Posted by:Ranjani Rao August 7th, 2012

The consumerization of IT is decidedly a disruptive technology. While the infiltration of personal devices into the corporate space has been gradual but consistent in the last few years, the positive side of the trend is becoming more apparent now; especially in the case of companies that met the trend head-on from the start.

Many early adopters of the BYOD era saw the signs and decided to leverage the trend to their advantage. In many cases, employees took it upon themselves to circumvent strict IT protocol and connect with employees, suppliers, partners and customers via external services and applications. Today, mobile applications such as DropBox, Skype, YouTube, Google Docs and more are as much a part of enterprise culture as home use. The point is that as smart CIOs and heads recognized the benefits of employees using non-conventional and often non-IT supported means of communication and collaboration, they decided to incorporate them into the organization legally or build proprietary apps offering similar functionality. (That’s how and why we see the advent of enterprise app stores.)

Advantages of IT consumerization

While a large percentage of corporate workers still rely on their laptops for work, the count of smartphones and tablets in the enterprise is going up. Surveys indicate that more than 50% of information workers in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France, and Germany bring their personal laptops, smartphones and tablets to work. The enhanced capabilities and intuitive interface of smartphones and tablets make them ideal platforms for employees to carry out quick tasks such as social networking with their professional and personal circles.

The load of IT is reduced with modern mobile applications that hardly ever require training. Most mobile apps address the do-it-yourself mindset of tech-savvy corporate employees. According to a Forrester report of 2011, 37 percent of surveyed employees are using do-it-yourself technologies without IT’s permission. The ease-of-use reduces the financial and administrative overhead on internal IT teams. At the same time, the simplicity of use makes the apps more effective and all-encompassing because of greater outreach and employee coverage across branches.

Modern communication is all about social networking. By provisioning employees with smartphones or tablets, enterprises enhance customer engagement, brand awareness and customer loyalty. Constant connectivity and accessibility of mobile apps also make better workers thereby increasing business productivity and efficiency.

Today’s young workers are using technical gadgets since they were babies. They are highly tech-savvy and innovative in the use of technology. By closing doors on IT consumerization, you also deprive yourself of fresh talent.

The consumerization of IT undoubtedly gives enterprises a competitive edge. Speedy decisions and responsiveness are the pillars of business agility in a shaky economy.

That’s not to say that the trend doesn’t have a negative side to it. There are a number of issues that enterprise heads have to work with – securing data, networks and critical assets; managing increased infrastructure load due to greater adoption of mobile applications; designing intuitive and interactive apps; and attracting and retaining the new generation of workers. However, if enterprises look at these issues as teething problems rather than breaking factors, they can make faster headway.

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