Enterprise Topsy-Turvy: Consumerization and the User Vote
By Chee Sing Chan and Joseph Waring | 2011-02-25
A dynamic shift has occurred in the technology landscape in recent years – a shift so significant that CIOs and IT managers face a nightmare that they’ve spent years trying to overcome by telling users what technology to use, when to use it and how to use it. That nightmare is complete chaos and utter loss of control.
People power and the consumerization of ICT is the No. 1 challenge facing companies around the world today.
Once upon a time executives would find their office environment gleaming with the latest technology while most homes were still struggling to get internet connections. Look around today and it has completely switched around where office technology is now antiquated and vastly inferior to what we can experience and are accustomed to at home.
And no where is this change and frustration being felt as much as in the mobile space.
IDC predicts that 2011 will see a “Mobilution”, a “perfect storm” created by the evolution of different areas of technology combining to create a revolution in mobility. Its 2011 Technology Predictions report notes that tablets like iPads and large-screen smartphones can now run almost fully functional versions of all enterprise software and services.
“With the move toward cloud computing, we are now seeing many of these IT systems being delivered in virtualized environments minimizing the importance of device-based computing power,” said Avneesh Saxena, a VP at IDC Asia Pacific. “It truly is ‘everything’ going mobile, and IDC believes 2011 will be the catalyst year for this.”
At the device level you have executives walking in with their new toys be it a iPad or iPhone or the latest Android phone, which then becomes a software challenge as companies need to decide whether to support these devices or not.
Many companies have only recently established mobility plans that often involve settling on supporting company applications, typically email, for one mobile platform. RIM’s BlackBerry has been the most popular choice for its enterprise-ready security and integration capabilities, closely followed by Microsoft with its Windows Mobile OS. But the mobile landscape is now vastly different with the rise of iPhone, Android and Symbian, the latter of which is still the No. 1 mobile OS in the market today (See table).
IDC predicts that the mobility explosion will continue with huge device volumes, new form factors and millions of mobile apps. “The PC-centric era is over. Within 18 months, app-capable non-PC devices will out ship PCs,” IDC noted in a report.
“At Gartner we see three major eras of mobility,” said Nick Jones, a VP at Gartner. “The device era was dominated by device manufacturers. This was followed by the application era which arrived with the iPhone, popularizing application and media stores. Going forward, the service and social era will build on the application era, but it will be characterized by cloud services and streaming media. Applications will survive, but often as a component of a more complex end-to-end experience involving the cloud.”(See sidebar: Silver-lined cloud)