Thursday, June 20, 2013

How Does "Consumerization of IT" Really Work?

If you're in sales, and you sell anything that has to do with technology, you've seen this phrase before.  For some of us, we think about the massive influx of personal electronic devices being introduced into the work-place.  Consumerization of IT is more than this.  In this blog, I'll try to explain what's going on in a few easy steps:

  • Until about five years ago, Information Technology (IT) was originating at work.  People used Blackberry devices (remember the blue brick?) because they wanted to access work email.  Laptops were provided by companies and you pretty much were stuck with whatever the business/organization wanted you to have.  Same thing with applications.  You used what was given.  Even cell phones were dictated by the company.
  • Everything changed - and some people think Apple was the stimulating factor (I'll leave that one up to historians).  Several factors contributed to this paradigm shift:  1) Technology became smarter and more affordable; 2) Tablets became relevant PC-substitutes and have exploded in growth;  3) Internet applications have become more sophisticated, less expensive and browser-based apps have become common-place;  4) Apple's Macbooks and Google's Chromebooks are real alternatives now to regular PC's.  If you put these factors together, there's been an enormous technology spend by consumers on the compute and applications in their own personal lives.
  • Since consumers have all of these devices, options and applications that are quick, easy, affordable and robust, they see no reason why their companies shouldn't adopt the same technologies.  Guess what?  They're right.  Now it's actually the consumer (in the workplace) telling companies what to do. To address these growing concerns, companies are in a frenzy, trying to "catch-up" with expectations.
  • This "consumerization" is changing IT departments everywhere.  They're asking questions like:  How do I secure my network with 20 different types of devices trying to access the network?  How do I know if the device should be authorized?  How do I only allow users to access certain applications?  How do I manage a 10x fold increase in wireless devices on a network that's not built for that density?  Should I allow Macbooks or Chromebooks on the company network (if they don't - there will be a revolt!)?  How do I secure those?
  • These challenges have pushed IT organizations everywhere to address these challenges.  They are looking at solutions like BYOD (bring your own device), MDM (mobile device management), Virtual Desktops (VxI), and are being forced to evaluate cloud-based applications to keep a competitive edge and decrease operational costs.
Welcome to the Post-Consumerization of IT era.  It will be an interesting ride.

Happy selling.

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