Category Archives: Consumerisation

CIOs and marketing leaders may be competitors for critical role in harnessing customer data

By David Bicknell

It’s a sign of the times that by  2017, according to the Gartner research group, organisations’ chief marketing officers will be spending more on IT than the CIO. It is departments such as marketing that are helping drive consumerisation within the organisation with healthy purchases of tablet computers – usually iPads – outside the remit of the IT department.

There are good reasons for that. As this article in Ad Age points out, data was once ‘the domain of tech geeks and direct-marketing gurus’, while chief marketing officers focused on loftier things like shaping brand perception.

Not now. Thanks to an explosion of data from social-media platforms, call centres, customer transactions and loyalty programs, CMOs ‘who want a seat at the table will have to harness customer data and leverage it – or risk being relegated to chief promotions officer.’

The article suggests a key alliance – or will it be a battle? – of the future will be between the CMO and the CIO to become a de-facto chief customer officer.

As Forrester analyst Josh Bernoff puts it, “The only sustainable competitive advantage is knowledge of and engagement with customers. Brand, manufacturing, distribution and IT are all table stakes. The only source of competitive advantage is the one that can survive technology-fueled disruption, an obsession with understanding, delighting, connecting with and serving customers. In this age, companies that thrive … are those that tilt their budgets toward customer knowledge and relationships.”

Welcome to the Age of the Customer

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

CIOs must lead business change with consumerisation, Cloud focus

By David Bicknell

Some work published by PwC in the US has argued that top-performing U.S. organisations show greater mastery in how they leverage digital technologies by the way they embrace consumerisation, the Cloud and social media.

The management company’s Digital IQ survey says these companies are offering mobile tools for customers, measuring data through social media, mobilising applications to the public cloud and are applying innovative use of business intelligence. It also finds that most enterprises are still playing catch-up on the consumerisation of IT.

PwC believes the CIO plays a critical role in the planning process for increasing a company’s Digital IQ. It argues that CIOs must be excellent at managing the internal factory, but also excel at mobilising new plans into action.  

The Digital IQ findings call for business leaders — and, in particular, today’s CIOs — to lead their organisations to change and innovate from the inside out. The report findings suggest that excellence in IT has not been commoditised and is still differentiating as a competitive advantage. Indeed, IT-enabled, multi-channel connections with customers can make a marked difference to business results. But to succeed, today’s CIOs — and the C-suite more broadly — must excel at not just managing internally, but also mobilising new plans into action.

PwC argues that a high Digital IQ requires the CIO to find better ways to sift through and drive insight from the increasing torrent of data streaming from every manner of device and interaction, and to create a platform that can deliver these capabilities across a varied set of changing mobile devices.

PwC’s survey showed that 63 percent of respondents revealed their greatest challenge is the inability to gather, understand and act on customer data. Fifty-eight percent cite an inability to quickly understand and adopt the new information technologies needed to be competitive.

“Consumerisation of IT is on the rise, and in the Survey we continue to see a need to serve the mobile customer, move to cloud services, and use data more effectively,” said Chris Curran, principal at PwC. “Organisations that have an integrated strategy—which includes technology—seem to perform better.”

For those interested in the consumerisation of IT, the Corporate IT Forum is holding a summit on the subject in London on 22nd February.  You can find out more details here

Will companies be counting the cost of DIY IT in 2012?

By David Bicknell

I enjoyed this piece by Susan Cramm commenting on what she calls ‘DIY IT projects’ where business executives think they can meet their technology needs more efficiently by circumventing IT.  She suggests that these are almost always a bad idea, but adds that killing the project can be worse.

As she argues, ‘nobody wins in these do-it-yourself projects. The executive who sponsors the project puts his or her reputation on the line by promising outcomes dependent on technologies that he or she is ill-equipped to develop, implement, or manage. The IT executive finds him – or herself powerless, relegated to integration and support tasks without having had adequate resources and time allocated for the project. Meanwhile, the CFO watches dollars flying out the window as the budget for ill-conceived and poorly executed initiatives becomes a moving target.’

With managing consumerisation arguably the hottest topic for IT organisations, I wonder how many business (IT) projects that don’t effectively involve IT will turn out by the end of the year to have been failed projects that in today’s austere times, their companies can ill afford.


Consumerisation shift creates change dilemma for IT departments

By David Bicknell

Looking ahead into 2012, one of the biggest instances of change will continue to be consumerisation. A recent survey from Accenture has summed up the trend towards employees using their own devices which IT departments can either embrace, or fight a rearguard action against. Perhaps there is the opportunity for IT to be the good guy – for once – and rebuild its relationship with its end user ‘customers’.

Whatever IT decides, consumerisation is here to stay. Accenture found that a large proportion of employees already make their own technology decisions, and a quarter bring their own devices or access their own applications from the Internet.

The move reinforces the problems that consumerisation is causing IT departments. Trends allied to consumerisation, including use of social media and the business’s desire to spin up a Cloud facility, say for a marketing campaign, are now turning the focus squarely on what IT does now and what it should do in the future.

So-called  “Bring your own device” (BYOD) programmes are already turning many business end users into accidental IT managers.

The Accenture survey of 4000 employees found that despite employers’ concerns around data security and IT protocol, one in four (23 percent) employees worldwide regularly use personal consumer devices and applications for work related activities. Employees claim that such technologies enhance innovation, productivity and job satisfaction, and more than a quarter (27 percent) said that they would be happy to pay for their own devices and applications to use at work.

Other key findings from the research include:
Rising Employee Technology Expectations
  • Over a quarter (27 percent) of employees routinely use non-corporate applications downloaded from the Web in the workplace as they search for applications tohelp them to work better
  • The first step toward IT consumerisation often involves accessing corporate email in non-corporate settings, largely as a result of increasing smartphone penetration, with 30 percent saying they routinely check email before they go to bed
  • Employees also revealed a desire to access Web-based corporate applications and databases, as 14 percent reported accessing corporate apps and databases from their consumer devices on a regular basis
Employees Solving Their Own Technology Challenges
  • There is an increasing trend for employee driven technological innovation, as 24 percent of employees admitted to coming up with their own consumer technology solution to help solve a business problem
Management is Struggling to Embrace Consumer Technology
  • The use of personal devices in the enterprise increases dramatically amongst IT executives (54 percent) and other management executives (49 percent) when compared to employee adoption rates
  • Management and IT executives know that using the latest technology is a big priority for their employees, with 88 percent of executives collectively saying that consumer technology used by their employees can improve job satisfaction

Corporate IT Forum Consumerisation Summit