The Consumerization of IT as a Disruptive Force

Back in the late 70’s when hobbyists really starting building and playing with computers at home, they did not realize that they were starting a trend that is having a huge impact on IT today.  When the IBM PC was announced in 1981, the trend received a huge adoption kick.  The Consumerization of IT was born.

The consumerization of IT remains one of the most significant forces affecting enterprise IT at this time.  Although many enterprises have started to understand the challenges posed by their employees' expectations of access to and use of consumer technology and applications inside the workplace, they have yet to reconcile these with the issues of control, security, governance and change management that they introduce.

Today, more and more enterprise workers are opting to buy their own laptops rather than accept the ones corporate IT are handing out.  These employees also want to tie into corporate networks via non-traditional devices like the Blackberry, the I-phone, and the I-touch.

Falling prices and broadening distribution have made IT an accessible and affordable commodity for consumers.  An increasingly pervasive communications infrastructure is encouraging new acquisition and delivery models and increasing the importance of Web-provided content.  The combination of affordable communications; low-cost, easy-to-use devices; and content (information, entertainment and applications) destabilizes the balance among enterprises,
producers, consumers and government.  This force challenges the basic assumptions of technology scarcity and uniqueness long held by enterprise IT.  Affordable access to technology and content increases the power of individuals and how they interact with the enterprise as customers or employees. 

Add to this the explosion in growth of web2.0 enabled social media and online virtual communities, these changes will cause significant disruption in business today.  Corporate IT now has to consider how applications like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are impacting corporate business processes.

Consider the kids in school today…they are all digital natives.  They have been around computers their whole lives.  My 14 year old daughter has been playing computer games since she was 3 (Freddie Fish!).   And today, like all teenagers, she is embracing social media applications as a way to communicate and share content with friends.  When she eventually (hopefully!) makes it into the job market, she will expect to IT tools in the enterprise to reflect the types of tools (gaming, texting, social networking, 3D, video) she has grown up with.

Some things to think about….

  • How will the consumerization of IT impact business processes in the future?
  • How can IT managers and business leaders manage the impact of the consumerization of IT on their business and operating models?
  • How will the consumerization of IT affect social relationships and interactions among individuals, enterprises and governments?
  • What new opportunities will arise from the consumerization of IT?

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