clear vision of the current and future environment for their users. They were proud of the uniformity of the user experience for IT and communications and I was impressed at the way that they had managed to keep control of the environment. They had gone for the full Microsoft stack with Blackberry as the mobile device of choice and Citrix for access to corporate applications.
The the COO stood up to present. He walked over to the podium with his iPad in hand, put his iPhone on 'silent' and proceeded to use a MacBook with Keynote to give his presentation. During his presentation about business direction and requirements. During his session he made a point of saying that the Generation Y new entrants to his business work in a completely different way to staff today and that IT had to run to catch up.
He was taking advantage of the Ctrix approach to access his corporate desktop from his own devices, not supplied by the company.
The last IT guy to stand up did a good job of joining the dots between the user demand and what IT was doing using their Citrix and virtualization of the desktop approach as a way of reconciling the cathedral (corporate IT) versus bazaar (the users) aproaches to getting the job done.
I took the lesson that you should never underestimate the power of the consumers of your service to use it in ways you never thought of.