Sometimes it pays for CIO’s to pander to the enterprise user-base just a little. Even the most stubborn organisations have realised they can’t resist the tide of consumer devices now in the enterprise.

The shrewder CIOs are not just allowing and managing bring your own device (BYOD), they are looking to see how giving employees some freedom in the technology they use could pay dividends to their IT departments, budgets and the organisation.

One opportunity some CIOs are realising is that BYOD not only provides employee freedom, it creates communities of technology expertise. How many coffee break conversations centre on the merits of different brands and models of smartphone or tablet? Structure that enthusiasm and the organisation will benefit from it.

CIOs can harness that enthusiasm by encouraging users to share knowledge about each device, and help them solve each other’s problems. Blogging and in-house twitter apps might help get them to form their own user groups.

Not only would this reduce the support burden of devices brought into the business, it could have secondary benefits for IT.

Firstly, your own users can become a market research focus group for your future procurement decisions. Across your organisation, employees will have put hundreds of hours into road testing many of the devices on the market. By encouraging knowledge sharing, you could save on testing which devices could be most suitable to buy in-house.

Secondly, in offering end users a platform to share, and to some extent show off, their knowledge of a device, you are creating a channel through which you can publicise various IT policies and rules about using devices in business.

This could be in the form of security dos and don’ts, funny anecdotes about who lost which device where, and how they recovered the data. It might also be extended to policies around the use of social networks.

Through offering some freedom, CIOs and IT can learn from its users and help encourage responsible behaviour which could in the end reduce risk for the business as a whole.