Consumerization may appear to have enterprise IT backed into a corner, but corporations might have the last laugh when it comes to molding emerging technologies. Once enterprise gets its hands on tools like the cloud, they can morph into something very different – and often much better than the original. Instead of being overwhelmed by consumer tech, the business world is taking the reins and dictating the terms of their engagement with consumerization. Technology development firms aren’t stupid. They know that tapping into the deep pockets of corporate IT means they have to adjust their products and services to meet the requirements of enterprise. Here are just a few examples of how this is happening across the spectrum of consumerized technology.
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This is the most obvious area where the wishes of enterprise are changing the landscape of technology. At one time, people were predicting that corporations would simply have to make peace with the public cloud and the concept of multi-tenancy. This hasn’t proven to be the case. Instead, the fastest growing segment of cloud industry is the private cloud. As the private cloud becomes more industrialized and affordable, businesses no longer have to choose between inexpensive but comparatively insecure public cloud and costly, bespoke private solutions. This fact will actually end up making the consumer’s experience better over the long run by creating the expectation that cloud computing firms should be held to a higher standard.
The influence of enterprise has also led to a proliferation of hybrid cloud strategies that will define the future of cloud computing. For example, HP Enterprise Services (HP ES) just launched the “Converged Cloud” earlier in 2012. This solution presents a standardized underlying architecture for traditional on-premise, virtualized, private cloud, and public cloud deployments. Now, corporations with significant investment in legacy infrastructure can enter the cloud at their own pace, taking advantage of efficiency and scalability without migrating faster than they want to.
Social media in the consumerized sphere is all about talking for the sake of hearing yourself talk. At least, that’s what’s going on from the end user perspective. Of course, underneath it all is Big Data collecting valuable information. Originally, this data was just viewed as a resource to be used for marketing. Enterprise is evolving this practice into the discipline of business intelligence, including embedded BI. Here, crafting a more highly targeted advertisement is just the beginning. Business intelligence can be used to create greater production efficiencies, improve customer service, streamline logistics, and supercharge every area of ERP.
On the end user front, enterprise social media is finally taking off as well. Atlassian’s Confluence is an example of what this kind of platform looks like when people are actually leveraging social as a way to get things done. Users can create and participate in discussions, blogs, Wikis, and more – creating an organically expanding and searchable library of knowledge. Other tools such as the JIRA platform are designed for seamless integration with Atlassian to make software development a truly social endeavor. MS SharePoint can even be connected to Confluence now to manage access while still promoting collaboration. As it becomes more and more evident that social platforms can be used for productive purposes, there’s the potential for consumerized social to transform into something more than just navel gazing.
Web based applications, particularly in the form of cheap or free SaaS, are often the bane of IT since they infiltrate the enterprise organization so easily. But the big names in this game are taking pains to legitimize their services now that they have a toehold. Amazon Web Services and Google Apps for Government are examples of two solutions that have FISMA Moderate level authorization from the US government. This authorization recognizes the vendors’ compliance with requirements to document processes used to secure the physical and virtual infrastructure, segregate data appropriately in US facilities, and undergo third party audits. Obviously, this creation of tiered service levels is a boon for enterprise. The more the average consumer becomes aware of the security risks associated with web-based applications, the more companies can differentiate themselves by relying on the most secure solutions available.
Enterprise mobile is still struggling to find its place in the world. But we can see glimmerings of how this technology is changing as well. Ruggedization is one area where mobile is being upgraded to meet the demands of certain industry verticals. Today’s consumer devices are just a tad too disposable for enterprise-class IT to stomach. We certainly won’t see a return to the days when equipment was built to last 10 years or more (technology simply moves too fast for that to be realistic). However, there is demand in the corporate community for devices that are higher quality. This is more likely to affect company issued equipment such as laptops and less likely to impact BYOD options like smartphones.
One aspect of mobile hardware that is definitely changing regardless of who is liable for the equipment is security. The average consumer expects a security breach won’t happen to them. The average corporation assumes that it will. Device developers are beginning to incorporate reasonable security controls into the design of mobile devices. For example, AMD plans to use a system-on-a-chip design to incorporate an ARM Cortex-A5 CPU with TrustZone technology into mobile devices starting as early as 2013. Just as with cloud computing, the average consumer will benefit from the enterprise-level demand for better security features in the BYOD age.