As many of the most popular applications used today have moved onto ubiquitous consumer devices such as smart phones and tablets, the world of enterprise computing is changing as are the challenges faced by both CIOs and their IT departments to manage these changes.
The latest enterprise mobility trends including IT consumerization, workforce mobility and flexible computing brought on by BYOD are altering the traditional relationship between enterprise IT departments, knowledge workers, and end users.
For CIOs, IT consumerization presents a difficult set of challenges including security, technology policy, data protection, and the acceptance of end-user BYOD technology. The alignment of these challenges with an organizations’ overall business strategy can lead to innovation in areas such as testing new business models, streamlining talent acquisition and management strategies, and building corporate brand and identity.
CIOs striving for innovation in their markets simply cannot afford to restrict internal BYOD technology usage. Doing so will only hinder the innovation they seek to deliver.
So the companies that can successfully change the traditional relationship between IT and end users will be better positioned to attract and retain key talent, execute new business models and improve overall competitiveness.
The BYOD Evolution
The BYOD evolution is clearly upon us as the technology focus is shifting towards providing end users with collaboration tools and applications which enable the leveraging of analytics data, marketing tools, HR management solutions, as well as sales and customer relationship management software.
This evolution is partly about how companies are deploying newer and more sophisticated technologies throughout the organization, but it is also about how the people are empowered by their devices and the apps they are acquiring and using in newer and more sophisticated ways.
The proliferation of mobile devices has caused the growing demand on organizations to secure the applications that run on them. Some CIOs struggle to provide a secure infrastructure to manage the growth of the consumerization of IT within their organization. This trend has been driven largely by the ubiquitous use of the Internet, mobile devices, and collaborative applications, and emerging broadband technologies.
Collaborative applications adopted by an organization provide unified communications clients that can deliver a consistent software-based user experience. These applications provide enterprise wide mobility and collaboration so that employees can work from anywhere, using virtually any device―including desktop and laptop computers, Android smartphones, Apple iPhones, Blackberrys, and Windows devices.
Increasingly, enterprise mobility tools enable employees to connect to the right person, at the right time, in the right mode. These anywhere-anytime collaboration tools help enterprises lower expenses, increase productivity, enhance business continuity, and streamline their customer support operations.
How large is the Consumerization of IT trend? According to the U.S. Census Bureau by April 1, 2012, the population of the world will stand at 7 billion. According to research from the market research site mobiThinking, as of January 2012 the number of cellular subscriptions worldwide was approximately 6 billion and the number of cellular mobile broadband subscriptions worldwide was approximately 1.2 billion.
Opportunities Arise from Consumerization
Organizations see great opportunities in moving from consumer to enterprise sales if they can embrace the needs of the consumer on their personal devices while facilitating their work responsibilities. Prudent CIOs look to embrace collaborative application solutions especially if one exists that fits their existing IT infrastructure road map. Additionally, some CIOs see opportunities in leveraging consumer applications from their employees and bring them into the businesses fold.
CIOs are starting to embrace these applications and services for the enterprise as they recognize the whole consumerization of IT has deep, profound implications. It is much more than bringing your own device to work. It is bringing your device to work and using it as a tool to become more productive at your job so you can leverage your knowledge to beat your competitors by becoming faster, cheaper, and better all while offering more quality and value.
The role of the CIO is to empower and lead the employees to use their consumer devices, but in a safe manner by minimizing the risk introduced by potential security problems. In a world where some of the more innovative technologies are evolving at the consumer level before trickling up to the enterprise, it comes as no surprise that even entry-level employees have access to powerful tools, and collaborative applications and networks in their personal lives. Smart IT managers will embrace them when they walk through the door or more likely access the corporate network.