Consumerization vs Corporate IT Round 2 - Cloud comes to the party

Posted on: March 8, 2012 by James McMahon

"#Consumerization vs Corporate IT Round 2 - Cloud comes to the party"

I read about Guy Lidbetter’s shiny Ultrabook in his blog and definitely felt a tiny wave of envy rush over me, but then I went back to my own tablet device and remembered why I find it so very convenient when I'm on the road. Whilst it’s not great for typing and producing digital content it is great for consuming information on the go. The upshot of carrying multiple devices is that I can get through a day on the move with my phone/laptop/iPad combo without the need for a power supply and that hunt for a plug socket (they do hide them well in airports, maybe there needs to be an app to locate them - a bit like the ones that show you the best seats on planes, or where to eat?).

Devices are stealing the limelight at the moment and we are awash with trade shows, as the press move from CES, to the Mobile World Congress (MWC), then Cebit and then the inevitable product announcement from Apple, (“New iPad” launched on 7th March) everything seems to focus on the device... The thing about consumerization is that it's not just about devices; they are just the start point. It is easy to understand the concept of bringing your own device, but 'BYO' devices are just the container ship bringing the full potential and choice of consumerization to an office near you soon, if of course, you are a user or IT department who wants to embrace and ‘opt in’.

What do I mean by this? I mean the services that originate in the consumer world and end up in the corporate one are having a far more profound effect on the way we work than the device ever will, and perhaps without you realising. Until now this had been happening under the radar, with the IT department spending significant time and money blocking access to services or trying to identify secure solutions which tick the corporate security box, but at the expense of functionality resulting in limited adoption. This disruption, at a time where budgets are tighter than ever, which means the head in the sand approach is also not uncommon in IT departments today. These challenges are new for us all and the solutions not always straight forward or immediately obvious.

As part of the change consumerization introduces a whole new set of verbs into the working environment. How we request and consume services such as installing an 'app', how we share content by ‘dropping’ it casually somewhere (hopefully secure), ‘posting’ a question on a wall, how we ‘check-in’ somewhere and ‘link up’ with someone with a common interest, who happens to be nearby, or even searching public data for trending topics or ‘#hashtagging’ information for all to see. It’s time for IT to work with the business to identify how this new way of work can boost the bottom line.

Of course change isn't without it's challenges and it would be churlish to pretend there are none to overcome, especially the non-technical ones, but the opportunity and benefits to individuals and business are beginning to make themselves clear to see. It's not a cool fad; it is in fact much more, with benefits potentially much greater. In future allowing users to choose the applications they want to use (a concept we are calling choose your own or ‘CYO’) can bring new benefits to businesses in many interesting areas (to be explored at a later date). That said, the focus remains on the BYO debate, and this doesn't seem to be about to change for the time being...

So why does the combination of cloud and consumerization really put pressure on Corporate IT and why will it drive change faster and more widely in the next 2 years? My wife and I are fortunate enough to be expecting our second child in 2012 and a colleague of mine (thanks Thomas) gave me this wise advice in preparation for the new arrival; he said that having 2 children doesn't double the fun/challenge but it in fact square's it... It is the same for consumerization and cloud, individually they are exciting, pushing the boundaries all of the time, but together they are far more powerful and can create a whole new world for the user. For the IT department and business a pragmatic approach is required and the business alike...

Sent from my laptop (File started on my ipad, created and securely stored in the cloud, then sync'd to my phone for review on the train and then sync'd to my pc to be finalised before sharing it).

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About James McMahon
VP, Head of Atos Digital Workplace and member of the Scientific Community
James is Head of the Atos Digital Workplace Practice boasting 10+ years’ experience of IT product management, strategy and solution architecture, targeted at enterprise customers. James is excited by developing and delivering transformational service offerings for enterprise customers, improving productivity, user experience and enabling new ways of working through cost effective services, including cloud, mobility, application & desktop virtualization, workplace as a service and BYOD solutions. Regularly meeting and working with customers (up to and including CxO level) is a key part of his role. He’s also a blogger on the Atos Ascent blog and member of the Atos Scientific Community for 5 years.

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