March 12, 2017

Consumerisation of IT

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Consumerisation of IT refers to the transferring of consumer market IT solutions to the workplace, used to resolve enterprise needs. Among others, the use of laptops, tablets, smartphones, and software applications such as social media, web conferencing, cloud storage, smartphone applications and even delivery models used to make solutions available to consumers. This trend to see devices and applications as transferrable from the personal space to the workplace is thought of as an opportunity for organisations to take advantage of considerable productivity gains, including in aspects such as diffusion (the marketing, communication and training of such IT solutions). There is enormous potential for enterprises to capitalise of new technologies and models that are created in the consumer space, by developing applications aimed at improving employee productivity and customer satisfaction.

Consumerization of IT and Analysts

As stated in an article by CIO.com (http://www.cio.com/article/2377568/cloud-computing/as-idc-sees-it-tech-s-third-platform-disrupts-everyone.html), IDC’s report regarding the “third platform” trends for 2014 represent such a disruptive impact on business-as-usual as it has been practiced over the lifetime of what we call the Information Age.

The author sees these trends as the true emergence of the Information Age, as “what went before was really just nascent information technology tacked onto a relatively undisturbed Industrial Age.”

Consumerization of IT and Agile

This statement seems to hold true in terms of delivery practices and even organisational culture that remained in the mechanistic mindset until the advent of Agile.

The report continues “IT investment is skewed toward third-platform initiatives, even to the extent that some of the investment toward third platform is being funded by ripping out existing legacy environments — presumably by on-premises legacy systems being replaced by software as a service.”

Investment has leaned towards public cloud computing, and IT organizations bias spending toward the third Platform and away from legacy systems and even designs.

Interestingly, other references to Agile in the paper refer to the ongoing shift of power from central IT to application groups and business units, the latter two represented by developers. These continue to sustain the need for an Agile transformation within organisations in order to finally move to the real Information Age. “It’s critical to recognize, too, that this shift is occurring not because IT executives have suddenly come to realize the intelligence of their developers or their contributions. The shift is occurring because developers are the vehicle by which new applications are created, and IT is — finally — coming to the fore in most companies”.

These trends reflect in a complete renaissance of the corporate and IT ecosystems; opening a great number of opportunities for innovation, productivity and savings both in the public and private sectors.

The challenge presents itself to businesses is twofold. How to embrace the consumerisation of IT and everything it offers, against the risks that are provided;

  • Reduction in training requirements, as more people use PCs and apps at home
  • Freedom of choice of providers
  • Rapid solutions and offerings from a global marketplace
  • Expectations that Government can respond as fast as a commercial enterprise
  • Security and integration concerns
  • Proliferation of available tools and platforms (and ability of people to select their preference) causing fragmentation – e.g. Dropbox vs OneDrive vs Google Drive etc. – or Mac/iOS vs Windows 7/8/10 vs Android vs Linux
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