CIO Symmetry

Sep 20 2011   5:33PM GMT

‘IT consumerization’ means different things to different people

Scot Petersen Scot Petersen Profile: Scot Petersen

We’re hearing a lot about the “consumerization of IT.” What does this really mean?

There are two parallel lines of thought: One is that IT consumerization is a change in the typical buying cycle of enterprise technology buyers. Whereas before cycles were longer — sometimes years on particular products — now they’re being reduced to cycles that resemble those of consumer buyers: two to five months.

The other idea is that IT consumerization is about how consumer products — smartphones, iPads, social media — have entered the enterprise and as a result are changing the way IT manages such products. There’s more potential than reality in this trend at this point, but the leaders will embrace the idea rather than fight it even though major issues, like security, will have a say in how the trend evolves.

What is the reality in your workplace? Are both of these trends evident?

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  • Imrichb
    Hi Scot- I think we’ve seen both trends you mention, though personally I’ve seen consumerization changing IT for some time. I remember in the early 90s AOL and personal email started to catch on, which forced IT’s hand into providing work email and internet, albeit with limitations. A few years later, once we’d become accustomed to using AIM in our personal lives, it became a staple in the corporate world, though many organizations limited it to employee-to-employee communication, without access to the outside. Now, with the proliferation of iPhones, Androids, iPads, etc. throughout the enterprise, I think these consumer-driven initiatives point to the inevitability of consumerization of IT. New technology always will find its way from consumer use to the enterprise, assuming it can be applied for business value. As you noted, organizations now struggle with the balance between giving users access to these new technologies and protecting and managing the enterprise. In my opinion, it’s not if bring your own device (BYOD) and other consumerization initiatives are going to happen – it's a matter of when. I wrote a blog post on this topic; please feel free to read and let me know what you think: [A href=""][/A]. Thanks, Rich Bentley Matrix42
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  • Menotti
    I'm in the IT team from a large bank in Brazil and all I can see here is the shortening of the buying cycle. Nothing has changed yet in the way new consumer products are used/managed in the enterprise or BYOD. So, 'IT consumerization' has a narrow meaning for us. Regards, M. Russo
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