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Bring Your Own SaaS to Work (BYOS)

April 12, 2012 - 5 Comments

The popular trend to “bring your own device” (BYOD) to work is not surprising to those who are informed about the recent past. This phenomenon was preceded by savvy employees that would introduce useful consumer-grade software applications to the enterprise – without the approval of gatekeepers within the corporate IT organization.

The early adoption of online instant messaging, wiki and blog platforms are noteworthy examples of where many corporate IT departments have been slow to embrace online collaboration applications. Moreover, when the approved enterprise-grade vendor has been chosen and the “solution” is deployed, sometimes it’s inferior to the consumer-grade offering.

How is that possible? Typically, nobody from the IT department thought to ask their early adopter employees for guidance.  No doubt, the user requirements can always benefit from the experiences of those who have already considered the product or service alternatives.

Online video chat is one of the latest tools that is typically “under evaluation” by IT managers, while the savvy early-adopter employees have been longtime users of consumer apps – such as Google Talk or the G+ Hangouts. And so it goes…

Cisco IT has recently upgraded its internal hosted collaboration platform – I had participated in the initial alpha testing and I’m still experimenting with the capabilities.

Digital Content Curation in the Cloud

Most of my own collaboration activity starts with consuming various forms of external online content. In particular, I read and interpret market research summaries or the full reports from industry analyst market studies – I do this every day, as a routine.

I use several similar curation tools to help me uncover, aggregate and consume new market insights — including,,,, and – my primary reading tool is, at this time (meaning, that’s subject to change, if and when I find something better for my needs).

If the market for an emerging new category is immature, or there are other reasons why the prospect of a desktop solution is not attractive, then utilizing a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform or an associated Analytics-as-a-Service (AaaS) offering tends to make a lot of sense.

There’s too many different content sources, fueling an abundant stream of new  information, so I simply can’t accomplish my own “daily enlightenment” goal in isolation — without the aid of these purpose-built cloud-based services that I’ve adopted.

You may recall that back in January, as part of My Connected Life in the Cloud series, I shared some astonishing facts about the quest for business productivity advances, with lots of background data on the current challenges and opportunities. Note, I’m not trying to become an expert on corporate productivity, I just want to be better prepared to streamline the daily processes that I use – with the intent to positively impact my own workflow.

I’ve also discovered that others share my interest in this topic.

Pragmatic Approach to Being More Productive

I came across an insightful editorial that was published at the Harvard Business Review, it was authored by Ana Dutra, Chief Executive Officer for Leadership and Talent Consulting and Executive Vice President, at Korn Ferry International.

“At the most personal level, we make many choices that affect our productivity. Choices as simple as whether we use on-line banking, have a face-to-face meeting or set up a WebEx or Telepresence conference, send a written thank you note or an e-mail. Most of the time, the same technology that enables each and every one of us to multi-task and be always “on call” and consider trade-offs that didn’t exist in the past.”

I can relate to her point of view. Specifically, I believe that the people we choose to be associated with is a significant contributing factor in our own personal productivity. Perhaps Dr. Dennis Waitley, a recognized authority on high level achievement and personal excellence, offers the best explanation for why those among us may feel unfulfilled and lack a sense of purpose.

He says “Most people tiptoe carefully through life, so that they can make it safely to death.” With that observation in mind, I offer the following lessons-learned for your consideration.

  • You’re more likely to feel like a victim of circumstance when YOU decide that you have no other options. So, nurture your curiosity to help fuel your options.
  • My own credo that helps me strive to live a life with purpose is “If it’s worth doing at all, then do it with passion.” It’s hard to achieve inspiration, without passion.
  • I’m drawn to others who are passionate about their own work, and I’ve learned that there is a science to goal-oriented interaction – it’s called Teleonomy.

My next post in this series will be about how I have evolved to using a Cloudbook (another term for Chromebook) and how this device has enabled me to adapt my daily workflow to include more cloud-based applications.

>>More… Connected Life Exchange

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  1. An interesting new study by the Hay Group offers a candid assessment of innovation and collaboration efforts at 20 leading corporations - "Of course, leadership is vital to a company's bottom line. It is no coincidence that over a 10-year period, the top 20 companies as ranked by Hay outperformed the S&P 500 at twice the rate as other companies." -

  2. Eric Zeman's commentary, about the launch of Google Drive, reminds me that while corporate IT can limit or ban large file attachements to internal email systems, they've rarely provided an approved and secure alternative. Meanwhile, for years now, savvy employees have eagerly embraced the free consumer cloud-based file storage services. Here's the whole story

  3. I mentioned that I've been using the Cisco enterprise collaboration platform, the external cloud-based version is called Cisco Quad. You can learn more about the business process optimization applications by viewing this flash video overview

  4. Scott Gassmann wrote an interesting and detailed account of his company's transition. It's entitled "Going all in: How to run a company on 21 apps in the cloud"

  5. What do other people do to increase their productivity? Harrison Weber offers "13 Simple ways to stay efficient while you work" at TNW