Is consumerisation a threat or an opportunity for IT departments?

By David Bicknell

I just came across a good read, a piece by Galen Gruman on Infoworld in the US, continuing the discussion over consumerisation of IT.

Under the headline, ‘Relax, IT: Endpoint diversity is nothing to fear’, Gruman points out that ‘old IT hands’ remember the days of widespread business computing – the early to mid-1990s – when every department had its own computers and software, each different than the rest.

“Then, ‘Best of breed and ‘departmental computing’ became dirty terms, and IT and business leaders went about transforming both their technologies and work processes into integrated, standardised, homogenised approaches. That helped businesses take advantage of the Internet and tap into what is now a global supply chain of goods, services, ideas – and customers. Ever since, IT has guarded against a return to that chaos of incompatibility and inconsistency.”

“People bought ‘best of breed’ tools that didn’t work well together. That was OK at first, before corporate networking, much less the Internet, took off, and sneakernet – sharing information via paper memos and in meeting presentations – was the communications channel for most. As soon as real networks and the Internet became common, it became painfully clear how siloed businesses were, how incompatible data and processes were, and how much labor was involved in making the work products and technologies compatible across the systems.”

So, it’s perhaps no wonder IT’s nervous of what consumerisation may bring/is already bringing.  Now, the Economist Intelligence Unit has played down the impact of consumerisation,  describing it as an opportunity, not a threat.

Gruman concludes his piece like this: “Consumerisation can be a catalyst for IT to get rid of the legacies that bedevil it, as well as the unnecessary silos that have grown over time. That should create space for the value-added aspects of consumerisation’s diversity of apps, OSes, and devices, and even reduce the effort spent on the endpoint and low-level activities.”

The issues will be discussed at a forthcoming Corporate IT Forum ‘summit’ which will balance real-world user experience with supplier expertise, and present case studies, master classes, Q&A sessions and technical surgeries. You can view the Agenda here

Corporate IT Forum site

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